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Comparing Greenhouse Gases for Policy Purposes

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  • Richard Schmalensee

Abstract

In order to derive optimal policies for greenhouse gas emissions control, the discounted marginal damages of emissions from different gases must be compared. The greenhouse warming potential (GWP) index, which is most often used to compare greenhouse gases, is not based on such a damage comparison. This essay presents assumptions under which ratios of gas-specific discounted marginal damages reduce to ratios of discounted marginal contributions to radiative forcing, where the discount rate is the difference between the discount rate relevant to climate-related damages and the rate of growth of marginal climate-related damages over time. If there are important gas-specific costs or benefits not tied to radiative forcing, however, such as direct effects of carbon dioxide on plant growth, there is in general no shortcut around explicit comparison of discounted net marginal damages.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by International Association for Energy Economics in its journal The Energy Journal.

Volume (Year): Volume 14 (1993)
Issue (Month): Number 1 ()
Pages: 245-256

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Handle: RePEc:aen:journl:1993v14-01-a10

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Cited by:
  1. Chomitz, Kenneth M., 2000. "Evaluating carbon offsets from forestry and energy projects," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2357, The World Bank.
  2. Christian Azar & Daniel Johansson, 2012. "Valuing the non-CO 2 climate impacts of aviation," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 111(3), pages 559-579, April.
  3. Toman, Michael & Kolstad, Charles, 2000. "The Economics of Climate Policy," Discussion Papers dp-00-40, Resources For the Future.
  4. Stéphane De Cara & Elodie Debove & Pierre-Alain Jayet, 2006. "The Global Warming Potential Paradox: Implications for the Design of Climate Policy," Working Papers 2006/03, INRA, Economie Publique.
  5. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Pizer, William A., 2006. "The Economics of Climate Change," Discussion Papers dp-06-06, Resources For the Future.
  6. Linda Sygna & Jan Fuglestvedt & H. Aaheim, 2002. "The adequacy of GWPs as indicators of damage costsincurred by global warming," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 45-62, March.
  7. Johansson, Daniel J.A., 2009. "Economics vs. Physical-based Metrics for Relative Greenhouse Gas Valuations," Working Papers in Economics 363, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  8. Daniel Johansson, 2012. "Economics- and physical-based metrics for comparing greenhouse gases," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 110(1), pages 123-141, January.
  9. Kandlikar, Milind, 1996. "Indices for comparing greenhouse gas emissions: integrating science and economics," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 265-281, October.
  10. Richard S. J. Tol & Seán Lyons, 2008. "Incorporating GHG Emission Costs in the Economic Appraisal of Projects Supported by State Development Agencies," Papers WP247, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  11. Toman, Michael & Shogren, Jason, 2000. "Climate Change Policy," Discussion Papers dp-00-22, Resources For the Future.
  12. Kandlikar, Milind, 1995. "The relative role of trace gas emissions in greenhouse abatement policies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(10), pages 879-883, October.
  13. Tol, Richard S. J. & Berntsen, Terje K. & O'Neill, Brian C. & Fuglestvedt, Jan S. & Shine, Keith P. & Balkanski, Yves & Makra, Laszlo, 2008. "Metrics for Aggregating the Climate Effect of Different Emissions: A Unifying Framework," Papers WP257, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

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