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Optimal Marine Plastic Abatement with Dr. Christopher Stapenhurst

22 February 2023

Optimal Marine Plastic Abatement with Dr. Christopher Stapenhurst

Optimal Marine Plastic Abatement

Recent research highlights the large, negative impact of marine plastic pollution on economic activity, wildlife, and human health. Individual governments have limited ability to abate pollution in their own waters because much of it is carried by wind and ocean currents from other countries. Thus, the United Nations Environment Programme has resolved to negotiate an international agreement to take coordinated abatement actions.

In this webinar, Christopher will talk through research conducted by himself and his co-authors to estimate the optimal international agreement for abating plastic pollution.

They first estimate physical flows of buoyant plastic pollution between North Atlantic countries and then combine these estimates with recently published data on the monetary value of buoyant plastic abatement (Borger et al. 2023) to estimate the ``optimal'' (welfare maximising) agreement for North Atlantic countries.

They find that, relative to the status quo, the optimal agreement reduces plastic pollution by 60% and reduces monetary damages by 71% annually. However, this agreement both makes some countries individually worse off, whilst allowing others to increase their pollution. They therefore estimate constrained optimal agreements ensuring, respectively, that no country (i) is made worse off; (ii) increases their pollution. They find that both of these agreements reduce plastic pollution by over 56%, and reduce monetary damages by over 49%. Finally, they carry out sensitivity analysis to confirm the robustness of our results.

About Christopher

Christopher Stapenhurst is a Postdoctoral Researcher at QSMS Research Group at Budapest University of Technology and Economics. He completed his Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Edinburgh in 2022 under the supervision of Dr Andrew Clausen and Dr Ina Taneva. His research interests include microeconomic theory, applied statistics and environmental economics

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