NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Balancing Cost and Emissions Certainty: An Allowance Reserve for Cap-and-Trade

Brian C. Murray, Richard G. Newell, William A. Pizer

NBER Working Paper No. 14258
Issued in August 2008
NBER Program(s):   EEE

On efficiency grounds, the economics community has to date tended to emphasize price-based policies to address climate change -- such as taxes or a "safety-valve" price ceiling for cap-and-trade -- while environmental advocates have sought a more clear quantitative limit on emissions. This paper presents a simple modification to the idea of a safety valve: a quantitative limit that we call the allowance reserve. Importantly, this idea may bridge the gap between competing interests and potentially improve efficiency relative to tax or other price-based policies. The last point highlights the deficiencies in several previous studies of price and quantity controls for climate change that do not adequately capture the dynamic opportunities within a cap-and-trade system for allowance banking, borrowing, and intertemporal arbitrage in response to unfolding information.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14258

Published: Brian C. Murray & Richard G. Newell & William A. Pizer, 2009. "Balancing Cost and Emissions Certainty: An Allowance Reserve for Cap-and-Trade," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Oxford University Press for Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(1), pages 84-103, Winter.

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