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Time to act now? Assessing the costs of delaying climate measures and benefits of early action

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  • Michael Jakob

    ()

  • Gunnar Luderer
  • Jan Steckel
  • Massimo Tavoni
  • Stephanie Monjon

Abstract

This paper compares the results of the three state of the art climate-energy-economy models IMACLIM-R, ReMIND-R, and WITCH to assess the costs of climate change mitigation in scenarios in which the implementation of a global climate agreement is delayed or major emitters decide to participate in the agreement at a later stage only. We find that for stabilizing atmospheric GHG concentrations at 450 ppm CO 2-only, postponing a global agreement to 2020 raises global mitigation costs by at least about half and a delay to 2030 renders ambitious climate targets infeasible to achieve. In the standard policy scenario—in which allocation of emission permits is aimed at equal per-capita levels in the year 2050—regions with above average emissions (such as the EU and the US alongside the rest of Annex-I countries) incur lower mitigation costs by taking early action, even if mitigation efforts in the rest of the world experience a delay. However, regions with low per-capita emissions which are net exporters of emission permits (such as India) can possibly benefit from higher future carbon prices resulting from a delay. We illustrate the economic mechanism behind these observations and analyze how (1) lock-in of carbon intensive infrastructure, (2) differences in global carbon prices, and (3) changes in reduction commitments resulting from delayed action influence mitigation costs. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Climatic Change.

Volume (Year): 114 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 79-99

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Handle: RePEc:spr:climat:v:114:y:2012:i:1:p:79-99

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  1. Valentina Bosetti & Carlo Carraro & Alessandra Sgobbi & Massimo Tavoni, 2008. "Delayed Action and Uncertain Targets. How Much Will Climate Policy Cost?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2403, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Valentina Bosetti, Carlo Carraro, Marzio Galeotti, Emanuele Massetti, Massimo Tavoni, 2006. "A World induced Technical Change Hybrid Model," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Special I), pages 13-38.
  3. Olivier Sassi & Renaud Crassous & Jean-Charles Hourcade & Vincent Gitz & Henri Waisman & Celine Guivarch, 2010. "IMACLIM-R: a modelling framework to simulate sustainable development pathways," International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 10(1/2), pages 5-24.
  4. Nordhaus, William D & Yang, Zili, 1996. "A Regional Dynamic General-Equilibrium Model of Alternative Climate-Change Strategies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 741-65, September.
  5. Beccherle, Julien & Tirole, Jean, 2011. "Regional initiatives and the cost of delaying binding climate change agreements," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1339-1348.
  6. Bård Harstad, 2010. "The Dynamics of Climate Agreements," CESifo Working Paper Series 2962, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Ottmar Edenhofer & Carlo Carraro & Jean-Charles Hourcade, 2012. "On the economics of decarbonization in an imperfect world," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 114(1), pages 1-8, September.
  2. Geoffrey Blanford & Elmar Kriegler & Massimo Tavoni, 2014. "Harmonization vs. fragmentation: overview of climate policy scenarios in EMF27," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 123(3), pages 383-396, April.
  3. Steckel, Jan Christoph & Brecha, Robert J. & Jakob, Michael & Strefler, Jessica & Luderer, Gunnar, 2013. "Development without energy? Assessing future scenarios of energy consumption in developing countries," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 53-67.
  4. Gunnar Luderer & Valentina Bosetti & Michael Jakob & Marian Leimbach & Jan Steckel & Henri Waisman & Ottmar Edenhofer, 2012. "The economics of decarbonizing the energy system—results and insights from the RECIPE model intercomparison," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 114(1), pages 9-37, September.
  5. Henri Waisman & Céline Guivarch & Fabio Grazi & Jean Hourcade, 2012. "The I maclim-R model: infrastructures, technical inertia and the costs of low carbon futures under imperfect foresight," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 114(1), pages 101-120, September.
  6. Nico Bauer & Lavinia Baumstark & Marian Leimbach, 2012. "The REMIND-R model: the role of renewables in the low-carbon transformation—first-best vs. second-best worlds," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 114(1), pages 145-168, September.

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