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Policy Contribution

A whole-economy carbon price for Europe and how to get there

Putting carbon pricing at the centre of the EU climate policy architecture would provide major benefits. Obtaining these benefits requires a uniform, credible and durable carbon price – the economic first-best solution, however, several preconditions required to attain this solution are not yet met. This paper proposes a sequenced approach to ensure convergence of the policy mix on the first-best in the long run.

By: , , and Date: March 9, 2021 Topic: Energy & Climate

The European Union’s plan for climate neutrality by 2050 reopens the question of the role carbon pricing can and should play. Carbon pricing should not – and ultimately cannot – only be an enforcement tool or backstop that ensures targets are met, while the heavy-lifting of decarbonisation comes from directed technological change policies. Instead, a technologyneutral carbon price must become the main element, providing signals for decarbonised operations, investment and innovation in all sectors. This would guarantee cost-effective emission cuts, provide a clear path to net-zero and is a requirement for international cooperation and a global carbon pricing regime. Carbon pricing must therefore be at the core of EU climate policy.

However, introducing a uniform, credible and durable carbon price across all sectors right away is politically and institutionally challenging. Moreover, policies to address other market failures will continue to affect significantly the impact of carbon pricing. The role of carbon pricing should therefore be strengthened gradually, taking these considerations into account.

Current climate policies should thus be further developed within a three-part framework. First, a separate emissions trading scheme should be introduced for the transport and heating sector to prepare the sectors for integration into the EU emissions trading system, and to manage distributional implications. A carbon price balancer would manage price differences between the two systems in the short term. Second, a carbon price stabiliser (a price floor and price ceiling) should be implemented for both systems to manage price expectations and ensure price convergence between the two systems in the long run. Third, complementary policies (carbon price amplifiers) should be strengthened or put in place to trigger investment and innovation, helping policymakers to commit credibly to enforcing the cap and addressing other market failures. This approach would ensure convergence on a uniform, credible and durable carbon price for the whole economy.

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External Publication

Winners and losers of energy and climate policy – How can the costs be redistributed?

Who should bear more and who less of the burden achieving climate policy goals?

By: Gustav Fredriksson and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Date: September 24, 2021
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Podcast

Podcast

Exploding energy prices

Why the sudden spike in European electricity and gas prices?

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Energy & Climate Date: September 23, 2021
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What is the link between biodiversity loss and financial instability?

A French look at the impact of biodiversity loss on financial instability.

Speakers: Sylvie Goulard, Romain Svartzman and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
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Working Paper

Can climate change be tackled without ditching economic growth?

The notion of degrowth to reduce greenhouse gas emissions appears unrealistic; decoupling of emissions from growth is in principle possible but requires unprecedented efforts.

By: Klaas Lenaerts, Simone Tagliapietra and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Energy & Climate Date: September 16, 2021
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Past Event

Past Event

The Sound of Economics Live: Unboxing the State of the Union 2021

In this Sound of Economics Live episode, we look at the State of the Union address delivered by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.

Speakers: Grégory Claeys, Maria Demertzis, Alicia García-Herrero and Giuseppe Porcaro Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: September 15, 2021
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Blog Post

Is Europe’s gas and electricity price surge a one-off?

Surging natural gas prices in Europe, driven by rising demand and tight supply, are pushing up electricity prices; to prevent volatility, governments need to commit more clearly to a low-carbon future.

By: Simone Tagliapietra and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Date: September 13, 2021
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Policy Contribution

A green fiscal pact: climate investment in times of budget consolidation

Increasing green public investment while consolidating deficits will be a central challenge of this decade. A green fiscal pact would address this tension, but difficult trade-offs remain.

By: Zsolt Darvas and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: September 9, 2021
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External Publication

Conditions are ideal for a new climate club

The technical and political conditions are ideal for the creation of a climate club to catalyse tougher climate action worldwide.

By: Simone Tagliapietra and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Energy & Climate Date: September 9, 2021
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Podcast

Podcast

A Late Bloomer: where is China’s climate plan?

The world awaits China's concrete plan on carbon reduction, but the country is following its own pace.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: September 8, 2021
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Opinion

EU climate plan should involve taxing pollution, not borders

Climate change and taxes may be some of the only true certainties in life. To protect ourselves better, we should make careful choices on how they interact.

By: Rebecca Christie Topic: Energy & Climate Date: September 6, 2021
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Past Event

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Sustainable finance

Bruegel Annual Meetings, Day 3 - In this session on the final day of the Meetings, our panelists will discuss the future of finance and its sustainability.

Speakers: Maria Demertzis, Alberto De Paoli, Pierre Heilbronn and Alexandra Jour-Schroeder Topic: Energy & Climate, Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Palais des Académies, Rue Ducale 1, Brussels Date: September 3, 2021
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Past Event

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The role of the state in providing infrastructure for decarbonisation

Bruegel Annual Meetings, Day 2 - Who should be responsible for providing crucial infrastructure for decarbonisation and how should it be managed?

Speakers: Jean-Bernard Lévy, Diederik Samsom, Simone Tagliapietra, Laurence Tubiana and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Location: Palais des Academies, Rue Ducale 1 Date: September 2, 2021
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