C-PREE Bradford Seminar: Can Trade Policy Mitigate Climate Change?

Trade policy is often cast as a solution to the free-riding problem in international climate agreements. This paper uncovers the extent to which trade policy can deliver on this promise. 

We introduce global supply chains of carbon and climate externality into a multi-country, multi-industry general equilibrium model of trade. By deriving analytical formulas for optimal carbon and border taxes, we quantify the reduction in emissions under two prominent proposals that combine carbon pricing with border taxes. First, we show that carbon border taxes can reduce global emission by only a modest amount. By comparison, Nordhaus’s (2015) climate club proposal can result in an inclusive club of all nations that promotes free trade and cuts global emissions by two-thirds of the emission reduction attainable under the globally first best. This successful outcome hinges on the EU, US, and China committing to the climate club as core members, using their collective trade penalties to enforce cooperation by reluctant governments.

Dr. Farrokhi is Assistant Professor of Economics at Purdue University and visiting Princeton University as a Kenen Fellow at the IES and Department of Economics.


The David Bradford Energy and Environmental Policy Seminar Series is coordinated by the Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment (C-PREE), and co-sponsored by the High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI). This seminar is also co-sponsored by the Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance .

This in-person event is open to the public. Princeton University community members do not need to RSVP. Members of the general public should RSVP to ccrosby@princeton.edu and will be accommodated as space allows.

The seminars are also usually livestreamed at http://mediacentrallive.princeton.edu/ and videos of the recordings are posted on C-PREE's YouTube channel within a week or two after the event.