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The Carbon Bubble: climate policy in a fire‐sale model of deleveraging

David Comerford and Alessandro Spiganti

Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 2023, vol. 125, issue 3, 655-687

Abstract: Credible implementation of climate change policy, consistent with the 2 °C limit, requires a large proportion of current fossil‐fuel reserves to remain unused. This issue, named the Carbon Bubble, is usually presented as a required asset write‐off, with implications for investors. We embed the Carbon Bubble in a macroeconomic model exhibiting a financial accelerator: if investors are leveraged, then the Carbon Bubble might precipitate a fire‐sale of assets across the economy, and generate a large and persistent fall in output and investment, impairing the economy's ability to invest in the zero carbon assets it needs to produce output in the post‐climate‐transition world. We find a role for macroeconomic policy protecting investors' balance sheets in mitigating the macroeconomic effects of the Carbon Bubble, and enhancing welfare.

Date: 2023
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https://doi.org/10.1111/sjoe.12519

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Working Paper: The Carbon Bubble: Climate Policy in a Fire-sale Model of Deleveraging (2017) Downloads
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