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Natural Hazards

, Volume 99, Issue 3, pp 1381–1396 | Cite as

Research on carbon price in emissions trading scheme: a bibliometric analysis

  • Chang-Jing Ji
  • Xiao-Yi Li
  • Yu-Jie Hu
  • Xiang-Yu Wang
  • Bao-Jun TangEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

Based on the Web of Science database, this paper uses the bibliometric method to analyze the characteristics of the most relevant studies of carbon price in emissions trading scheme. Researchers have shed light on this research field since 1994. The USA and China occupy the leading research position in this field. The most productive journal is Energy Policy and the most productive author is Chevallier J. Chinese Academy of Sciences is the institution with the most publications related to carbon price. Cooperation analysis shows that the cooperation between authors, institutions and countries is constantly growing. We find out that carbon price fluctuation, influencing factors of carbon price, price mechanism of the carbon market, theory analysis of carbon pricing policy and carbon price effects are the main areas of research focus. Also, we detect that different policies, emissions level and energy prices are the main influencing factors on carbon price.

Keywords

Carbon emissions trading Carbon price Bibliometric Influencing factors 

1 Introduction

At present, increasingly more countries are beginning to implement carbon emission trading scheme (ETS) to achieve emission reduction targets. At the end of 2017, there were 19 active carbon markets around the world, accounting for 15% of the total global emissions (International Carbon Action Partnership 2017). China, as the biggest emitter in the world, has set up eight emissions trading scheme pilots since 2013 and officially launched the national carbon market on December 19, 2017. As a result, issues about carbon allowance price have attracted much attention. Carbon allowance price (carbon price) refers to the price of carbon in the emissions trading market. Due to the different emission abatement costs among different countries or regions, the current carbon prices vary widely. Also, the carbon price in each carbon market fluctuates greatly. In terms of the price mechanism design for the carbon market, different countries have different requirements on the allowance cap, allocation method, the amount and source of carbon offsets, banking and borrowing allowances and market reserve mechanism.

Along with the development of the carbon market, more researchers aim to investigate the issues about carbon price. Firstly, numerous studies focused on the carbon pricing policy. Carbon pricing policy has been widely regarded as an efficient solution to climate change (Baranzini et al. 2017). The choice of carbon tax or carbon emissions trading scheme is also intensely discussed (Pizer 2002; Weitzman 1974). Secondly, a large number of studies find that carbon price is often asymmetric (Feng et al. 2011; Tang et al. 2017; Zhu et al. 2015). Macroeconomic, energy prices and weather have dramatic impacts on the carbon price (Alberola et al. 2008; Chevallier 2011; Daskalakis and Markellos 2008; Wei 2010). As for the price mechanism design for the carbon market, a great deal of research concentrated on allowance allocation (Cong and Wei 2010; Hu et al. 2017), banking and borrowing (Rubin 1996) and market stability reserve (Perino and Willner 2017). Uncertainty of the carbon price will have huge impacts on investment of renewable energy and advanced technologies, energy structure, production cost and competitiveness of relative corporates, as well as the social welfare, financial market (Laing et al. 2014; Nicholson et al. 2011; Oberndorfer 2009; Pradhan et al. 2017; Sugino et al. 2013) and emission reduction.

Bibliometric analysis has been widely used to summarize the current research status and hot spots of energy and environmental issues (Wei et al. 2014; Yu et al. 2016; Zhang et al. 2016). Therefore, we use this method to review the current research and summarize research hot spots of the carbon price research. Based on the review of the existing literature, some suggestions for future research of carbon price are put forward. The paper is structured as follows: Sect. 2 presents the data sources and methods. Section 3 shows the general statistics results. Section 4 concludes the hot spots in the field of carbon price. In Sect. 5, conclusions and suggestions for the future research have been provided.

2 Data and methodology

2.1 Data retrieved

The data used in this paper come from Web of Science core collection, including Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-E) and Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI). A total of 661 articles containing two types of words “carbon emissions trading” and “carbon price”1 were obtained on December 20, 2017.

2.2 Methodology: bibliometric analysis

Bibliometric is a comprehensive literature analysis method that covers mathematics, statistics, philology and other subjects (Qiu 1988). We can quantify and manage the literature in a certain field through investigating the status of publications, the distribution of countries and institutions, the high-yield authors and cooperation in this field. Then, the research hot spots can be detected. Therefore, bibliometric has been widely used to evaluate the development situations of various fields and subjects.

2.2.1 General characteristics analysis

  1. 1.

    Impact factor The impact factor (IF) is an essential index that weighs the impact and academic quality of the journal. For any given year, the impact factor of a certain journal is the average number of citations gained by per paper published in that journal during the two preceding years (Yu et al. 2016).

     
  2. 2.

    h index is a comprehensive quantitative index, which can be used to evaluate the quantity and quality of researchers’ output. The h index of a researcher means H of his/her papers have at least H citations each, and the other papers have no more than H citations each (Wei et al. 2014). This article calculates the h index of journals, institutions and authors.

     
  3. 3.

    Collaboration degree analysis It is used to describe the collaboration degree between countries, institutions and authors in this field. The calculation formula is as follows:

    $$C = \frac{{\sum\nolimits_{i = 1}^{N} {\varphi_{i} } }}{N}$$
    (1)

    N represents total papers in this field, \(\varphi_{i}\) represents the number of countries/institutions/authors in article i and C is the collaboration degree.

     
  4. 4.

    Country contribution index (CCI) CCI assesses the comprehensive scientific research level of one country or an area in the field of carbon price. It integrates six indicators in a certain country: total number of articles, total number of citations, number of high-cited articles (TOP 50), number of productive institutions (TOP 50) and number of productive journals (TOP 50). We translated the primary scores into standard scores and then summed the six indicators’ standard scores to obtain this country’s contribution index in this field (Yu et al. 2016).

    $$CCI_{ij} = \frac{{x_{ij} - \overline{{x_{j} }} }}{{\sqrt {\frac{{\sum\nolimits_{i} {\left( {x_{ij} - \overline{{x_{j} }} } \right)^{2} } }}{M}} }} + 1$$
    (2)
    $$CCI_{i} = \sum\limits_{j} {CCI_{ij} }$$
    (3)
    where \(CCI_{ij}\) is the standard scores of i country in indicator j, \(x_{ij}\) is the primary scores in i country in indicator j, \(\overline{{x_{j} }}\) is the average primary scores in indicator j, M is the number of countries and \(CCI_{i}\) is the contribution index of i country.
     

2.2.2 Social network analysis

Social network analysis pays attention to the mutual relationships between individuals, which can be represented by social network graph and social relation matrix. Social networks are composed of three parts: actors, ties and edges. The nodes of social network diagrams reflect the relationship between actors. Based on the relationship between actors in social networks, cluster analysis can be further carried out, and similar actors are assigned to the same cluster.

3 Current research status of carbon price

3.1 Spatial and temporal distribution

By analyzing the amount of the literature, the research process development and current research status can be better understood. As shown in Fig. 1, the total number of research on carbon price generally shows an upward trend. 1994–2002 is the initial stage of the development of the carbon price research. Due to the Kyoto Protocol, more and more scholars began to pay attention to greenhouse effect and emission reduction methods. In 2005, with the European Union taking the lead in the implementation of carbon emissions trading scheme and the official entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, carbon price research ushered in the first growth phase (2003–2007). Carbon price research ushered in the second growth stage from 2008 to 2011, as EU ETS ended its first phase in 2007 and more countries began to consider implementing the ETS. Since 2012, carbon price has entered the third growth stage because a large number of developing countries are going to take part in carbon trading. As shown in Fig. 1, China has become the main body of research in this stage. Generally speaking, current research on carbon price is derived from the signing of global emission reduction agreements and the establishment of carbon markets.
Fig. 1

Number of publications in the carbon price research field

From the perspective of countries, 661 papers come from 47 countries or regions.2 As shown in Figs. 1 and 2, the USA was the first country to study carbon price and was one of the most productive countries in the world.
Fig. 2

Regional distribution of carbon price research field (red dot indicates the city where the institutions are located)

In recent years, the research on carbon price in China develops greatly. Australia ranks after the USA and China. In addition, many publications are from the member countries of the EU ETS. Overall, countries that publish many papers about carbon price have implemented the carbon emissions trading scheme.

3.2 Journal distribution

A total of 201 journals have published carbon price-related papers. The top ten of them are given in Table 1. Energy Policy is the most productive journal. Applied Energy has the highest impact factor among the ten journals. The journals mainly distributed in the developed countries. Scholars can refer to the journals that have a high impact factor and a high number of publications when searching for papers about carbon price.
Table 1

Journal distribution in the carbon price research field

Journal

IF

Articles

% of 661

h index

Citation

Country

Energy Policy

4.599

94

14.221

24

1541

UK

Energy Economics

4.41

45

6.808

19

968

The Netherlands

Climate Policy

2.572

36

5.446

11

393

UK

Applied Energy

7.5

32

4.841

14

624

UK

Journal of Clean Production

6.207

30

4.539

8

244

USA

Environmental Resource Economics

2.121

20

3.026

8

240

The Netherlands

Energy

5.182

17

2.572

8

221

UK

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management

3.376

14

2.118

8

364

USA

Energy Journal

2.652

14

2.118

7

158

USA

Forest Policy Economics

2.253

12

1.815

6

99

The Netherlands

3.3 Author and institution statistic

Author and institution statistic show the top scholars and institutions in the research of carbon price. Table 2 lists the authors who have already published seven or more papers. French scholar Chevallier J is the most productive author of all. Followed by Wei YM, he has the highest average citation among all the authors. Of the 11 authors listed in Table 2, nine are from China.
Table 2

Productive authors in the carbon price research field

Rank

Authors

Articles

h index

Citations

Country

Citations/article

1

Chevallier J

18

11 (1)

494

France

27.44

2

Wei YM

13

7 (2)

459

PR China

35.31

3

Fan Y

8

3 (15)

95

PR China

11.88

3

Fan J

8

4 (5)

31

PR China

3.88

5

Zhao DT

7

4 (5)

27

PR China

3.86

5

Zhu BZ

7

5 (3)

84

PR China

12.00

7

Fahimnia B

6

5 (3)

126

Austria

21.00

7

Wang SY

6

4 (5)

25

PR China

4.17

7

Wu YR

6

4 (5)

23

PR China

3.83

7

Li J

6

4 (5)

40

PR China

6.67

7

Liu XB

6

4 (5)

37

PR China

6.17

The result reveals that 1493 authors are from 734 institutions. Table 3 displays the top ten institutions, most of which are famous universities all over the world. Chinese Academy of Science is the most productive and cited institution, whereas the Beijing Institute of Technology in China has the highest h index and the most citations each paper. As shown in Table 3, five of the institutions are from China and three of them from Australia. As a whole, China has the largest number of productive institutions, while the institutions from Europe and Australia have higher h index.
Table 3

Productive institutions in the carbon price research field

Institute

Articles

Citations

C/A

h index

Country

Chinese Academy of Sciences

26

507

19.5

8

PR China

Beijing Institute of Technology University

21

502

23.9

9

PR China

University of Science and Technology of China

14

193

13.79

5

PR China

Tsinghua University

13

101

7.77

6

PR China

University Paris Dauphine

12

216

18

8

France

Australian National University

12

197

16.42

8

Australia

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

12

241

20.08

7

Germany

University of Sydney

12

114

9.5

6

Australia

University of Western Australia

12

183

15.25

5

Australia

Beihang University

11

23

2.09

3

PR China

C/A citations per year

3.4 Collaboration degree

The collaboration analysis can reflect the common research directions of carbon price field (Yu et al. 2016). The degree of cooperation is shown in Fig. 3. The overall cooperation of countries, authors and institutions is raising. The cooperation degree between countries is relatively flat, which is the lowest among the three indicators. Cooperation between institutions is significantly stronger than before. And there is more cooperation between authors; usually, three authors work together to complete one article.
Fig. 3

Collaboration degree in the field of carbon price (1994–2017)

3.5 Article citation

Citation frequency can reflect articles’ quality and influence. It can provide the most authoritative research findings for policymakers and researchers who are interested in this field (Zhang et al. 2016). Table 4 lists the top ten frequently cited articles in the carbon price field. The most frequently cited article was written by Alberola. This article was the first to use EU carbon price data to analyze the main factors that affect the carbon price (Alberola et al. 2008). Most of the top ten articles are from developed countries. Only two articles are from developing countries, and both of them are from China.
Table 4

The top ten frequently cited articles in the carbon price research field

Author

Country

Journal

PY

CT

C/Y

Alberola E

France

Energy Policy

2008

186

21

Hua GW

PR China

International Journal of Production Economics

2011

179

30

Rubin JD

USA

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management

1996

139

7

Daskalakis

Greece

Journal of Banking and Finance

2009

131

16

Zhang YJ

PR China

Applied Energy

2010

105

15

Jacoby HD.

USA

Energy Policy

2004

99

8

Hintermann B

Switzerland

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management

2010

97

14

Valentine J

UK

Global Change Biology Bioenergy

2012

95

19

Wang K

PR China

Applied Energy

2014

91

30

Abadie LM

Spain

Energy Economics

2008

90

10

Author only includes the first author of the paper

PY publish year, CT citation times and C/Y citations per year

3.6 National comprehensive scientific level

According to CCI in Fig. 4, countries with stronger comprehensive level in this field are generally concentrated in developed countries, while China is the only developing country. By comparing indicators of top four countries (see in Fig. 4), it is found that numerous scientists and institutions in China have begun the research in the field of carbon price, outputting lots of high-quality research achievements. However, there is a lack of high-quality journals in China. The USA has the most balanced performance among the six indicators, ranking first in both the total number of articles and the total number of citations. The UK possesses the largest number of high-yield journals in this field, while it has relatively few productive institutions and authors. The situation in Australia is similar to that in China, with a large number of research institutes and scholars but lack of high-quality journals.
Fig. 4

Country comprehensive scientific level

4 Research hot spots and trends

4.1 Co-citation analysis

Co-citation analysis is used to find out the most concerned research areas among scholars. As shown in Fig. 5, we obtained three types of research areas with more quotations in the carbon price field. The first is the study of price dynamics of carbon allowances, including the influencing factors and the fluctuation characteristics of the carbon price. The most cited literature in this research area written by Alberola et al. (2008). The second is the study about the design of market mechanisms in the carbon emissions trading market. The most cited article was written by Rubin (1996). The third is the study about the choice of carbon pricing policies. Pizer published an article in 2002, which was the most cited literature in this issue (Pizer 2002). The most concerned area among these three types of research area is the price dynamics of carbon allowances, followed by the issue of the market mechanisms design for carbon emissions trading.
Fig. 5

Association network of the co-citations

4.2 Clustering analysis

Based on the co-occurrence analysis and keywords cluster, we can further explore the research hot spots. Figure 6 depicts, respectively, a cluster analysis of keywords of total 661 papers that appear more than four times.
Fig. 6

The co-occurrence network of the keywords

As shown in Fig. 6, we summarize the current research hot spots on carbon price as follows:
  1. 1.

    Carbon price fluctuations, influencing factors and transmission mechanism The current research on this issue starts from different carbon emissions trading markets, using different research methods and focusing on the energy sector. As an earlier established carbon emissions trading scheme, the European Union has the most research. As shown in the oval box in Fig. 6, in the research on EU ETS, scholars focused more on the carbon price data of the first three phases and investigated volatility and influencing factors of the carbon price by using generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity (GARCH), cointegration and event analysis. They found that the energy prices, weather and the allocation of allowances are the main drivers of the carbon price fluctuations in EU ETS (Baranzini et al. 2017; Alberola et al. 2008; Aatola et al. 2013; Benz and Trück 2009; Chevallier 2009, 2011, 2013; Cong and Wei 2012). China’s carbon emissions trading pilot and the national carbon market were also attracting scholars in various countries. Due to the lack of data on China’s carbon market, the current research on China’s carbon price mainly focused on the estimation of marginal abatement cost (Wang and Wei 2014). Researchers also analyzed the influencing factors of carbon price in pilots to simulate the trend of the carbon price (Fan and Todorova 2017). The research on transmission mechanisms primarily concentrated in energy sectors (Wagner et al. 2015; Zhang and Wei 2011) especially in the power sectors, which analyzed the transmission relationships between energy price and carbon price (shown in Fig. 6).

     
  2. 2.

    The price mechanism design for the ETS With the introduction of carbon trading mechanism to reduce emissions, the formation of carbon price has become a research hot spot. The price formation mechanism of carbon market can be divided into the price determination and the price adjustment. As shown in the box in Fig. 6, from the perspective of the price determination, factors were considered according to the supply of carbon allowances, including the setting of cap, the allowances allocation which contains allocation methods and principles and the amount of carbon offsets (Hu et al. 2017; Zhang et al. 2015). From the perspective of the price adjustment mechanism, the factors that were more considered in terms of market supply and demand, included banking and borrowing, the market stabilization reserve and the non-market factors such as price floors and ceilings (Rubin 1996; Perino and Willner 2017; Nicholson et al. 2011).

     
  3. 3.

    Theory analysis of carbon pricing policy According to the clustering results in Fig. 6, the theory analysis of the carbon pricing policy includes three aspects: First, climate change requires global emissions reduction (Baranzini et al. 2017). The greenhouse gas emissions caused by climate change, resulting in ecosystem destruction and socioeconomic losses. It required the introduction of appropriate climate policies to achieve emissions abatement. Second, after the Kyoto Protocol came into effect, the compliance countries are obligate to reduce their emissions so that they have to introduce carbon pricing policy (Springer 2003). Third, governments expect to implement the appropriate carbon pricing policy to reduce emissions. Scholars compared carbon tax with carbon emissions trading about their advantages and disadvantages on abatements, seeking to provide decision-making supports for the policymakers to implement the appropriate carbon pricing policy (Pizer 2002; Weitzman 1974).

     
  4. 4.

    Effects of carbon price Studies on this issue are divided into four parts. First, researchers carried on the estimations of economic effects of carbon price on economy growth, industry cost and competitiveness (Oberndorfer 2009; Pradhan et al. 2017). The second part is environmental effects, including carbon emissions and energy consumptions assessed after the implementation of carbon emissions trading. Third, researchers assessed the distribution effects of how carbon costs from carbon price will pass through among residents (Li et al. 2014). The fourth part is substitution effect. Carbon price have significant impacts on the promotion of advanced technologies and abatement projects, such as renewable resources, carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) and deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) (Laing et al. 2014; Nicholson et al. 2011; Sugino et al. 2013). In addition, carbon-intensive industries such as power sectors are the focus when analyzing the effects of carbon price. The main analysis model used is the general equilibrium model.

     

Scholars pay more attentions on the first two hot spots. As more carbon markets are going to establish, future researches will focus on the volatility and influencing factors of carbon price, and price mechanism design for the different carbon markets.

4.3 Impact factors of carbon price

We find that the most concerned issue in current carbon price research is the dynamic of carbon price. Different impact factors of carbon price were come up with scholars. At the same time, the influencing factors of carbon price are of great guiding significance to the price mechanism design for the carbon market. Therefore, an in-depth discussion about the influencing factors has been conducted in this paper.

The factors influencing the carbon price mentioned in current carbon price research have been further summarized in this section on the basis of meta-review. Among the total 661 articles, there are 69 articles covering the analysis of influencing factors of carbon price, and the factors involved are generalized as follows: (1) governmental policies and regulatory measures, (2) emission levels of enterprises, (3) energy price, (4) weather conditions and (5) financial markets. According to the classification above, the total number of occurrences in each of the 69 articles has been counted and added up. The total frequency of each influencing factor of carbon price was obtained. The more frequent these factors occurred, the more important these factors are.

As shown in Table 5, we find that scholars commonly considered three influencing factors of carbon price: governmental policies and regulatory measures, emissions levels and energy price. In the policy setting, factors, such as cap, banking and borrowing, and carbon offsets, occur more frequent in existing papers. Oversupply of allowances is the main reason for the low carbon price in the first phase of the EU ETS (Alberola et al. 2008). The ban of banking and borrowing between the first two phases is the fuse of the drastic fluctuations in the carbon price at the end of the first phase (Chevallier 2011). Overissuance of CERs is also one of the drivers for lower carbon price (Tang et al. 2017). Among the factors that affect carbon emissions, industrial production and fuel swiching occur more frequent in existing papers. The financial crisis in 2008 and the debt crisis in Europe in 2012 had a huge impact on the European economy, which leaded to a drop in industrial output, thus making carbon price lower (Aatola et al. 2013). Fuel switching primarily refers the conversion of energy use from coal to natural gas in the energy sector. When enterprises use natural gas instead of coal, they will emit less, resulting in lower carbon price (Chevallier 2009, 2013). Scholars studied more about the prices of oil, natural gas and coal among all energy prices. The rise of oil prices will have a negative effect on carbon price. Natural gas prices are positively related with carbon price, while coal prices are negatively related with carbon price (Alberola et al. 2008; Chevallier 2011).
Table 5

Summary of influencing factors of carbon price

Drivers

Times

Government: policy and regulatory issues

Carbon markets policy

Cap

26

41

45

Banking and borrowing

20

Offsets

17

Price floor and ceiling

8

Carbon reserve

6

Carbon market linkage/new covered sectors

7

Allocation

9

Transaction rules(time limit/penalty charges)

4

Other policy

Subsidies/taxation

3

3

Enterprises: emissions levels

Economic activity

Industrial production by covered installation

25

37

48

Electricity demand by others sectors

12

Energy structure by energy sectors

Renewable resources

14

27

Fuel switching

23

MAC/technology

12

Energy price

Oil

21

34

Natural gas

24

Coal

22

Electricity prices

11

Weather

Temperatures

11

17

Extreme weather events

4

Rainfalls/hydro

8

Wind

4

Finance markets

General financial markets

11

20

Carbon financial markets

9

5 Conclusions and future work

5.1 Conclusions

According to the bibliometric analysis of the research on carbon price of ETS, the following conclusions are drawn:
  1. (1)

    This research on carbon emissions trading price has entered a stage of rapid development, with the establishment of carbon markets in various countries and regions in recent years. China and the USA have far more research achievements in this field than other countries and regions. Energy Policy is the most productive journal in this field. The most high-yield author is Chevallier J. The most productive institution is Chinese Academy of Sciences. Institutions from developed countries have higher h index. The cooperation among countries, authors and institutions on carbon price research continues to increase. The article about influencing factors of carbon price that received the most citations was written by Alberola E et al. in 2008. China has the most comprehensive scientific research strength in this field.

     
  2. (2)

    In terms of analysis of keywords, this paper concludes four research hot spots in the carbon price research. First, the analysis of fluctuations and transmission mechanism of carbon price. Current studies mainly focused on the fluctuation of carbon price since the implementation of the EU ETS. In addition, the influencing factors of carbon price in the China’s pilot carbon markets and the marginal abatement costs in China have also drawn great attention. The conduction relationship between energy prices and carbon market prices is also a hot issue. Second, the price mechanism design for the carbon markets. The design of the price determination mechanisms and adjustment mechanisms in the carbon markets has been widely studied. Third, the theory analysis of the carbon pricing policy. Scholars investigated several reasons for implementing carbon pricing policy. They also discussed the option for carbon pricing policy. Fourth, the analysis of the carbon price effect. Most of these articles weigh the economic effects, environmental effects, distributional effects and substitution effects caused by the implementation of carbon price. According to the co-citation, scholars paid more attention to the volatility and influencing factors of carbon price among the four hot spots.

     
  3. (3)

    The current scholars divided the factors that affect carbon price into five categories: policy setting, emissions level, energy prices, weather and financial markets. Policy settings, emissions level and energy prices are investigated by scholars the most. In the policy setting, oversupply of allowances and carbon offsets will lead to the lowering of carbon price. Inter-temporal trading of allowances is conducive to stabilizing carbon price. As for the emissions level, the productions from enterprises are positively related to carbon price, while the cleaner energy structure will result in lower carbon price. As for energy prices, the prices of oil and coal are negatively correlated with the carbon price, while prices of natural gas are positively correlated with the carbon price.

     

5.2 Future research

Although the research on carbon price has developed rapidly in recent years, with the establishment of carbon markets in various countries, more carbon price-related problems have been triggered. Therefore, the emerging problems in this field need to be further studied in the future.
  1. (1)

    Causes of carbon price downturn and future price trends.

     
In January 2018, the carbon price in EU ETS was around 8 euros (10 U.S. dollars) per ton, which is far below the estimated marginal abatement cost of $116.39 per ton (Stern et al. 2012). The carbon price of each pilot in China was between US $1.32 and US $8.5 per ton in 2017, well below the marginal reduction cost of $45 per ton (Wang and Wei 2014). Through empirical and theoretical analysis, some scholars insisted that the oversupply of allowances and the economic recession are the main reasons for the low carbon price in current carbon markets (Chevallier 2011, 2013). However, the carbon price did not return to the expected level as the EU reduced the amount of allowance allocations and economic rebound. Carbon price is a price signal for enterprises to reduce emissions. Long-term low carbon price is not conducive to achieving emission reduction targets. Therefore, future study needs to further explore the reasons for the downturn in carbon price. Whether the future carbon price is still fluctuating at a low level or rising steadily is the topic of most concern by the current governments and enterprises with abatement missions. Therefore, carbon price trend can be further analyzed in the future.
  1. (2)

    Quantitative analysis of influencing factors and effects of carbon price.

     
Policymakers are concerned about the impact of coordinated policies on carbon price. For example, how much subsidies should be given to for carbon-intensive industries to strengthen the competitiveness of the industry? How many allowances shall be allocated to make carbon price reach the expected level? However, current scholars mainly employ econometrical methods to analyze whether various factors have an impact on carbon price (Chevallier 2009, 2011). It is unable to estimate the impacts quantitatively. In addition, in a large number of quantitative studies of carbon price effects, carbon price is introduced as an exogenous variable, which neglects the interaction between carbon price and the other variables. In future quantitative studies, carbon price can be introduced into the model as an endogenous variable, taking the interaction of various factors into account. At the same time, we can obtain the most important influencing factors of the carbon price, and the marginal effects they make on the carbon price, economic and social indicators through sensitivity analysis.
  1. (3)

    Improvement of the price mechanism in carbon emission trading markets.

     

EU ETS was operated in 2005, and its market mechanism is still in the process of being perfected. For example, linear emission reduction factor (LRF) is introduced in the third phase, and market stabilization reserve (MSR) is planned to implement in the fourth phase. Currently, there are 19 carbon markets all over the world, while 12 of them have been set up after 2012. Most of their price mechanisms call for improvement, as their market mechanism is not mature enough. The current theoretical research on price mechanism mainly focuses on the way of carbon allowances distribution and inter-temporal trading of allowances. On the one hand, future research can make an empirical analysis according to the existing allowance distribution methods and inter-temporal trading. On the other hand, we can contrapose other mechanisms design to do more theoretical and empirical research, such as the proportion of carbon offsets in the cap, standards setting of the auction reserve price and settings of market stability reserve. In addition, we can target on a specific carbon market and improve the mechanism design for this carbon market. For example, we can estimate the optimal free distribution ratio, the amount of carbon offsets and the carbon market threshold for the newly established national carbon market in China.

Footnotes

  1. 1.

    TS = [(“carbon market*” or “carbon emission*” or “carbon emission* trad*” or “carbon emission right*” or “carbon trad*” or “ETS” or “emission trad* scheme” or “emission* trad*” or “emission permits trade” or “trad* permit*” or “pilot carbon market*” or “allowance market”) AND (“carbon dioxide pric*” or “carbon pric*” or “emission* pric*” or “pric* mechanism” or “permit* pric*” or “allowance* pric*” or “quota* pric*” or “transmission mechanism”)].

  2. 2.

    It should be noted that the UK in this study refers to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. “China” refers solely to Mainland China, and papers from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan are excluded.

Notes

Acknowledgements

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 71573013, 71642004), Special Items Fund for Cultivation and Development of Beijing Creative Base (Grant No. Z171100002217023), Key Project of Beijing Social Science Foundation Research Base (Grant No. 15DJA084), National Key R&D Program (Grant No. 2016YFA0602603) and Special Items Fund of Beijing Municipal Commission of Education.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chang-Jing Ji
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Xiao-Yi Li
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Yu-Jie Hu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Xiang-Yu Wang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Bao-Jun Tang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Center for Energy and Environmental Policy ResearchBeijing Institute of TechnologyBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of Management and EconomicsBeijing Institute of TechnologyBeijingChina
  3. 3.Collaborative Innovation Center of Electric Vehicles in BeijingBeijingChina
  4. 4.Sustainable Development Research Institute for Economy and Society of BeijingBeijingChina

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