Carbon Tax Based on the Emission Factor
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In response to growing concerns about the negative impact of GHG emissions, several countries such as the European Union have adopted a cap-and-trade policy to limit the overall emissions levels. Alternatively, other countries including Argentina, Canada, the United Kingdom, and United States have proposed an intensity-based cap-and-trade system that targets emission intensities, measured in emissions per dollars or unit of output. Arguably,intensity regulations can accommodate future economic growth, reduce cost uncertainty, engage developing countries in international efforts to mitigate climate change, and provide incentives to improve energy efficiency and to use less carbon-intensive fuels. This work models and studies a carbon tax scheme where policy makers set a target emission factor, which is used as an intensity measure, for a specific industry and tax firms if they exceed that limit. The policy aims to promote energy efficiency, alleviate the impact on low emitters, and allow high emitters some flexibility to comply. We examine the effectiveness of the policy in reducing the emission factor due to manufacturing and transportation. The major objective of this research is to provide policy makers with a decision support tool that can aid in investigating the impact of an intensity-based carbon tax on regulated sectors and in finding the tax rate that achieves a target reduction. Therefore, we first propose a social-welfare maximizing model that can serve as a tool to evaluate the economic and environmental impacts of the policy. We compare the outcomes of the intensity-based tax and other existing environmental policies; namely, carbon tax imposed on overall emissions, cap-and-trade systems, and mandatory caps using case studies that are built within the context of the cement industry. The effectiveness of the policy is measured by achieving a balance between the target emission factor and the social welfare. To find the optimal tax rate that achieves a target reduction, we propose a bilevel programming model where at the upper level, the government sets a target emission factor for the industry and taxes firms if they exceed that target, and at the lower level, the industry sets output levels that maximize social welfare. In the design of the policy, the government takes into account the decisions of the producers regarding fuel types and production quantities as well as the decisions of the market regarding demand. To evaluate the effectiveness of the policy, we build case studies in the context of cement industry. The policy is found to be effective in reducing the CO2 emissions by opting for a less carbon-intensive fuel with a little impact on social welfare. To examine the effectiveness of the intensity-based carbon tax on reducing CO2 emissions from transportation, which is a major supply chain activity, we finally propose a bilevel program where at the upper level the government decides on the tax rate and at the lower level firms decide on the design of their supply chain and truck types. The policy is found to be effective in inducing firms to reduce their emission factors and consequently reducing the overall emissions.