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Coal Subsidies and Global Carbon Emissions

It has been suggested that eliminating coal production subsidies could substantially reduce global carbon emissions. This paper finds otherwise. Using a dynamic model of the international coal market, the paper investigates the consequences of subsidy elimination in a model incorporating sector specific capital constraints. In the short-run, following elimination of subsidies, producers with excess capacity divert domestic production into the export market, softening price increases. Over time, low cost exporters gain market share from the swing supplier, which further attenuates the market response to subsidy elimination. Given this market structure, production subsidy elimination in Europe and Japan may reduce world steam coal demand by as little as 0.5%, and global CO2 emissions by only 0.2

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Energy Specializations: Coal – Policy and Regulation; Energy and the Environment – Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases; Energy and the Environment – Policy and Regulation

JEL Codes:
Q53 - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
Q54 - Climate; Natural Disasters and Their Management; Global Warming
E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General

Keywords: Coal subsidies, trade and environment, carbon dioxide emissions, climate change, greenhouse gases, IPCC

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol20-No4-5

Published in Volume20, Number 4 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.