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Journal Articles Climate Policy Year : 2013

Financing low-carbon investments in the absence of a carbon tax


Introducing a carbon tax is difficult, partly because it suggests that current generations have to make sacrifices for the benefit of future generations. However, the climate change externality could be corrected without such a sacrifice. It is possible to set a carbon value, and use it to create 'carbon certificates' that can be accepted as part of commercial banks' legal reserves. These certificates can be distributed to low-carbon projects, and be exchanged by investors against concessional loans, reducing capital costs for low-carbon projects. As the issuance of carbon certificates would increase the quantity of money, it will either lead to accelerated inflation or induce the Central Bank to raise interest rates. Low-carbon projects will thus have access to cheaper loans at the expense of either 'regular' investors (in case of higher interest rates) or of lenders and depositors (in case of accelerated inflation). Within this scheme, mitigation expenditures are compensated by a reduction in regular investments, so that immediate consumption is maintained. It uses future generation wealth to pay for a hedge against climate change. This framework is not as efficient as a carbon tax but is politically easier to implement and represents an interesting step in the trajectory towards a low-carbon economy.
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hal-00793924 , version 1 (24-02-2013)



Julie Rozenberg, Stéphane Hallegatte, B. Perrissin-Fabert, Jean Charles Hourcade. Financing low-carbon investments in the absence of a carbon tax. Climate Policy, 2013, 13 (1), p. 134-141. ⟨10.1080/14693062.2012.691222⟩. ⟨hal-00793924⟩
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