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Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 165–189 | Cite as

Impacts of an EC carbon/energy tax and deregulating thermal power supply on CO2, SO2 and NOx emissions

  • Knut H. Alfsen
  • Hugo Birkelund
  • Morten Aaserud
Article

Abstract

Emission of CO2, SO2 and NOx are all closely linked to the burning of fossil fuels. Here we report on simulations done by linking a Sectoral European Energy Model (SEEM), covering energy demand in nine Western European countries, with the emission-transport-deposition model RAINS developed by IIASA. The study analyses emissions of CO2, SO2 and NOx, deposition of sulphur and nitrogen and the extent of areas where the critical load for sulphur is exceeded in year 2000 under four different energy scenarios. Two different sets of future behavioural patterns for the thermal electric power production sector are considered. In one regime, called the plan-efficient regime, the sector is assumed to follow official plans with regard to investment in new capacity. In the other regime, called the cost-efficient regime, the thermal power sector is assumed to behave in a cost minimizing manner. The effects of the proposed EC carbon/energy tax are studied under both regimes, giving rise to altogether four scenarios.

In both regimes the effect of the EC tax is to reduce emissions by between 6 and 10 per cent in year 2000 relative to the scenarios without the tax. A change of regime, from the regulated, plan-efficient regime to the market-based, cost-efficient regime, will, by itself, reduce emissions of CO2 and NOx by approximately 3 per cent, while SO2 emissions are reduced by 13 per cent. The EC tax will reduce sulphur deposition by more than 5 per cent in the nine model countries under the plan-efficient regime. A change of regime further reduces the total deposition by 9 per cent. The area where depositions exceed the critical load is reduced by approximately 6 per cent in year 2000 by the tax in both regimes. Changing from the plan-efficient to the cost-efficient regime has a similar impact.

Although the emission reductions due to the EC tax may seem modest, they are shown to have a sizeable effect on the technological abatement costs of reaching targets like those prescribed in the Sofia protocol on the stabilisation of NOx emissions, and the Helsinki protocol on SO2 emission reductions. This is part of what can be considered to be secondary benefits of the EC carbon/energy tax.

Key words

Carbon tax emissions to air power supply 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Knut H. Alfsen
    • 1
  • Hugo Birkelund
    • 1
  • Morten Aaserud
    • 1
  1. 1.Research DepartmentStatistics NorwayOsloNorway

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