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Beyond the Stern Review: Lessons from a risky venture at the limits of the cost-benefit analysis

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  • Hourcade, Jean-Charles
  • Ambrosi, Philippe
  • Dumas, Patrice

Abstract

This paper argues that debates amongst economists triggered by the Stern Review are partly relevant, focusing on key parameters translating real ethical issues, and partly misplaced in that they do not consider enough other determinants of climate change damages: i) the specifications of the utility function used for the assessments (preference for the environment, preference for smooth growth paths), ii) the interplay between uncertainty and the sequentiality of the decision, and iii) whether the growth engines behind the integrated assessment models can account for transient disequilibrium and sub-optimality. We derive some suggestions for any future research agenda in integrated assessment modelling, whatever the position of the analysts about the relevance of the intertemporal optimisation framework and the Bayesian approach to uncertainty in the climate affair.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 68 (2009)
Issue (Month): 10 (August)
Pages: 2479-2484

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:10:p:2479-2484

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

Related research

Keywords: Discounting Damage assessment Environmental value Integrated assessment model Uncertainty Cost-benefit analysis Information value Decision-making Irreversibility Adaptation Social preference Non-market impacts Intergenerational equity Intragenerational equity;

References

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Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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  1. Jean Charles Hourcade & Franck Lecocq, 2003. "Equitable Provision of Long-Term Public GoodsThe role of Negotiation Mandates," Working Papers halshs-00000968, HAL.
  2. Jean Charles Hourcade & Franck Lecocq, 2003. "Equitable Provision of Long-Term Public GoodsThe role of Negotiation Mandates," CIRED Working Papers halshs-00000968, HAL.
  3. Sterner, Thomas & Persson, U. Martin, 2007. "An Even Sterner Review: Introducing Relative Prices into the Discounting Debate," Discussion Papers dp-07-37, Resources For the Future.
  4. Gerlagh, Reyer & van der Zwaan, Bob, 2003. "Gross world product and consumption in a global warming model with endogenous technological change," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 35-57, February.
  5. Tol, Richard S. J., 1994. "The damage costs of climate change: a note on tangibles and intangibles, applied to DICE," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 436-438, May.
  6. Hallegatte, Stephane & Hourcade, Jean-Charles & Dumas, Patrice, 2007. "Why economic dynamics matter in assessing climate change damages: Illustration on extreme events," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 330-340, April.
  7. Richard Tol, 2002. "Estimates of the Damage Costs of Climate Change, Part II. Dynamic Estimates," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 21(2), pages 135-160, February.
  8. Minh Ha-Duong & Nicolas Treich, 2004. "Risk aversion, intergenerational equity and climate change," Post-Print halshs-00000680, HAL.
  9. Hassett, Kevin A. & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 1993. "Energy conservation investment : Do consumers discount the future correctly?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 710-716, June.
  10. Jean-Charles Hourcade & Philippe Ambrosi & Stéphane Hallegatte & Franck Lecocq & Patrice Dumas & Minh Ha-Duong, 2003. "Optimal control models and elicitation of attitudes towards climate damages," Post-Print halshs-00000966, HAL.
  11. Minh Ha-Duong & Michael Grubb & Jean-Charles Hourcade, 1997. "Influence of socioeconomic inertia and uncertainty on optimal CO2-emission abatement," Post-Print halshs-00002452, HAL.
  12. Weitzman, Martin L., 1998. "Why the Far-Distant Future Should Be Discounted at Its Lowest Possible Rate," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 201-208, November.
  13. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Heal, Geoffrey & Beltratti, Andrea, 1995. "The Green Golden Rule," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 175-179, August.
  14. Heal, Geoffrey, 2005. "Intertemporal Welfare Economics and the Environment," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 21, pages 1105-1145 Elsevier.
  15. Richard S. J. Tol & Gary W. Yohe, 2006. "A Review of the Stern Review," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 7(4), pages 233-250, October.
  16. Hope, Chris, 2008. "Discount rates, equity weights and the social cost of carbon," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 1011-1019, May.
  17. Mandelbrot, Benoit B, 1971. "When Can Price Be Arbitraged Efficiently? A Limit to the Validity of the Random Walk and Martingale Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 53(3), pages 225-36, August.
  18. Kelly, David L. & Kolstad, Charles D. & Mitchell, Glenn T., 2005. "Adjustment costs from environmental change," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 468-495, November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Franck Lecocq & Jean-Charles Hourcade, 2012. "Unspoken ethical issues in the climate affair: Insights from a theoretical analysis of negotiation mandates," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 445-471, February.
  2. Anderson, Blake & M'Gonigle, Michael, 2012. "Does ecological economics have a future?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 37-48.

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