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Economic *growth and carbon emission control

Zhenyu Zhang, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

The question about whether environmental improvement is compatible with continued economic growth remains unclear and requires further study in a specific context. This study intends to provide insight on the potential for carbon emissions control in the absence of international agreement, and connect the empirical analysis with theoretical framework. The Chinese electricity generation sector is used as a case study to demonstrate the problem. Both social planner and private problems are examined to derive the conditions that define the optimal level of production and pollution. ^ The private problem will be demonstrated under the emission regulation using an emission tax, an input tax and an abatement subsidy respectively. The social optimal emission flow is imposed into the private problem. To provide tractable analytical results, a Cobb-Douglas type production function is used to describe the joint production process of the desired output and undesired output (i.e., electricity and emissions). A modified Hamiltonian approach is employed to solve the system and the steady state solutions are examined for policy implications. ^ The theoretical analysis suggests that the ratio of emissions to desired output (refer to ‘emission factor’), is a function of productive capital and other parameters. The finding of non-constant emission factor shows that reducing emissions without further cutting back the production of desired outputs is feasible under some circumstances. Rather than an ad hoc specification, the optimal conditions derived from our theoretical framework are used to examine the relationship between desired output and emission level. ^ Data comes from the China Statistical Yearbook and China Electric Power Yearbook and provincial information of electricity generation for the year of 1993-2003 are used to estimate the Cobb-Douglas type joint production by the full information maximum likelihood (FIML) method. The empirical analysis shed light on the optimal policies of emissions control required for achieving the social goal in a private context. The results suggest that the efficiency of abatement technology is crucial for the timing of executing the emission tax. And emission tax is preferred to an input tax, as long as the detection of emissions is not costly and abatement technology is efficient. ^ Keywords: Economic growth, Carbon emission, Power generation, Joint production, China^

Subject Area

Economics, Environmental|Economics, Agricultural|Energy

Recommended Citation

Zhang, Zhenyu, "Economic *growth and carbon emission control" (2009). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3360166.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3360166

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