nep-res New Economics Papers
on Resource Economics
Issue of 2012‒07‒01
four papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la Republica

  1. The Environmental Aspect of “Making People Rich as the Top Priority” in China: a Marxian Perspective By Faber, Malte; Petersen, Thomas
  2. Regressivity of environmental taxation: myth or reality? By Katri Kosonen
  3. Prospects of Tools from Differential Games in the Study Of Macroeconomics of Climate Change By Engwerda, J.C.
  4. Greening China's rural energy : new insights on the potential of smallholder biogas By Christiaensen, Luc; Heltberg, Rasmus

  1. By: Faber, Malte; Petersen, Thomas
    Abstract: Income inequality in China is severe; measured by the Gini-coefficient it amounted to 0.46 in 2011; wealth distribution is even worse with 0.61. These disparities led to a major shift in emphasis of politics in general and of the Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development by the National People´s Congress in particular. While previously the strategy of the Five-Year Plans had been “Making the nation [our emphasis] rich as top priority”, this was changed to “Making people [our emphasis] rich as top priority” in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), enacted in March 2011.The strategic change from “nation” to “people” indicates that the political decision-makers in China accepted the aim of a fair income distribution as a political issue of great importance. In this paper, richness is defined in the political-philosophical tradition as the right measure for one’s own needs and wants; only its environmental aspect is focused on in this study. The development of the Chinese environmental conditions is compared with the German ones and the former’s future outlook is judged optimistically because of the achievements in the last five years. However, the complexity and fragility of the environmental system will within a decade confront Chinese politicians with the same problems as it does right now in Germany. In order to provide a solution addressing this development, this paper analyzes what Karl Marx had to say on the long-run dynamics of the economic system. He saw poverty as a necessary yet unintended consequence of the capitalistic system and used this insight as a “precision tool for the study of social change” (Elster 1986), which can also be employed to examine the unintended repercussions of economic activity on nature. Marx, who studied environmental and resource issues in detail, thought that the inventiveness of the capitalistic system would finally overcome all of them in the course of time. In view of the fact that three billion people on earth still have a backlog demand to satisfy basic needs and in addition a further three billion are expected to be born until 2050, the future of the natural environmental conditions looks somber. If it is not possible to decouple economic growth from ensuing environmental strain, Marx may well be right after all in his prediction that the capitalistic system will collapse, although in quite a different manner than he thought. This being the case we take recourse to the thoughts of one of the influential intellectual German figures, to Romano Guardini. He foresaw changes in the self-perception of humankind and in the comprehension of nature. These imply a shift in the ethos of government as well, which would in turn pose three great challenges to politics: (i) understanding nature in a new light, (ii) listening to what drives human hearts, and (iii) governing according to law.
    Keywords: Wealth; Distribution; PR China; Environment; Sustainabilit y
    JEL: Q56 B14 B51 D31 D63 D90 O13 P26
    Date: 2012–06–21
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:awi:wpaper:0526&r=res
  2. By: Katri Kosonen (European Commission)
    Abstract: This paper first presents an overview of the various factors that in light of the economic literature should be taken into account in the analysis of tax incidence of environmental taxation. It then explores the main empirical findings, in particular those which make a distinction between the distributional effects of transport-related taxes and those of other environmental taxes. This includes also some less well-known evidence from the Nordic countries. In the final section it presents some recent evidence on the distributional impact of energy taxation in the EU member states included in the impact assessment of the revision of the European Union’s Energy Tax Directive.
    Keywords: European Union; taxation; environmental taxes, redistribution
    JEL: H23
    Date: 2012–06
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:tax:taxpap:0032&r=res
  3. By: Engwerda, J.C. (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: Abstract: In this note we sketch a dynamic framework within which the discussion on the macro economic effects of climate change take place. The problem setting is characterized by scientific uncertainties about the development of climate, potential large economic losses and human beings having their specific features. Some considerations about climate change, macroeconomics and their relationship are given. A characteristic feature of the problem setting is that there are multiple decision makers interacting in a dynamic world with large uncertainties. Problems of this type have been studied extensively by (dynamic) game theory. A rough literature review is provided and some items open for future research are indicated.
    Keywords: Climate change;environmental change;macro-economic effects;dynamic games.
    JEL: C7 D6 D8 E6 F I3 O44 Q
    Date: 2012
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:dgr:kubcen:2012045&r=res
  4. By: Christiaensen, Luc; Heltberg, Rasmus
    Abstract: Clean, safe energy for rural areas is an important component of green growth and sustainable development. Biogas could be an important contributor, if its record in reality lives up to its expected potential. This paper provides a preliminary assessment of biogas use by smallholder farmers in rural China, using data collected from 2,700 households in five provinces. The authors find that user satisfaction is high, and environmental and economic benefits appear tangible. There are strong indications of reduced use of wood and crop residues for fuel. Less time is spent on collecting fuel wood and cooking, which is especially beneficial to women. Adopters also save on fertilizers, because of the use of biogas residues. Moreover, problems with suspension of biogas use, whether due to technical or human factors, remained limited. However, few tangible benefits to respiratory health were detected. Overall, these findings are grounds for optimism about the potential for of smallholder biogas to contribute to more sustainable development, in China and beyond.
    Keywords: Energy Production and Transportation,Climate Change Mitigation and Green House Gases,Renewable Energy,Engineering,Energy and Environment
    Date: 2012–06–01
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6102&r=res

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