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Taxing CO2 and subsidising biomass. Analysed in a macroeconomic and sectoral model

Klinge Jacobsen, Henrik (1999): Taxing CO2 and subsidising biomass. Analysed in a macroeconomic and sectoral model. Published in: Biomass and Bioenergy , Vol. 18, No. 2 (2000): pp. 113-124.


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This paper analyses the combination of taxes and subsidies as an instrument to ensure a reduction of CO2 emission. The objective of the study is to compare recycling of a CO2 tax revenue as a subsidy to biomass use as opposed to traditional recycling like reduced income or corporate taxation. A model of the energy supply sector of Denmark is used to analyse the effect of a CO2 tax in combination with using the tax revenue for subsidies to biomass. The energy supply model is linked to a macroeconomic model such that macroeconomic consequences of tax policies can be analysed along with consequences for specific sectors as agriculture. Electricity and heat are produced at heat and power plants and utilising fuels which minimise total fuel cost, while the authorities regulate capacity expansion technologies. The effect of fuel taxes and subsidies on fuels is very sensitive to the fuel substitution possibilities of the power plants and consequently the extent to which expansion technologies have been regulated. It is shown how a relatively small CO2 tax of 15 USD/tCO2 and subsidies to biomass can produce significant shifts in the fuel input-mix, when the expansion of production capacity is regulated to ensure a flexible fuel mix. The main finding is that recycling to biomass use will reduce the level of CO2 tax necessary to achieve a specific emission reduction. Policies to ensure a more intensive use of such relatively expensive renewable energy sources as biomass could be implemented with only small taxes and subsidies.

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