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Green growth and rapid decarbonisation? : Assessing policy objectives, instrument choice and behavioural mechanisms

Sonnenschein, Jonas LU (2019)
Abstract
After the 2008/2009 global financial crisis, significant policy and scientific attention has been given to ‘green growth’, which aims at the concurrent achievement of economic growth and GHG emissions reductions via de-coupling. Despite ambitious aims, there is a lack of empirical knowledge about the effects and the potential of green growth climate mitigation policies.This thesis aims at providing new policy-relevant understanding of how green growth climate mitigation policies can contribute towards rapid decarbonisation. The specific policies assessed in this thesis include green fiscal stimulus in the Republic of Korea, public financing for the development of low-carbon energy technologies in the Nordic countries, carbon pricing and... (More)
After the 2008/2009 global financial crisis, significant policy and scientific attention has been given to ‘green growth’, which aims at the concurrent achievement of economic growth and GHG emissions reductions via de-coupling. Despite ambitious aims, there is a lack of empirical knowledge about the effects and the potential of green growth climate mitigation policies.This thesis aims at providing new policy-relevant understanding of how green growth climate mitigation policies can contribute towards rapid decarbonisation. The specific policies assessed in this thesis include green fiscal stimulus in the Republic of Korea, public financing for the development of low-carbon energy technologies in the Nordic countries, carbon pricing and minimum energy performance standards for electric appliances in the UK, and carbon pricing mechanisms for personal transport in Sweden with a focus on air ticket taxes. Methodologically, the thesis presents policy assessments that deploy a variety of mainly quantitative research methods. The analysis goes beyond short-term cost-effectiveness and takes into consideration a more behaviourally realistic model of decision-making in response to economic policy instruments.It is found that green growth climate policies have not yet driven the short-to mid-term decarbonisation needed to reach the targets of the Paris Agreement. This is explained by the strong economic growth objectives of green growth climate policies, by insufficient policy-stringency, and by the disregard of behavioural mechanisms (potentially) affecting policy outcomes. Regulatory policies may offer an effective alternative to economic incentives (carbon pricing in particular) in order to achieve a mitigation effect that is consistent with the targets of the Paris Agreement. Careful framing and targeting of carbon pricing can, however, increase its emissions reduction potential, and several behavioural factors are identified that may increase its policy acceptance and effectiveness. These findings confirm that a more integrated policy assessment approach is needed to support the design and implementation of green growth climate mitigation policies.The thesis underlines several policy implications. It shows thatthe simultaneous achievement of both economic and climate objectives is difficult in practice, particularly when policies are not stringent enough. Whereas innovations in low-carbon energy technologies are critical for decarbonisation, behavioural aspectsconcerning the adoption of LCET and sustainable energy use are equally important. Well-designed carbon pricing, both explicit and implicit, should be an important element of the green growth climate policy mix. (Less)
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author
supervisor
opponent
  • Professor Söderholm, Patrik, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Climate change, Mitigation, Policy, Carbon pricing, Green growth, Market failures, Behavioural insights
publisher
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics
defense location
Aula, The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics, Tegnérsplatsen 4, Lund University, Faculty of Engineering LTH, Lund
defense date
2019-05-29 09:15
ISBN
978-91-87357-41-1
978-91-87357-41-1
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
c4c23c34-0c6f-44e0-85e8-c9ee07e2b823
date added to LUP
2019-05-02 22:13:48
date last changed
2019-05-03 11:08:42
@phdthesis{c4c23c34-0c6f-44e0-85e8-c9ee07e2b823,
  abstract     = {After the 2008/2009 global financial crisis, significant policy and scientific attention has been given to ‘green growth’, which aims at the concurrent achievement of economic growth and GHG emissions reductions via de-coupling. Despite ambitious aims, there is a lack of empirical knowledge about the effects and the potential of green growth climate mitigation policies.This thesis aims at providing new policy-relevant understanding of how green growth climate mitigation policies can contribute towards rapid decarbonisation. The specific policies assessed in this thesis include green fiscal stimulus in the Republic of Korea, public financing for the development of low-carbon energy technologies in the Nordic countries, carbon pricing and minimum energy performance standards for electric appliances in the UK, and carbon pricing mechanisms for personal transport in Sweden with a focus on air ticket taxes. Methodologically, the thesis presents policy assessments that deploy a variety of mainly quantitative research methods. The analysis goes beyond short-term cost-effectiveness and takes into consideration a more behaviourally realistic model of decision-making in response to economic policy instruments.It is found that green growth climate policies have not yet driven the short-to mid-term decarbonisation needed to reach the targets of the Paris Agreement. This is explained by the strong economic growth objectives of green growth climate policies, by insufficient policy-stringency, and by the disregard of behavioural mechanisms (potentially) affecting policy outcomes. Regulatory policies may offer an effective alternative to economic incentives (carbon pricing in particular) in order to achieve a mitigation effect that is consistent with the targets of the Paris Agreement. Careful framing and targeting of carbon pricing can, however, increase its emissions reduction potential, and several behavioural factors are identified that may increase its policy acceptance and effectiveness. These findings confirm that a more integrated policy assessment approach is needed to support the design and implementation of green growth climate mitigation policies.The thesis underlines several policy implications. It shows thatthe simultaneous achievement of both economic and climate objectives is difficult in practice, particularly when policies are not stringent enough. Whereas innovations in low-carbon energy technologies are critical for decarbonisation, behavioural aspectsconcerning the adoption of LCET and sustainable energy use are equally important. Well-designed carbon pricing, both explicit and implicit, should be an important element of the green growth climate policy mix.},
  author       = {Sonnenschein, Jonas},
  isbn         = {978-91-87357-41-1},
  keyword      = {Climate change,Mitigation,Policy,Carbon pricing,Green growth,Market failures,Behavioural insights},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Green growth and rapid decarbonisation? : Assessing policy objectives, instrument choice and behavioural mechanisms},
  year         = {2019},
}