Environmental Modeling & Assessment

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 493–508 | Cite as

Global Emission Ceiling Versus International Cap and Trade: What is the Most Efficient System to Solve the Climate Change Issue?

  • Jacqueline Morgan
  • Fabien Prieur


We model the climate change issue as a pollution control game with the purpose of comparing two possible departures from the business as usual (BAU) where countries noncooperatively choose their emission levels. In the first scenario, players have to agree on a global emission cap (GEC) that is enforced by a uniform taxation scheme. They still behave strategically when choosing emission levels but are now subject to the coupled constraint imposed by the cap. The second scenario consists of the implementation of an international cap and trade (ICT) system. In this case, players decide on their emission quotas, and emission trading is allowed. A three heterogenous player quadratic game serves as a basis for the analysis. When the cap is binding, among all the coupled constraints Nash equilibria, we select a particular normalized equilibrium by solving a variational inequality. Comparing the normalized equilibrium with the Nash equilibria of the BAU and the ICT, we first show that if the cap is appropriately chosen, then the GEC system improves all players’ payoffs, relative to the BAU. The GEC system may thus be unanimously approved whereas the ICT is not, because moving from the BAU to the ICT is costly for one player. Second, for some values of the cap, all players get a higher payoff under the GEC than under the ICT. Therefore, the GEC outperforms the ICT both in terms of feasibility and efficiency.


Environmental game Climate change International cap and trade system National emission quotas Global emission ceiling Normalized equilibria Variational and quasi-variational inequalities 

JEL Classification (2010)

Q54 Q58 C72 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CSEF and Department of Mathematics and StatisticsUniversity of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly
  2. 2.LAMETA, Université Montpellier I and INRAMontpellierFrance

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