Non-Cooperative and Cooperative Responses to Climate Catastrophes in the Global Economy: A North-South Perspective

May 2014 | 149

Authors: Rick Van der Ploeg Aart de Zeeuw


The optimal response to a potential productivity shock which becomes more imminent with global warming is to have carbon taxes to curb the risk of a calamity and to accumulate precautionary capital to facilitate smoothing of consumption. This paper investigates how differences between regions in terms of their vulnerability to climate change and their stage of development affect the cooperative and non-cooperative responses to this aspect of climate change. It is shown that the cooperative response to these stochastic tipping points requires converging carbon taxes for developing and developed regions. The non-cooperative response leads to a bit more precautionary saving and diverging carbon taxes. We illustrate the various outcomes with a simple stylized North-South model of the global economy.

JEL Codes: D81, H20, O40, Q31, Q38

Keywords: global warming, tipping point, precautionary capital, growth, risk avoidance, carbon tax, free riding, international cooperation, asymmetries.


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