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Uncertain R&D, backstop technology and GHGs stabilization

  • Bosetti, Valentina
  • Tavoni, Massimo

This paper analyses optimal investments in innovation when dealing with a stringent climate target and with the uncertain effectiveness of R&D. The innovation needed to achieve the deep cut in emissions is modeled by a backstop carbon-free technology whose cost depends on R&D investments. To better represent the process of technological progress, we assume that R&D effectiveness is uncertain. By means of a simple analytical model, we show how accounting for the uncertainty that characterizes technological advancement yields higher investments in innovation and lower policy costs. We then confirm the results via a numerical analysis performed with a stochastic version of WITCH, an energy-economy-climate model. The results stress the importance of a correct specification of the technological change process in economy-climate models.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Economics.

Volume (Year): 31 (2009)
Issue (Month): Supplement 1 ()
Pages: S18-S26

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:31:y:2009:i:supplement1:p:s18-s26
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eneco

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  1. Baker, Erin & Adu-Bonnah, Kwame, 2008. "Investment in risky R&D programs in the face of climate uncertainty," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 465-486, March.
  2. Michael Grubb, Carlo Carraro and John Schellnhuber, 2006. "Technological Change for Atmospheric Stabilization: Introductory Overview to the Innovation Modeling Comparison Project," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Special I), pages 1-16.
  3. Valentina Bosetti & Carlo Carraro & Marzio Galeotti & Emanuele Massetti & Massimo Tavoni, 2006. "WITCH. A World Induced Technical Change Hybrid Model," Working Papers 2006_46, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
  4. Popp, David, 2004. "ENTICE: endogenous technological change in the DICE model of global warming," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 742-768, July.
  5. Baker, Erin & Clarke, Leon & Shittu, Ekundayo, 2008. "Technical change and the marginal cost of abatement," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 2799-2816, November.
  6. Buonanno, Paolo & Carraro, Carlo & Galeotti, Marzio, 2003. "Endogenous induced technical change and the costs of Kyoto," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 11-34, February.
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