Public Policies against Global Warming
Judged by the principle of intertemporal Pareto optimality, insecure property rights and the greenhouse effect both imply overly rapid extraction of fossil carbon resources. A gradual expansion of demand-reducing public policies -- such as increasing ad-valorem taxes on carbon consumption or increasing subsidies for replacement technologies -- may exacerbate the problem as it gives resource owners the incentive to avoid future price reductions by anticipating their sales. Useful policies instead involve sequestration, afforestation, stabilization of property rights and emissions trading. Among the public finance measures, constant unit carbon taxes and source taxes on capital income for resource owners stand out.
I wish to thank Max von Ehrlich for careful research assistance and Wolfgang Weber for an introduction to the laws of organic chemistry. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
"Public Policies against Global Warming: a supply side approach“, International Tax and Public Finance 15 (4), 2008, pp. 360-394; (Download, 1.9 MB); CESifo Working Paper No. 2087, August 2007; (Download, 841 KB).