Multilateral Cooperation and Carbon Taxation: Challenges and Opportunities

About the Event

It is well known that carbon taxes and other carbon pricing instruments such as emissions trading schemes are important instruments in countries’ toolbox for mitigating climate change. Over the past years, these instruments have become increasingly popular. The World Bank Carbon Pricing Dashboard illustrates that carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes have been implemented or scheduled in a growing number of countries, including Argentina, Chile, Indonesia, and South Africa. One important risk associated with these instruments is that they might affect the competitiveness of domestic energy-intensive enterprises and cause carbon leakage (namely the increase of greenhouse gas emissions in foreign countries). This has led countries to exempt or grant preferential treatment to energy-intensive sectors. Given the need to achieve a climate neutral society in the next thirty years, such exemptions and preferential treatments are not sustainable: decarbonization should cover all sectors of the economy.

In this context, countries are considering two new approaches to carbon pricing. The first consists in the adoption of a global minimum carbon price, which would ensure that all firms, regardless of where they are located, are subject to a carbon price. The second consists in the adoption of carbon border adjustment measures, which would be imposed on imported products to ensure that they are subject to the same carbon price as domestic products.

This conference is structured around these two new approaches. Our objective is to shed light on the opportunities and limits that could arise from the adoption of a global minimum carbon tax and/or carbon border adjustment measures. We hope to address the following questions: What are the advantages of a global minimum carbon price? What is the role of the OECD, IMF, UN, World Bank, and WTO? How can these organisations work together to promote a global carbon price? Do we need a global agreement, or can we start with a regional “climate club”? Can we reconcile the idea of a global minimum carbon price with the Paris Agreement? Could carbon border adjustment measures, as proposed by the EU, help support the implementation of a global carbon tax deal? Are these measures in line with international trade law? What will be their impact on developing and least-developed countries?


3.30 Introduction 

Alice Pirlot, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation 

3.40 Panel 1: A Global Carbon Price to Mitigate Climate Change

Chair: Michael Devereux (Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation) 

3.40 Introductory remarks

  • Ian Parry (IMF), “Proposal for an International Carbon Price Floor”
  • Kurt Van Dender (OECD, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration), “How to meet the rising need for dialogue on greenhouse gas mitigation policies?”
  • David Weisbach (University of Chicago – Law School), “Optimal Unilateral Carbon Policy”
  • Anna Theeuwes (Co-Chair of the ICC Working Group on carbon pricing mechanisms), "A business perspective"

4.20 Q&As and discussion

5.00 Break (5:05-5:10)

5.10 Panel 2: Carbon Border Adjustment Measures (CBAMs): a necessary tool?

Chair: Karsten Neuhoff (DIW Berlin)

5.10 Introductory remarks

  • Misato Sato (LSE), “Carbon leakage: A review” 
  • Roland Ismer (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg), “Inclusion of Consumption in the EU ETS” 
  • Ludivine Tamiotti (WTO), “CBAMs & WTO law” 
  • Alice Pirlot (Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation), “CBAMs & international climate change law”

5.50 Q&As and discussion

6.30 Close


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