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Reframing incentives for climate policy action

Jean-Francois Mercure (), P. Salas, P. Vercoulen, Gregor Semieniuk, A. Lam, Hector Pollitt, P. B. Holden, N. Vakilifard, U. Chewpreecha, N. R. Edwards and J. E. Vinuales
Additional contact information
P. Salas: University of Cambridge
P. Vercoulen: University of Exeter
A. Lam: University of Cambridge
P. B. Holden: The Open University
N. Vakilifard: The Open University
U. Chewpreecha: Cambridge Econometrics
N. R. Edwards: University of Cambridge
J. E. Vinuales: University of Cambridge

Nature Energy, 2021, vol. 6, issue 12, 1133-1143

Abstract: Abstract A key aim of climate policy is to progressively substitute renewables and energy efficiency for fossil fuel use. The associated rapid depreciation and replacement of fossil-fuel-related physical and natural capital entail a profound reorganization of industry value chains, international trade and geopolitics. Here we present evidence confirming that the transformation of energy systems is well under way, and we explore the economic and strategic implications of the emerging energy geography. We show specifically that, given the economic implications of the ongoing energy transformation, the framing of climate policy as economically detrimental to those pursuing it is a poor description of strategic incentives. Instead, a new climate policy incentives configuration emerges in which fossil fuel importers are better off decarbonizing, competitive fossil fuel exporters are better off flooding markets and uncompetitive fossil fuel producers—rather than benefitting from ‘free-riding’—suffer from their exposure to stranded assets and lack of investment in decarbonization technologies.

Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1038/s41560-021-00934-2

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