, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 191–215 | Cite as

Climate policy targets in emerging and industrialized economies: the influence of technological differences, environmental preferences and propensity to save

  • Birgit Bednar-FriedlEmail author
Original Paper


Although emerging economies claim that industrialized countries need to reduce their carbon emissions first, stabilization of the future global climate system requires immediate action by all countries. In a stylized two-country intertemporal general equilibrium model, we derive welfare maximizing emission caps in emerging and industrialized countries, taking account of country differences in technology, environmental preferences and propensity to save. Simultaneous target setting is compared to a sequential one in which the industrialized country commits itself to binding targets first. In the latter case, when the industrialized economy has stronger environmental preferences and a lower relative pollution production share, the industrialized economy can increase its joint economic and environmental welfare by setting a laxer target. On the other hand, when the emerging economy has considerably higher environmental preferences, our results suggest that the industrialized economy will choose a more restrictive target in a sequential setting than in a simultaneous one, contrary to first thought that a first mover is always pursuing a ‘symbolic’ policy with a lax target.


Carbon emissions Emissions trading Technological differences Environmental preferences Welfare 



I would like to thank two anonymous referees for helpful suggestions and Karl Farmer and Karl Steininger for comments on an earlier version of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of GrazGrazAustria
  2. 2.Wegener Center for Climate and Global ChangeUniversity of GrazGrazAustria

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