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Coal Transport Demand in Western Europe and Japan: Impacts of Energy Market Liberalisation and Climate Policy


Europe and Japan are among the main importers of coal. Climate policies following the Kyoto agreement are creating pressure to substitute away from coal and turn to less emission intensive energy sources. At the same time, liberalisations of energy markets in Europe and Japan are likely to cause reduced electricity prices, which will boost the overall demand for electricity. This paper analyses the combined effect of electricity market liberalisation and climate policies on the international coal trade. Using the numerical equilibrium model LIBEMOD, we find that while liberalisation of electricity markets will imply a large increase in aggregate coal transport demand, the negative impact of climate policies may be even larger, in particular if Russia and Ukraine utilise their market power in the market for emission permits. If this market power is exploited, the total effect of liberalisation and climate policy – when including the impact of general economic growth – is a 20% reduction in aggregate coal transport between 2000 and 2010. Further, impacts differ markedly between Western Europe and Japan. A main difference is that liberalisation has a much more positive – and climate policies have a much stronger negative – impact on steam coal demand in Western Europe than in Japan.

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Golombek, Rolf, Sverre A. C. Kittelsen and Ottar Mæstad




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