Environmental Markets: Equity and Efficiency

By Graciela Chichilnisky; Geoffrey Heal | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
Equity and Efficiency in Environmental
Markets: Global Trade in Carbon Dioxide
Emissions
Graciela Chichilnisky
Geoffrey Heal
David Starrett

3.1 Equity, Efficiency, and Carbon Dioxide Abatement

This chapter addresses a topical issue: the creation of a global market for carbon dioxide (CO2) emission permits.1 The recent adoption in the Kyoto Protocol of an ambitious target for global CO2 emission has focused attention on policy instruments for achieving this goal. In addition, increasing awareness of the economic burden of environmental protection has produced an interest in market-based policy instruments that can minimize detailed government intervention. As a result markets for emission rights are today the approach of choice of the U.S. administration.2

This chapter is based on Chichilnisky, G., Heal, G., and Starrett, D. “International Markets with Emissions Rights of Greenhouse Gases: Equity and Efficiency,” Center for Economic Policy Research Publication No. 81, Stanford University, Fall 1993.

____________________
1
The atmospheric concentration of CO2 has become a matter of international concern. It is generally recognized that it has the capacity to change the global climate in ways that are potentially harmful and irreversible. For a review, see Chichilnisky and Heal [3] and Chichilnisky et al. [8]. Consequently, countries at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro agreed to cut back CO2 emissions to their 1990 levels by the end of the twentieth century. This policy could easily cost several percent of GNP (see Weyant [27]). In conformity with the conclusions of the Earth Summit, the U.S. administration has recently made a tentative move in the direction of capping CO2 emissions in industrial countries.
2
According to a statement by Tim Wirth, U.S. assistant secretary of state for global affairs, at the 1996 Berlin Conference of the Parties of the Framework Convention on Climate Change.

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