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Article
Free Trade and Global Warming: a Trade Theory View of the Kyoto Protocol
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management (2005)
  • M. Scott Taylor, University of Calgary
  • Brian R. Copeland
Abstract

This paper demonstrates how several important results in environmental economics, true under mild conditions in closed economies, are false or need serious amendment in a world with international trade in goods. Since the results we highlight have framed much of the ongoing discussion and research on the Kyoto protocol, our viewpoint from trade theory suggests a re- examination may be in order. Specifically, we demonstrate that in an open trading world, but not in a closed economy setting: (1) unilateral emission reductions by the rich North can create self- interested emission reductions by the unconstrained poor South; (2) simple rules for allocating emission reductions across countries (such as uniform reductions) may well be efficient even if international trade in emission permits is not allowed; and (3) when international emission permit trade does occur it may make both participants in the trade worse off and increase global emissions.

Disciplines
Publication Date
March, 2005
Citation Information
M. Scott Taylor and Brian R. Copeland. "Free Trade and Global Warming: a Trade Theory View of the Kyoto Protocol" Journal of Environmental Economics and Management Vol. 49 Iss. 2 (2005)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/taylor/2/