nep-ene New Economics Papers
on Energy Economics
Issue of 2013‒11‒14
fifteen papers chosen by
Roger Fouquet
London School of Economics

  1. An assessment of energy resources for global decarbonisation By Jean-Francois Mercure; Pablo Salas
  2. Measurement of the “Underlying energy efficiency” in Chinese provinces By Massimo Filippini; Lin Zhang
  3. Green finance is essential for economic development and sustainability By Chowdhury, Tasnim; Datta, Rajib; Mohajan, Haradhan
  4. A closer look at potential distortions in state RGDP: the case of the Texas energy sector By Keith Phillips; Raul Hernandez; Benjamin Scheiner
  5. RFS Compliance: Death Spiral or Investment in E85? By Bruce A. Babcock; Sebastien Pouliot
  6. Indexing European carbon taxes to the EU ETS Permit Price: a good idea? By Carlén, Björn; Hernández, Aday
  7. Investment Decisions in the Renewable Energy Sector: An Analysis of Non-Financial Drivers By Masini, Andrea; Menichetti , Emanuela
  8. Social Enterprise and Renewable Energy: Issues of Sustainability and Self-Sufficiency By Mrs Caroline Morrison; Ms Emer Gallagher; Professor Elaine Ramsey; Mr Derek Bond
  9. Emission Taxes and Border Tax Adjustments for Oligopolistic Industries By Timothy Halliday; Sumner La Croix
  10. Investment and adaptation as commitment devices in climate politics By Heuson, Clemens; Peters, Wolfgang; Schwarze, Reimund; Topp, Anna-Katharina
  11. The energy metabolism of China and India between 1971-2010: studying the bifurcation By Raúl Velasco Fernández; Jesus Ramos-Martin; Mario Giampietro
  12. The Impact of Behavioral Factors in the Renewable Energy Investment Decision Making Process: Conceptual Framework and Empirical Findings By Masini, Andrea; Menichetti , Emanuela
  13. Natural Disaster, Policy Action, and Mental Well-Being: The Case of Fukushima By Jan Goebel; Christian Krekel; Tim Tiefenbach; Nicolas R. Ziebarth
  14. Climate Change, Human Rights and the International Legal Order: The Role of the UN Human Rights Council By Margaretha Wewerinke
  15. Strategic Approaches of CO2 Emissions: The Cases of the Cement Industry and Chemical Industry By Arjaliès , Diane-Laure; Goubet , Cécile; Ponssard , Jean Pierre

  1. By: Jean-Francois Mercure; Pablo Salas (Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge)
    Abstract: This paper presents an assessment of global economic energy potentials for all major natural energy resources. This work is based on both an extensive literature review and calculations based onto natural resource assessment data. In the first part, economic potentials are presented in the form of cost-supply curves, in terms of energy flows for renewable energy sources, or fixed amounts for fossil and nuclear resources, using consistent energy units that allow direct comparisons to be made. These calculations take into account, and provide a theoretical framework for considering uncertainty in resource assessments, providing a novel contribution aimed at enabling the introduction of uncertainty into resource limitations used in energy modelling. The theoretical details and parameters provided in tables enable this extensive natural resource database to be adapted to any modelling framework for energy systems. The second part of this paper uses these cost-supply curves in order to build a tool for analysing global scenarios of energy use, in the context of exploring the feasibility global decarbonisation using renewable energy sources. For such a purpose, a theoretical framework is given for evaluating either flows of stock energy resources for given price path assumptions for the related energy carriers, or the prices of energy carriers given energy demand assumptions. Results of both approaches are used in order to produce a complete comparison of global energy resources. The particular case of the feasibility of global decarbonisation by the end of the century is explored. Since the scale of the required amount of energy flows from renewables is comparable to the sum of the technical potentials, the associated scale of global land use for energy production is found to be large. For complete decarbonisation, without energy demand reductions, 7 to 12\% of the global land area could be required for energy production activities, emphasising the importance of improving energy consumption patterns and intensity of the global economy. The third part of this work is an appendix that provides all missing details, equations and databases necessary to understand and reproduce the work of Part I. This part is therefore aimed at enabling energy modellers to reproduce exactly and use in their own work the database that was constructed in this work.
    Keywords: Global energy resources, Climate change mitigation, Energy Commodity Price Dynamics, Global Decarbonisation
    JEL: Q21 Q31 Q41 Q54
    Date: 2013–09
  2. By: Massimo Filippini (ETH Zurich, Switzerland); Lin Zhang (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
    Abstract: China is one of the largest consumers of energy globally. The country also emits some of the highest levels of CO2 globally. In 2009, 18% of the world’s total energy was consumed in China and the growth rate of energy consumption in China is 6.4% per year. In recent years, the Chinese government decided to introduce several energy policy instruments to promote energy efficiency. For instance, reduction targets for the level of energy intensity have been defined for provinces in China. However, energy intensity is not an accurate proxy for energy efficiency because changes in energy intensity are a function of changes in several socioeconomic factors. For this reason, in this paper we present an empirical analysis on the measurement of the persistent and transient “underlying energy efficiency” of Chinese provinces. For this purpose, a log-log aggregate energy demand frontier model is estimated by employing data on 29 provinces observed over the period 1996 to 2008. Several econometric model specifications for panel data are used: the random effects model and the true random effects model along with other versions of these models. Our analysis shows that energy intensity cannot measure accurately the level of efficiency in the use of energy in Chinese provinces. Further, our empirical analysis shows that the average value of the persistent “underlying energy efficiency” is around 0.78 whereas the average value of the transient “underlying energy efficiency” is approximately 0.93.
    Keywords: Chinese energy demand; Stochastic frontier analysis: Underlying energy efficiency; Energy intensity.
    JEL: D D2 Q Q4 Q5
    Date: 2013–10
  3. By: Chowdhury, Tasnim; Datta, Rajib; Mohajan, Haradhan
    Abstract: Green finance is part of a broader occurrence; from the incorporation of various non-financial or ethical concerns onto the financial universe. Generally green finance is considered as the financial support for green growth which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutant emissions significantly. Green finance in agriculture, green buildings and other green projects should increase for the economic development of the country. In this paper an attempt has been made to describe green financing in a boarder sense.
    Keywords: Environment, Green building, Green finance, Green projects, Renewable energy.
    JEL: G17
    Date: 2013–03–16
  4. By: Keith Phillips; Raul Hernandez; Benjamin Scheiner
    Abstract: Surprisingly, from 1997 to 2010 Texas RGDP in oil and gas extraction was strongly negatively correlated with oil prices and with factors of production such as employment and the drilling rig count. It also had a slight negative correlation with physical production of oil and gas. In Texas the oil and gas sector is large and volatile enough to have a significant influence on overall RGDP growth so that when oil prices spike up (down) Texas RGDP generally weakens (strengths), which is in contrast to other indicators such as state job growth and real personal income. In this paper we investigate several potential sources of why RGDP in oil and gas extraction has a negative correlation with factors of production and units of output. We then use several different approximations of RGDP in oil and gas extraction to see which seems to be a good substitute for the current estimates produced by the BEA. We find that a measure based on changes in Texas physical production of oil and gas results in an estimate of total state RGDP that is more highly correlated with Texas job growth and closer to the correlation of these measures nationally.
    Keywords: Value added
    Date: 2013
  5. By: Bruce A. Babcock (Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD)); Sebastien Pouliot (Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD))
    Abstract: The American Petroleum Institute (API) commissioned NERA Economic Consulting to study “the economics and compliance issues related to the implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2).†NERA’s October 2012 report finds that ethanol and biodiesel blend walls create insurmountable barriers to the amount of biofuels that can be consumed in the United States. Once these blend walls are hit, producers of gasoline and diesel will only be able to comply with biofuel blending mandates by reducing domestic sales of gasoline and diesel. NERA argues that such cuts will make it even more difficult to meet blending mandates in subsequent years, thus leading to further reductions in gasoline and diesel sales. This series of fuel sales reductions leads to an upward “death spiral†in fuel prices, with severe harm to the US economy.
    Date: 2013–11
  6. By: Carlén, Björn (VTI); Hernández, Aday (University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria)
    Abstract: We study an environmental policy that (i) tax some emitters while others are covered by a cap-and-trade system and (ii) index the tax level to the permit price. Such a policy could be attractive in a world where abatement costs are uncertain and the regulator has information about the correlation between the cost shocks to the two groups. We show that this index policy yields lower expected social cost than the policy mix studied in Mandell (2008). The value of indexing is higher the stronger the correlation is, the steeper the marginal abatement benefit curve is, and the more uncertain we are about the taxed sector’s abatement costs. The index policy may also outperform the uniform policy alternatives emission tax and cap-and-trade system. The conditions for this are more restrictive, though. Given parameter values plausible for the European climate change policy context, expected net-gains are small or negative.
    Keywords: Uncertainty; Environmental policy; Emissions tax; Tradable permits
    JEL: H23 Q23 Q58
    Date: 2013–10–31
  7. By: Masini, Andrea; Menichetti , Emanuela
    Abstract: Notwithstanding their many environmental, economic and social advantages, renewable energy technologies (RE) account for a small fraction of the world’s primary energy supply. One possible cause for this limited diffusion is that private investments in the RE sector, although potentially appealing, remain insufficient. The lack of adequate financing is also a clear indication that our understanding of the process by which investors fund RE ventures is still incomplete. This paper aims to fill in this gap and to shed new light on RE investment decisions. Building upon behavioral finance and institutional theory, we posit that, in addition to a rational evaluation of the economics of the investment opportunities, various nonfinancial factors affect the decision to invest in renewables. We analyze the investment decisions of a large sample of investors, with the objective to identify the main determinants of their choices. Our results shed new light on the role of institutional and behavioral factors in determining the share of renewable energy technologies in energy portfolios, and have important implications for both investors and policy makers: they suggest that RE technologies still suffer from a series of biased perceptions and preconceptions that favor status quo energy production models over innovative alternatives
    Keywords: Renewable Energies; behavioral finance; empirical analysis; portfolio; investments diversification; survey research
    JEL: G00
    Date: 2013–04–13
  8. By: Mrs Caroline Morrison; Ms Emer Gallagher; Professor Elaine Ramsey; Mr Derek Bond
    Abstract: Objectives Whilst much has been written about the role of the 'bottom up' approach to renewable energy, there is still no clear insight into why only some schemes work. The objective of this paper is to illustrate how adopting a social constructivist approach gives more insight into the factors that lead to successful small scale renewable energy adoption. In particular, social enterprises are playing an increasing role in delivering the objectives of Europe 2020 (sustainability and self-sufficiency). This paper discusses these current trends with regards to community renewable energy projects. Prior Work There is a considerable body of literature on community renewable energy projects (Fudge et al., 2011; Walker et al., 2010, 2006; Warren and McFadyen, 2010). At a practical level, the importance of adopting the correct organisational structures has been highlighted (Gubbins, 2010; DETI, 2011). However, in the literature there has been little discussion of this issue. This could be because most of the academic literature is framed within the technological determinist paradigm and has its origins in subjects other than business. Approach The paper presents and discusses the findings of a large number of case studies that explore these issues, undertaken as part of the European Regional Development Fund's transnational Northern Periphery Programme's projects in renewable energy. Results and Implications The case studies identified that the main barriers were socio-economic rather than technical. The main finding is that nearly all successful community renewable energy initiatives had formed themselves into social enterprises. This was because they were better placed to address the key barriers identified. Uncovering this finding was possible through the adoption of a social constructivist approach which allowed the socio-economic issues to be carefully considered. The implication is that further work needs to be undertaken by adopting this paradigm. Value The main value of this paper is that it illustrates how adopting a social constructivist paradigm and using management theory helps to explain the complex issues surrounding the 'bottom up' approach to sustainability and self-sufficiency. In particular, the approach provides an ideal way of studying the functioning of social enterprises.
    Keywords: social enterprise, renewable energy, innovation, social constructivism
    Date: 2013–11
  9. By: Timothy Halliday (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa); Sumner La Croix (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa)
    Abstract: We examine the welfare consequence of emissions tax with and without a Border Tax Adjustment for an imperfectly competitive industry, where intra-industry trade arises between countries. BTA allows a government to impose a pollution-content tariff on imports and refund an emission tax for export sales. We analyze the structure of an optimal emission tax with BTA when a government chooses its emission tax rate to maximize its national welfare. We show that the optimal emission tax policy with BTA achieves greater national welfare and higher environmental quality than the optimal policy without BTA.
    Keywords: trade and environment, border tax adjustment, intra-industry trade
    JEL: F18 F12 Q56
    Date: 2013–09
  10. By: Heuson, Clemens; Peters, Wolfgang; Schwarze, Reimund; Topp, Anna-Katharina
    Abstract: It is well established that adaptation and technological investment in each case may serve as a commitment device in international climate politics. This paper for the first time analyzes the combined impact of these two strategic variables on global mitigation within a noncooperative framework where countries either decide on mitigation before or after adaptation. By investment, which is assumed to be made in the first place due to its considerable lead time, countries commit to lower national contributions to the global public good of mitigation. We find that the sequencing of adaptation before mitigation reinforces this strategic effect of technological investments at least for sufficiently similar countries. As a consequence, the subgame-perfect equilibrium yields a globally lower level of mitigation and higher global costs of climate change when adaptation is decided before mitigation. Besides this theoretical contribution, the paper proposes some strategies to combat the unfortunate rush to adaptation which can be currently observed in climate politics. --
    Keywords: adaptation,climate policy,investment,mitigation,non-cooperative behavior
    JEL: Q54 H41 H87 C72
    Date: 2013
  11. By: Raúl Velasco Fernández (Institut de Ciencia i Tecnologia Ambientals, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona); Jesus Ramos-Martin (Departament d'Economia i d'Història Econòmica, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona); Mario Giampietro (Institut de Ciencia i Tecnologia Ambientals, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
    Abstract: This paper presents a comparison of the changes in the energetic metabolic pattern of China and India, the two most populated countries in the world, with two economies undergoing an important economic transition. The comparison of the changes in the energetic metabolic pattern has the scope to characterize and explain a bifurcation in their evolutionary path in the recent years, using the Multi-Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism (MuSIASEM) approach. The analysis shows an impressive transformation of China’s energy metabolism determined by the joining of the WTO in 2001. Since then, China became the largest factory of the world with a generalized capitalization of all sectors ?especially the industrial sector? boosting economic labor productivity as well as total energy consumption. India, on the contrary, lags behind when considering these factors. Looking at changes in the household sector (energy metabolism associated with final consumption) in the case of China, the energetic metabolic rate (EMR) soared in the last decade, also thanks to a reduced growth of population, whereas in India it remained stagnant for the last 40 years. This analysis indicates a big challenge for India for the next decade. In the light of the data analyzed both countries will continue to require strong injections of technical capital requiring a continuous increase in their total energy consumption. When considering the size of these economies it is easy to guess that this may induce a dramatic increase in the price of energy, an event that at the moment will penalize much more the chance of a quick economic development of India.
    Keywords: China, India, Energy, Multi-scale integrated analysis, Societal Metabolism, Sustainability, Socio-metabolic Transitions, Economic development
    JEL: Q43 Q48 Q56 Q57
    Date: 2013–09
  12. By: Masini, Andrea; Menichetti , Emanuela
    Abstract: Investments in renewable energy (RE) technologies are regarded with increasing interest as an effective means to stimulate growth and accelerate the recovery from the recent financial crisis. Yet, despite their appeal, and the numerous policies implemented to promote these technologies, the diffusion of RE projects remains somehow below expectations. This limited penetration is also due to a lack of appropriate financing and to a certain reluctance to invest in these technologies. In order to shed light on this phenomenon, in this paper we examine the decision making process underlying investments in RE technologies. We propose and test a conceptual model that examines the structural and behavioral factors affecting the investors decisions as well as the relationship between RE investments and portfolio performance. Applying econometric techniques on primary data collected from a sample of European investors, we study how the investors a-priori beliefs, their preferences over policy instruments and their attitude toward technological risk affect the likelihood of investing in RE projects. We also demonstrate that portfolio performance increases with an increase of the RE share in the portfolio. Implications for scholars, investors, technology managers and policy makers are derived and discussed.
    Keywords: Adaptive conjoint analysis; behavioral finance; investments; renewable energy policy; multivariate regression;
    JEL: Q00
    Date: 2013–04–13
  13. By: Jan Goebel; Christian Krekel; Tim Tiefenbach; Nicolas R. Ziebarth
    Abstract: We study the impact of the Fukushima disaster on people’s mental well·being in another industrialized country, more than 5000 miles distant. The meltdown significantly increased environmental concerns by 20% among the German population. Subsequent drastic policy action permanently shut down the oldest nuclear reactors, implemented the phase·out of the remaining ones, and proclaimed the transition to renewables. This energy policy turnaround is largely supported by the population and equalized the increase in mental distress. We estimate that during the 3 months after the meltdown, Fukushima triggered external monetized health costs worth €250 per distressed citizen—particularly among risk averse women.
    Keywords: Fukushima, meltdown, nuclear phase·out, mental health, environmental worries, SOEP
    JEL: I18 I31 Z13 Q54
    Date: 2013
  14. By: Margaretha Wewerinke (Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge; European University Institute, Florence, Italy)
    Abstract: This article discusses recent developments related to recognition of the link between human rights and climate change in international human rights forums. It focuses on the main human rights body of the United Nations, the Human Rights Council, which has addressed climate change in three resolutions, two panel discussions and at its annual Social Forum. The analysis shows that the main challenge faced by the Human Rights Council as it seeks to address climate change is getting to grips with the relationship between international human rights law on the one hand and the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on the other. The article argues that this relationship is best captured through quasi-judicial analyses, whereby input from those whose human rights are affected by climate change is sought. It identifies concrete ways in which the Council could promote or enable such analyses through the adoption of another resolution. More broadly, it demonstrates the capacity of the international human rights system to interpret laws aimed at preventing dangerous climate change and to contribute to their operationalisation in accordance with human rights norms.
    Keywords: Human rights, Climate change, International Law,
    JEL: K32 K33
    Date: 2013–10
  15. By: Arjaliès , Diane-Laure; Goubet , Cécile; Ponssard , Jean Pierre
    Abstract: The ability of firms to transform an environmental constraint into a strategic opportunity has been a controversial issue in the literature. Based on a comparative study of CO2 strategies in the cement and chemical industries, the article shows that the capacity of firms to be proactive regarding sustainable development is largely constrained by the characteristics of the sector in terms of dependence on natural resources, flexibility in the composition of activities portfolio and structure of the downstream sector.
    Keywords: Innovation; Sustainable Development; Corporate Strategy
    JEL: M14 M21 Q25
    Date: 2013–07–01

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