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Watch Your Step: Optimal Policy in a Tipping Climate

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  • Derek Lemoine
  • Christian Traeger

Abstract

We investigate the optimal policy response to the possibility of abrupt, irreversible shifts in system dynamics. The welfare cost of a tipping point emerges from the policymaker's response to altered system dynamics. Our policymaker also learns about a threshold's location by observing the system's response in each period. Simulations with a recursive, numerical climate-economy model show that tipping possibilities raise the optimal carbon tax more strongly over time. The resulting policy paths ultimately lower optimal peak warming by up to 0.5°C. Different types of posttipping shifts in dynamics generate qualitatively different optimal pretipping policy paths.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 6 (2014)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 137-66

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:6:y:2014:i:1:p:137-66

Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.6.1.137
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  1. Gjerde, Jon & Grepperud, Sverre & Kverndokk, Snorre, 1999. "Optimal climate policy under the possibility of a catastrophe," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3-4), pages 289-317, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Rick Van der Ploeg & Armon Rezai, 2013. "Abandoning Fossil Fuel: How fast and how much?," Economics Series Working Papers OxCarre Research Paper 12, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Frederick van der Ploeg & Aart de Zeeuw, 2013. "Climate Policy and Catastrophic Change: Be Prepared and Avert Risk," OxCarre Working Papers 118, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
  3. Frederick van der Ploeg, 2014. "Abrupt Positive Feedback and the Social Cost of Carbon," OxCarre Working Papers 122, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
  4. Antoine Bommier & Bruno Lanz & Stéphane Zuber, 2014. "Models-as-Usual for Unusual Risks? On the Value of Catastrophic Climate Change," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00973491, HAL.
  5. Hwang, In Chang & Reynes, Frederic & Tol, Richard, 2014. "The effect of learning on climate policy under fat-tailed uncertainty," MPRA Paper 53681, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Edilio Valentini & Paolo Vitale, 2014. "Optimal Climate Policy for a Pessimistic Social Planner," Working Papers 2014.33, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  7. Hwang, In Chang, 2014. "A recursive method for solving a climate-economy model: value function iterations with logarithmic approximations," MPRA Paper 54782, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Lucas Bretschger & Alexandra Vinogradova, 2014. "Growth and Mitigation Policies with Uncertain Climate Damage," CEEES Paper Series CE3S-02/14, European University at St. Petersburg, Department of Economics.
  9. Traeger, Christian, 2013. "A 4-stated DICE: quantitatively addressing uncertainty effects in climate change," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt9034k05t, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  10. Antoine Bommier & Bruno Lanz & Stéphane Zuber, 2014. "Fair management of social risk," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 14017, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.

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