Opinion

访顶尖欧洲智库学者:欧盟碳市场的两大挑战和运行经验

欧洲碳交易体系研究专家、欧洲布鲁盖尔研究所(Bruegel)高级研究员乔治·扎克曼(Georg Zachmann),对欧盟碳交易经验和目前遇到的挑战进行介绍,并就上述国际热点问题分享见解。

By: Date: June 30, 2021 Topic: Energy & Climate

This interview was originally posted on the WeChat channel of China Finance 40 Forum.

 

全国碳市场启动渐行渐近。据生态环境部此前介绍,全国碳市场拟于6月底前启动上线交易,而现在距离6月结束还剩9天。

目前,交易系统已顺利通过技术验收,全国碳市场上线只差临门一脚。但是国内学术界对于碳市场应该着重凸显哪些功能、碳价及其调控等细节问题尚有分歧,人们对于碳减排行动对经济和福利可能造成的影响还存在疑问。从全球范围来看,要有效推动全球共同减排,对碳边境调节税和全球统一碳市场的讨论也不可避免。

CF40研究部邀请到欧洲碳交易体系研究专家、欧洲布鲁盖尔研究所(Bruegel)高级研究员乔治·扎克曼(Georg Zachmann),对欧盟碳交易经验和目前遇到的挑战进行介绍,并就上述国际热点问题分享见解。

Bruegel成立于2005年,位于比利时布鲁塞尔,是国际顶级经济政策智库之一。欧洲能源和气候问题是其重点研究方向之一。

Georg Zachmann表示,碳减排需要整个经济实现重大转型,这需要大力投资低碳技术,同时,重排放的煤矿、燃煤电厂等行业需要转型或者淘汰。但是,气候政策对经济社会产生的冲击可能并不会像自动化、数字化等技术变革的影响那么大。长期来看,探索新机遇比保护传统行业就业更重要。

欧盟碳市场一直是全球各国碳市场建设的标杆。然而新冠疫情以来,欧洲碳价在短暂下跌后大幅上涨。今年5月下旬,欧洲碳价一度涨超56欧元/吨,较年初上涨超50%,引发欧洲一些行业对碳价过高的不满;一些国内专家也对高碳价提出异议。

Georg Zachmann认为,目前欧盟碳定价机制运作良好,价格波动是合理的。欧盟碳市场当前的挑战一是如何将更多的行业纳入碳定价机制中,如运输和热力;二是碳价的上升遭到了来自行业的阻力,因为企业不希望自己的国际竞争力因为碳价上升而受到削弱;消费者因为担心可支配收入下降,也不愿意支付更高的碳价。

他建议,对于前者,可以针对这些行业再推出一个碳排放交易系统,之后再与现有的系统合并。对于后者,“政策制定者可能会给出一个弹性区间,当碳价超出了政策可接受的范围时,就对每年发放的排放配额进行调整,但调整的方式要具有可预见性。”

“这样一来,交易中碳价可以升得很高、或降得很低,但必要时政策会对价格进行逆向干预,以增强碳价的可预测性、避免价格过度波动。”他说。

IMF发布的报告显示,要实现全球变暖控制在2摄氏度以内的目标,2030年碳价应达到75美元/吨,甚至更高。然而,2019年,全球平均碳价仅为2美元/吨,即便目前的欧洲碳价也未达到这一水平。

设计出一个激励相容的机制以使全球朝着碳中和的方向共同努力,对于碳减排非常重要,但就机制本身而言,各国远未达成共识。

今年3月,欧洲议会通过了“碳边境调节机制”(CBAM)议案,称如果一些与欧盟有贸易往来的国家不能遵守碳排放相关规定,欧盟将对这些国家进口商品征收碳关税。欧盟希望这一机制有助于提高欧盟内部的碳价格,并提升欧盟以外国家的气候雄心。但是,国际上也对这一措施带有的贸易保护主义色彩提出质疑。

如果将经济脆弱国家考虑进来,碳关税真的有利于推动全球共同减排吗?

Georg Zachmann表示,试图通过CBAM促使其他国家推出气候政策是行不通的,容易因有越俎代庖之嫌而受到诟病。但是从政治现实来看,只能尽可能合理地设计碳边境调节机制、避免对国际贸易造成太大伤害。我们要严肃看待欧盟目前推动的这个机制、积极有效应对。贸易伙伴应该划出清晰且切合实际的红线,让欧盟找到一个普遍接受的解决方案。

他认为,碳边境调节收入不应计入财政收支,建立一种将碳边境调节收入退回出口国的机制,可能是法律风险最小的做法,但是,更有吸引力的选择可能是把这笔收入用于海外气候投资,这从法律上也是可行的。

为促进全球共同减排,建设全球统一的碳市场也是国际上热议的方案之一,但目前尚未见到可行路径。

中国金融学会会长、中国人民银行原行长周小川在5月9日举行的“2060展望碳中和:能源、技术与投资”交流会上提出,可以试着换一种思路和做法,学习中国金融市场的做法,建立类似沪港通、深港通等机制,把各个碳市场进行市场可控的连通。从起步来讲,应该允许发展中国家每年有一定数量的负值碳配额拿到欧洲碳市场去卖。

Georg Zachmann认为,由于涉及分配和主权问题,短期内很难建设一个全球性的碳定价体系。采取一种更加分散的方式进行跨境碳交易更加可行,但这种方法要想奏效,购买碳排放权的国家所买的必须是卖出国“额外”的碳排放权。这就需要我们探索一种方法,准确评估所交易碳排放权的 “额外性” (additionality)。

他强调,碳定价从经济上来说确实是最有效的促进碳减排的办法,但对于碳减排来说也并非不可或缺。

要推动全球共同努力,应该从既有机制入手,逐步强化联合国气候变化框架公约(UNFCCC)提供的工具,如气候融资、技术转移等,切实激励欠发达国家越过高碳排放的发展阶段,直接迈入使用可再生能源、发展可持续交通与工业的阶段,并逐步降低低碳技术的成本、增强其竞争力,让欠发达国家也能应用和推广这些技术。

他还表示,中国的气候政策非常积极,但是和很多国家一样,现实比理想复杂得多。从欧洲的角度来看,中国如果能够和欧洲共同探讨如何解决碳泄漏的问题,会非常有帮助。

采访实录

1、人们对碳减排行动可能造成的经济和福利的损失较为担心,比如产业转型可能造成失业、含碳产品成本抬升、通胀抬升等。您认为应该如何正确看待并回应这个问题?

Georg Zachmann:碳减排需要整个经济实现重大转型,我们要改变出行、供暖、生产、发电方式等,这需要大力投资于低碳技术,如电动汽车、电热、风力涡轮机和太阳能电池板。同时,重排放的煤矿、燃煤电厂等行业需要转型或者淘汰。

这样的重大转型对经济社会造成什么影响很大程度上取决于政策选择。通过公共补贴来激励低碳转型成本会非常高昂;仅仅依赖提高碳定价来减排会抬高消费者和行业的成本;仅靠制定和实施一些标准则效率太低。因此,政策制定者需要平衡多种政策,切实有效地推进低碳转型,例如,可以实施市场化的碳排放总量控制交易机制(cap-and-trade)、减少排放配额,同时采取激励措施,推动企业与消费者加大低碳技术投资,降低碳排放,避免碳价升得过高。

气候政策对经济社会产生的冲击可能不会像自动化、数字化等技术变革的影响那么大,但政府还是要积极应对相关的区域性、行业性挑战。长期来看,探索新机遇比保护传统行业就业更重要。

2、目前看来,中国打算从建立全国碳市场入手,以市场化机制推动碳达峰和碳中和的实现。能否请您回顾一下欧洲碳市场的拟建和运行历程?并谈一谈,其中有哪些值得借鉴的经验和需要吸取的教训?

Georg Zachmann:欧盟碳排放交易体系非常成功,在30个欧洲国家实行统一的碳价,这在经济上非常高效。

欧盟碳市场已经成为了欧盟气候政策的基石。但欧盟碳市场一开始的建设并不容易。最初,很多学者和政策制定者更希望欧盟对碳排放征税,即由政府确定碳价,而不是推出碳排放限额交易系统、由政府来制定碳排放配额。但是根据欧盟的政治架构,所有成员国在税收问题上都有一票否决权,所以在欧盟各国征收统一的碳税未能实现。

在欧盟碳市场推出的前几年,很多公司因为政府发放的免费碳排放配额获得了大量的额外收益,碳排放配额的过度分配也遏制了碳价。但这些缺陷很可能是政策制定者有意为之,目的是为碳市场争取足够的政治支持。

之后,欧盟碳排放交易体系的规则几经修订,现在这些问题大多得到了解决。欧盟碳市场已经相对成熟,逐步提高的碳定价也正在鼓励更多的低碳转型,如淘汰煤炭发电等。

3、近期欧洲碳交易价格的攀升,引发了一些对当前碳价“过高”还是“不足”,以及碳价稳定性的讨论。您认为,当前欧洲碳价及其形成面临的真正问题是什么?对待碳价,经济体应该允许其不断上涨,还是有必要在不同阶段确定对应的合理碳价区间?可行做法是什么?

Georg Zachmann:欧盟碳定价机制目前运作良好。欧盟现在面临的挑战是如何将更多的行业纳入碳定价机制中,如运输和热力。我们或许可以针对这些行业再推出一个碳排放交易系统,之后再与现有的系统合并。

另一个挑战是碳价的上升遭到了来自行业的阻力,背后的原因也可以理解,因为企业不希望自己的国际竞争力因为碳价上升而受到削弱;同时,消费者因为担心可支配收入下降,也不愿意支付更高的碳价。妥善应对这些问题是保证碳定价机制正常运作的政治基础。

从政治的角度,我们可以提供关于可接受价格水平的指引,这有利于平息那些反对价格合理波动的声音。比起以间接方式引导市场,直接指定一个具体的碳价区间可能会面临更多的政治阻力。

我认为政策制定者可能会给出一个弹性区间,当碳价超出了政策可接受的范围时,就对每年发放的排放配额进行调整,但调整的方式要具有可预见性。这样一来,交易中碳价可以升得很高、或降得很低,但必要时政策会对价格进行逆向干预,以增强碳价的可预测性、避免价格过度波动。

4、碳市场和碳定价应有的功能是什么?对于实现碳中和能在多大程度上起到作用?除此之外,一国要实现碳中和还需哪些其他政策安排?

Georg Zachmann:碳定价可以为碳密集型技术的经营者和投资者提供强有力的、清晰的价格信号,鼓励经营者尽可能少用煤电厂等高碳资产、选择其他的替代资产,引导投资者不再投资于平炉等高碳资产。因此,碳定价机制要尽可能覆盖那些最重要的高排放领域,让企业为自己的碳排放承担成本,让价格信号在短期和长期内都足够有力、可信。此外,还有很多配套政策能够让碳定价更有效、政治上更好被接受,如支持低碳技术发展、提供社会补贴等。

5、要使全球朝着碳中和的方向共同努力,是否有必要设计出一个激励相容的机制?你认为可行的做法有哪些?

Georg Zachmann:这个问题对于碳减排非常重要。虽然探讨这个问题的学术文献汗牛充栋,但目前我们就此尚未达成学术共识。

我认为我们应该从既有机制入手,即联合国气候变化框架公约(UNFCCC)下的巴黎气候协定。我们应逐步强化UNFCCC提供的工具,如气候融资、技术转移等,切实激励欠发达国家越过高碳排放的发展阶段,直接迈入使用可再生能源、发展可持续交通与工业的阶段。通过加大对低碳技术研究、创新、展示与应用的公共支持力度,我们能够逐步降低低碳技术的成本、增强其竞争力,让欠发达国家也能应用和推广这些技术。

6、如果把经济脆弱国家纳入考虑,碳边境调节税对于在全球范围实现碳中和是有利的吗?它可能有哪些正面和负面影响?

Georg Zachmann:最理想的情况是,我们设计了碳边境调节机制,但永远不会实施。比如,如果出口国能够在国内推广碳定价,进口国就不用实施碳边境调节了。这一方面有利于进口国追求更高的气候目标,另一方面,出口国也不必缴纳碳关税了。
最糟糕的情况是,碳边境调节机制的合法性和公平性面临质疑,加剧经济风险、拖累碳减排进程,甚至可能引发贸易战。为了避免这种情况发生,进口国和出口国双方都需要高超的外交技巧。

7、如何设计实施碳边境调节机制才能既避免贸易保护主义,激发贸易战,又有利于全球共同碳减排?在相同目的下,有其他更好的替代方案吗?

Georg Zachmann:我认为试图通过碳边境调节机制促使其他国家推出气候政策是行不通的,容易因有越俎代庖之嫌而受到诟病。

我能想到两种替代方案。第一,对在一国消费的产品,不管是国内生产的还是从国外进口的,全都征收碳消费税,但是考虑到欧盟的政治架构,这需要所有成员国一致投票通过,这一方案的落实有难度;第二,对低碳技术提供强有力的支持,让本国的绿色生产具有足够的竞争力,这样就不用诉诸边境调节税,同时还能促进技术发展。

不过,从政治现实来看,我们只能尽可能合理的设计碳边境调节机制、避免对国际贸易造成太大伤害。因此,我们要严肃看待欧盟目前推动的这个机制、积极有效应对。贸易伙伴应该明确一些现实的红线,给欧盟留出空间,探索出一个为各方普遍接受的方案。

8、您认为,碳边境调节税收应该用在何处?有观点认为,为避免税收被挪用,并加强对发展中国家的支持,应该全部用于购买发展中国家出口的负值碳配额,也就是用于支持发展中国家或者具体出口国的减排行动。您对此是否赞同?

Georg Zachmann:我认为碳边境调节收入不应计入财政收支,因为这有可能让人觉得它不是一个气候工具,而是政治工具。从法律的角度来说,最安全的办法是建立一种机制,将碳边境调节收入退回出口国;但如果把这笔收入用于海外气候投资从法律上可行,这不失为一个有吸引力的选择。

9、建立全球统一的碳定价体系是否有必要性和可行性?有人提出了替代方案——在各个碳市场之间建立可控的连通机制。您的建议是什么?

Georg Zachmann:我认为短期内很难建设一个全球性的碳定价体系,这其中涉及的分配和主权问题会构成很大的障碍。而且,虽然碳定价从经济上来说确实是最有效的促进碳减排的办法,我并不认为它对于碳减排来说是不可或缺的。

采取一种更加分散的方式进行跨境碳交易更加可行,从经济的角度看方法合理,甚至有望为欠发达国家提供更多的低碳投资。但这种方法要想奏效,购买碳排放权的国家所买的必须是卖出国“额外”的碳排放权。这就需要我们探索一种方法,准确评估所交易碳排放权的 “额外性” (additionality)。

10、中国提出在2030年实现碳达峰,2060年实现碳中和,您对中国政府在设计和实施政策时有哪些建议?

Georg Zachmann:中国的气候政策非常积极,包括承诺2060年实现碳中和、快速推广可再生能源发电、开发低碳新技术、推出碳排放交易市场等,这些都是很好的举措。但是和很多国家一样,现实比理想复杂得多。中国仍然在国内或境外出资修建煤炭电站,这与将全球变暖控制在2摄氏度以内的目标不符。从欧洲的角度来看,中国如果能够和欧洲共同探讨如何解决碳泄漏的问题,会非常有帮助。如果这个问题得到妥善解决,不仅可以遏制欧洲以外其他国家的碳排放增长,也能够帮助欧洲更好地减排,从而有利于全球碳减排目标的达成。

Interview in English

1. Some people worry that decarbonization could have negative impacts on the economy and social welfare, such as job loss caused by industrial upgrade, higher cost of carbon products, and rising inflation. How should we assess these impacts and address the problems?

Georg Zachmann:Decarbonisation will require a substantial transformation of our economy. We will have to change the way we move around, heat our homes, produce our goods and generate electricity. This will require substantial investments in low carbon technology such as electric vehicles, electric heating, as well as wind turbines and solar panels. At the same time, some emission intensive sectors, such as coal mines and coal-fired power plants, will have to change or even disappear. The impact that this massive transformation will have on people will, to a large degree, depend on political choices. Incentivising the transition mainly by public subsidies would be prohibitively expensive; relying only on high carbon prices would be a fiscal shock to consumers and industry; and using only standards would be very inefficient. Hence, policy-makers need to come up with a balanced menu of policies that ensures the transition is happening – e.g., by implementing a cap-and-trade system with decreasing issuance of allowances – but also incentivises companies and consumers to invest in new low-carbon technologies to avoid increasing carbon prices. While the disruption from climate policies might not be much bigger than other technology-driven disruptions – such as automation and digitalization – governments still need to address the associated regional and sectoral hardships. In the long term, creating new opportunities is better than protecting old jobs.

2. China plans to realize the 2030/60 goals via market-based mechanisms starting with the national carbon market. Could you give us a brief introduction to the history of the EU-ETS, including how it was initiated and developed? What are the experiences and lessons that other countries could learn from the EU?

Georg Zachmann:The EU ETS is a significant success – having 30 European countries under one single carbon price is economically efficient and the system has become the cornerstone of the EU’s climate policy. The start was, however, not easy. Many academics and policy-makers would have preferred if the EU would have introduced a carbon tax (where the government determines the carbon price) instead of a cap-and-trade system (where the government determines a volume of emissions). But the political architecture of the EU – where each member state has a veto on taxation issues – did not allow for a Europe-wide tax to be introduced. In the first years, free allowances to companies allowed significant windfall profits to corporates, and overallocation depressed prices. These issues might well have been deliberate imperfections to ensure enough political support for the system. The system’s rules have been updated several times and these initial issues have now been largely corrected. The system now has teeth, and increasing carbon prices are encouraging, for example, a speed up of the transition away from coal fired power generation.

3. The recent rise in carbon price in Europe has triggered discussions on the appropriate level and stability of the price.

(1) In your understanding, what is the major problem with carbon pricing in Europe?

Georg Zachmann:Carbon pricing in the EU is working well. The challenge now is to extend it to sectors that are not yet covered, such as transport and heating. This will possibly be done through a second cap-and-trade system that might, over time, be merged with the existing system. Another challenge is that increasing carbon prices face understandable opposition from industry –worried about its international competitiveness – and from consumers who worry about a drop in disposable income. Finding solutions to address these concerns is crucial to avoid politically derailing the system.

(2) How should the carbon price be regulated? Should it be allowed to keep rising, or should it be contained within an appropriate range? How to determine this range and keep the price within it?

Georg Zachmann:Providing political guidance on what price level is politically acceptable might be useful; namely to mute opposition against acceptable price movements. But fixing a concrete range will be politically more difficult than guiding market dynamics in a more indirect way. I believe that policymakers might introduce some forms of “elastic bands” that change the annual issuance of allowances when prices go beyond the boundaries of what was determined as politically acceptable, but in a predictable way. This would imply that prices can still reach very high/low levels if this is what is needed to meet the cap, but the system would start to lean against the wind – increasing predictability and avoiding excess volatility.

4. What functions should the carbon market and carbon pricing mechanism have? To what extent can they promote carbon neutrality?What other policies should be in place to achieve carbon neutrality?

Georg Zachmann:Carbon pricing should provide strong and clear price signals to operators of and investors in carbon intensive technologies. Operators should be encouraged to explore their carbon intensive assets (such as coal plants) less when alternatives are available. The carbon price should encourage investors to not finance new carbon intensive assets (such as open hearth furnaces). Accordingly, it is important that most important emissions are covered, that companies cannot avoid carbon pricing, and that the price signal is robust and credible in the short and long term.

There are many complimentary policies that increase the effectiveness and political acceptability of carbon pricing, such as support for low carbon technologies and social compensations.

5. For countries to work together towards carbon neutrality, do we need an incentive-compatible mechanism? How can we build such a mechanism?

Georg Zachmann:Like all your questions, this is a very important one for decarbonisation, and also one on which there is no academic consensus – hundreds of scholars have written thousands of books on the topic. My take would be that we should work with what we have – the UNFCCC process that culminated in the Paris Agreement. We should gradually strengthen the instruments it provides, such as climate finance and technology transfer, in a way that creates true incentives for less developed countries leap-frog the high-emissions development phase and directly move to renewable energy and sustainable transport and industry. In particular, I believe that public support to research, innovation, demonstration and deployment of low carbon technologies can bring about the general cost degressions needed to make these technologies competitive, even in less developed countries.

6. The European Parliament passed a resolution to support the introduction of the cross-border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), planning to impose a border adjustment tax to prevent carbon transfer and leakage and protect local industries’ competitiveness. However, some countries have considered this proposal to be protectionist.

(1) Fragile economies taken into account, will border adjustment tax facilitate carbon neutrality around the globe? What are the positive and negative influences it might have?

Georg Zachmann:At best, a CBAM will be devised but never be used. If, for example, exporter countries introduce domestic carbon pricing, importer countries will not impose carbon border adjustments. This would have the double benefit of allowing importer countries to pursue higher climate ambition, and allowing exporter countries to avoid paying any adjustments.

At worst, disputes about the legality and fairness of a CBAM lead to high economic uncertainty, delayed decarbonization and possibly even to an intense trade-war. Avoiding this outcome will require diplomatic skills on both sides.

(2) How to design the cross-border adjustment mechanism so that it could promote global carbon reduction while preventing trade protectionism and trade wars? Are there better ways to achieve this goal?

Georg Zachmann:I think that using CBAM to push other countries to introduce climate policies is set to fail as it can be perceived as an overreach. Two alternative approaches come to mind. One would be applying domestic carbon consumption taxes on all goods, both domestically produced and imported. This would, however, be difficult for the EU political architecture, as it requires a unanimous vote on taxation. The second alternative would be to aggressively support low carbon alternatives. This could make domestic green production competitive without having to resort to any border adjustment, and it would, at the same time, promote technology development.

Still, I think the political reality is that we will have to find a way to devise a CBAM mechanism that does not do too much harm. Thus the discussion on the current European proposal should be taken seriously and be reacted to constructively. Trade partners should trace clear, but realistic, red lines and allow the EU to find a commonly acceptable solution.

(3) In your view, how should revenue from the border adjustment tax be used? Some think all the revenue should be used to purchase negative carbon quotas from developing countries to support their carbon reduction effort and avoid misuse. Do you agree with this?

Georg Zachmann:I agree that CBAM revenues should not be put into the budget as this increases the risk of them being perceived as a political – rather than a climate – tool. I presume a mechanical way of returning the money to the exporting country might be the least likely to be legally challenged – but if using CBAM revenues for sensible climate investments overseas is a legally feasible option, it would indeed be attractive.

7. Is it necessary and feasible to build a globally unified system for carbon pricing? Some have come up with an alternative solution— to develop controllable connections among different carbon markets. What is your take on this?

Georg Zachmann:I think that it will be very difficult to establish a global carbon pricing system anytime soon. The distributional and sovereignty issues involved might make it too hard to ever get there. And – despite being the most economically efficient solution – I am not convinced that it is ultimately needed to decarbonise. In my view, a more decentralised approach to carbon trading across borders is feasible, would be economically sensible, and can even serve to finance low-carbon investments in less developed countries. But this will only work if buyer countries can commit to only buying truly additional emission reductions from seller countries. Here, we would need to come up with a gold-standard for assessing the additionality of emission reductions.

8. Though China has proposed the 2030/60 goals, the country now still accounts for about one third of global carbon emission. While striving to deliver its commitments in due course, China has to balance decarbonization efforts with the need to maintain economic growth and stability. What advice would you give to the Chinese government in designing and implementing related policies?

Georg Zachmann:Chinese climate policy headlines are quite positive. Setting 2060 targets for net neutrality, fast deployment of renewable electricity generation, development of new low carbon technologies and introduction of an emission trading system sound very good. But I also observe that – like in most countries – the realities are more complicated. There are still new coal plants being built in China and financed abroad, which is not in line with the 2°C target. Moreover, it would be extremely useful, from a European perspective, if China could discuss with Europe how to jointly address European concerns about carbon leakage. If done well, this would not only prevent rising emissions outside Europe but also allow to increase European ambition and hence be very helpful for global decarbonization.


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