The Great Carbon Arbitrage


Tobias Adrian ; Patrick Bolton ; Alissa M. Kleinnijenhuis

Publication Date:

June 1, 2022

Electronic Access:

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Disclaimer: IMF Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to encourage debate. The views expressed in IMF Working Papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.


We measure the gains from phasing out coal as the average social cost of carbon times the quantity of avoided emissions. By comparing the present value of benefits from avoided emissions against the present value of costs of ending coal and replacing it with renewables, our conservative baseline estimate is that the world can realize a net gain of $85 trillion. This global net social benefit can be attained through an international agreement to phase out coal. We also explore how this net benefit is distributed across countries and find that most countries would benefit from a global coal phase-out even without any compensatory cross-country transfers. Finally, we estimate the size of public funds that must be committed under a blended finance arrangement to finance the cost of replacing coal with renewables.


Working Paper No. 2022/107





Publication Date:

June 1, 2022



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