The Curious Role of "Learning" in Climate Policy: Should We Wait for More Data?
AbstractGiven the large uncertainties regarding potential damages from climate change and the significant but also uncertain costs of reducing greenhouse emissions, the debate over a policy response is often framed as a choice of acting now or waiting until the uncertainty is reduced. Implicit in the "wait to learn" argument is the notion that the ability to learn in the future necessarily implies that less restrictive policies should be chosen in the near term. I demonstrate in the general case that the ability to learn in the future can lead to either less restrictive or more restrictive policies today. I also show that the initial decision made under uncertainty will be affected by future learning only if the actions taken today change the marginal costs or marginal damages in the future. Results from an intermediate-scale integrated model of climate and economics indicate that the choice of current emissions restrictions is independent of whether or not uncertainty is resolved before future decisions, because, like most models, the cross-period interactions are minimal. With stronger interactions, the effect of learning on initial period decisions can be more important.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by International Association for Energy Economics in its journal The Energy Journal.
Volume (Year): Volume23 (2002)
Issue (Month): Number 2 ()
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- F0 - International Economics - - General
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- Mort Webster & Nidhi Santen & Panos Parpas, 2012. "An approximate dynamic programming framework for modeling global climate policy under decision-dependent uncertainty," Computational Management Science, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 339-362, August.
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Quantitative Macroeconomics Working Papers
21108, Hamburg University, Department of Economics.
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- Michael Funke & Michael Paetz, 2007. "Environmental Policy Under Model Uncertainty: A Robust Optimal Control Approach," Quantitative Macroeconomics Working Papers 20703, Hamburg University, Department of Economics.
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- Peterson, Sonja, 2006. "Uncertainty and economic analysis of climate change : a survey of approaches and findings," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 3778, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
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