Business and Economics > Environmental Economics

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International Monetary Fund
GCC policymakers moved quickly to mitigate the health and economic impacts of twin COVID-19 and oil price shocks. Infection rates have declined across the GCC to well below previous peaks, though countries have experienced successive waves of the virus, and economic recoveries have begun to take hold. Nevertheless, GCC policymakers must navigate a challenging and uncertain landscape. The pandemic continues to cloud the global outlook as countries are in different phases of recovery, with varied growth prospects and policy space
Ian W.H. Parry, Mr. Simon Black, and Nate Vernon
This paper provides a comprehensive global, regional, and country-level update of: (i) efficient fossil fuel prices to reflect their full private and social costs; and (ii) subsidies implied by mispricing fuels. The methodology improves over previous IMF analyses through more sophisticated estimation of costs and impacts of reform. Globally, fossil fuel subsidies were $5.9 trillion in 2020 or about 6.8 percent of GDP, and are expected to rise to 7.4 percent of GDP in 2025. Just 8 percent of the 2020 subsidy reflects undercharging for supply costs (explicit subsidies) and 92 percent for undercharging for environmental costs and foregone consumption taxes (implicit subsidies). Efficient fuel pricing in 2025 would reduce global carbon dioxide emissions 36 percent below baseline levels, which is in line with keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees, while raising revenues worth 3.8 percent of global GDP and preventing 0.9 million local air pollution deaths. Accompanying spreadsheets provide detailed results for 191 countries.
Florian Misch and Mr. Philippe Wingender
This paper estimates the carbon leakage rate across countries, arguably a key parameter in the international climate policy discussion including on border carbon adjustment, but which remains subject to significant uncertainty. We propose innovations along two lines. First, we exploit recently published data on sector-country-specific changes in energy prices to identify changes in domestic carbon emissions and other flows (rather than the historically limited variation in carbon prices or adherence to international climate agreements). Second, we present a simple accounting framework to derive carbon leakage rates from reduced-form regressions in contrast to existing papers, thereby making our results directly comparable to model-based estimates of carbon leakage. We show that carbon leakage rates differ across countries and could be larger than what existing estimates suggest.
Ian W.H. Parry and Mr. Philippe Wingender
Finland has pledged to cut net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2035 and has sectoral targets for deploying electric vehicles, phasing out coal generation, and oil-based space heating. Fiscal policies at the national and sectoral level could play a critical role in achieving these objectives. Carbon dioxide emissions are already priced significantly in Finland but prices vary substantially across fuels and sectors. The paper discusses a reform to both scale up, and progressively harmonize, pricing while using revenues to address equity issues. It also discusses the potential use of revenue-neutral feebate schemes to strengthen mitigation incentives for the transportation, industry, building, forestry, and agricultural sectors.
Davide Furceri, Michael Ganslmeier, and Mr. Jonathan David Ostry
Are policies designed to avert climate change (Climate Change Policies, or CCPs) politically costly? Using data on governmental popular support and the OECD’s Environmental Stringency Index, we find that CCPs are not necessarily politically costly: policy design matters. First, only market-based CCPs (such as emission taxes) generate negative effects on popular support. Second, the effects are muted in countries where non-green (dirty) energy is a relatively small input into production. Third, political costs are not significant when CCPs are implemented during periods of low oil prices, generous social insurance and low inequality.
Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Mr. James Daniel, Mr. Masahiro Nozaki, Cristian Alonso, Vybhavi Balasundharam, Mr. Matthieu Bellon, Chuling Chen, David Corvino, and Mr. Joey Kilpatrick
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing policymakers worldwide, and the stakes are particularly high for Asia and the Pacific. This paper analyzes how fiscal policy can address challenges from climate change in Asia and the Pacific. It aims to answer how policymakers can best promote mitigation, adaptation, and the transition to a low-carbon economy, emphasizing the economic and social implications of reforms, potential policy trade-offs, and country circumstances. The recommendations are grounded in quantitative analysis using country-specific estimates, and granular household, industry, and firm-level data.
Pierre Guérin and Felix Suntheim
The shutdown in economic activity due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis has resulted in a short-term decline in global carbon emissions, but the long-term impact of the pandemic on the transition to a low-carbon economy is uncertain. Looking at previous episodes of financial and economic stress to draw implications for the current crisis, we find that tighter financial constraints and adverse economic conditions are generally detrimental to firms’ environmental performance, reducing green investments. The COVID-19 crisis could thus potentially slow down the transition to a low-carbon economy. In light of the urgent need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, these findings underline the importance of climate policies and green recovery packages to boost green investment and support the energy transition. Policies that support the sustainable finance sector, such as improved transparency and standardization, could further help mobilize green investments.
Mr. David Coady, Ian W.H. Parry, Nghia-Piotr Le, and Baoping Shang
This paper updates estimates of fossil fuel subsidies, defined as fuel consumption times the gap between existing and efficient prices (i.e., prices warranted by supply costs, environmental costs, and revenue considerations), for 191 countries. Globally, subsidies remained large at $4.7 trillion (6.3 percent of global GDP) in 2015 and are projected at $5.2 trillion (6.5 percent of GDP) in 2017. The largest subsidizers in 2015 were China ($1.4 trillion), United States ($649 billion), Russia ($551 billion), European Union ($289 billion), and India ($209 billion). About three quarters of global subsidies are due to domestic factors—energy pricing reform thus remains largely in countries’ own national interest—while coal and petroleum together account for 85 percent of global subsidies. Efficient fossil fuel pricing in 2015 would have lowered global carbon emissions by 28 percent and fossil fuel air pollution deaths by 46 percent, and increased government revenue by 3.8 percent of GDP.