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Leakage from sub-national climate policy: The case of California’s cap–and–trade program

Justin Caron, Sebastian Rausch, and Niven Winchester

Year: 2015
Volume: Volume 36
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.2.8
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With federal policies to curb carbon emissions stagnating in the U.S., California is taking action alone. Sub-national policies can lead to high rates of emissions leakage to other regions as state-level economies are closely connected, including integration of electricity markets. Using a calibrated general equilibrium model, we estimate that California's cap-and-trade program without restrictions on imported electricity increases out-of-state emissions by 45% of the domestic reduction. When imported electricity is included in the cap and "resource shuffling" is banned, as set out in California's legislation, emissions reductions in electricity exporting states partially offset leakage elsewhere and overall leakage is 9%.

The CO2 Content of Consumption Across U.S. Regions: A Multi-Regional Input-Output (MRIO) Approach

Justin Caron, Gilbert E. Metcalf, and John Reilly

Year: 2017
Volume: Volume 38
Number: Number 1
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.38.1.jcar
View Abstract

Using a multi-regional input-output (MRIO) framework, we estimate the direct and indirect carbon dioxide (CO2) content of consumption across regions of the United States. We improve on existing estimates by accounting for emissions attributable to domestically and internationally imported goods using data describing bilateral trade between U.S. states and with international countries and regions. This paper presents two major findings. First, attributing emissions to states on a consumption basis leads to very different state-level emissions responsibilities than when attributed on a production basis; for example, California's emissions are over 25 percent higher. Second, heterogeneity of emissions across trading partners significantly affects the indirect emissions intensity of consumption (kg of carbon per $ of consumption), so regional differences in intensity across the U.S. go well beyond direct energy consumption. These findings have implications for evaluating the distributional impacts of national climate policies and for understanding differing incentives to implement state-level policies.

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