Abstract: Existing emissions trading system (ETS) designs inhibit emissions but do not constrain warming to any fixed level, preventing certainty of the global path of warming. Instead, they have the indirect objective of reducing emissions. They provide poor future price information. And they have high transaction costs for implementation, requiring treaties and laws. To address these shortcomings, this paper proposes a novel double-sided auction mechanism of emissions permits and sequestration contracts tied to temperature. This mechanism constrains warming for many (e.g., 150) years into the future and every auction would provide price information for this time range. In addition, this paper proposes a set of market rules and a bottom-up implementation path. A coalition of businesses begin implementation with jurisdictions joining as they are ready. The combination of the selected market rules and the proposed implementation path appear to incentivize participation. This design appears to be closer to “first best” with a lower cost of mitigation than any in the literature, while increasing the certainty of avoiding catastrophic warming. This design should also have a faster pathway to implementation. A numerical simulation shows surprising results, e.g., that static prices are wrong, prices should evolve over time in a way that contradicts other recent proposals, and “global warming potential” as used in existing ETSs are generally erroneous.
Note: that paper's numerical simulation (section 4) had erroneously optimistic capacity to remove carbon dioxide. Corrections coming soon here. The shapes of the graphs are generally correct.
Last update 2023 05 05.