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Safeguarding the energy transition against political backlash to carbon markets

Authors
/persons/resource/Michael.Pahle

Pahle,  Michael
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

/persons/resource/Oliver.Tietjen

Tietjen,  Oliver
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

/persons/resource/Sebastian.Osorio

Osorio,  Sebastian
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Egli,  Florian
External Organizations;

Steffen,  Bjarne
External Organizations;

Schmidt,  Tobias S.
External Organizations;

/persons/resource/Ottmar.Edenhofer

Edenhofer,  Ottmar
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

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Citation

Pahle, M., Tietjen, O., Osorio, S., Egli, F., Steffen, B., Schmidt, T. S., Edenhofer, O. (2022): Safeguarding the energy transition against political backlash to carbon markets. - Nature Energy, 7, 3, 290-296.
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-022-00984-0


Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_26859
Abstract
Substantial renewable energy (RE) cost reductions have raised the prospect of a subsidy-free RE era of the energy transition. The envisaged policy cornerstones of this era are carbon markets, which create economic incentives for sustaining further RE deployment. However, this overlooks that exposing RE to market risks and increasing interest rates would result in substantially higher financing cost, which in turn would lead to much steeper carbon price paths. The resulting political pressure may provoke a price-depressing regulatory intervention, disrupting further RE expansion. Here we conceptualize this feedback and infer indicators for the risk of such an intervention. By quantifying these indicators for the European Union, we find that increased financing cost could double carbon prices in the long term, halve the rate of renewable capacity deployment in the next 15 years and considerably increase the profits of fossil fuel plants. This implies a substantial risk of pushback that policymakers should safeguard against.