FEEM working papers "Note di lavoro" series
2014 .105

Should We Ban Unconventional Oil Extraction to Reduce Global Warming?

Authors: Samuel Carrara, Emanuele Massetti
Series: Climate Change and Sustainable Development
Editor: Carlo Carraro
Keywords: Unconventional Oil, Climate Mitigation, Energy Policy, European Union
JEL n.: Q35, Q37, Q42, Q48, Q56


The extraction and processing of unconventional oil is more energy intensive and has larger negative environmental impacts than the extraction of conventional oil. The European Union (EU) estimates that oil sands lead to 22% more emissions than conventional oil. The EU is very concerned by the potential climate and environmental impacts and has considered introducing a tax on imported unconventional oil in order to discourage its production. This study shows that a global ban on the use of unconventional oil substantially reduces global carbon dioxide emissions, but the policy is not efficient. A unilateral ban of the EU on unconventional oil has no climate benefits and it is expensive for Europe.


Suggested citation: Carrara, S., E. Massetti, (2014), 'Should We Ban Unconventional Oil Extraction to Reduce Global Warming?', Nota di Lavoro 105.2014, Milan, Italy: Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

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