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Economics of climate change under uncertainty: Benefits of flexibility

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  • Anda, Jon
  • Golub, Alexander
  • Strukova, Elena

Abstract

The selection of climate policy has to be made in an extremely uncertain environment: both benefits and costs of a particular climate policy are unknown and in the best case could be described by the probability distribution of various outcomes. Dominated in literature, the expected value approach to the cost-benefit analysis of climate policy under uncertainties relies on the aggregated estimation of various outcomes of climate policy weighted and averaged by probabilities. The variance, skewness, and kurtosis are important characteristics of uncertainties but can be easily lost in the process of aggregation. The real option analysis (ROA) explicitly accounts for both the expected value of underling assets and the variance of the expected value (as well as skewness and kurtosis that are important to describe a fat tail phenomenon). In the paper, we propose an application of the real option analysis in order to formulate rules for the selection of a climate policy (emission target) and estimate the economic value of the future flexibility created by interim climate policy, which may be corrected in the future in response to new knowledge that hopefully reduces uncertainties. The initially selected interim policy has an option value and methodology for its valuation presented in the paper.

Suggested Citation

  • Anda, Jon & Golub, Alexander & Strukova, Elena, 2009. "Economics of climate change under uncertainty: Benefits of flexibility," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1345-1355, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:37:y:2009:i:4:p:1345-1355
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard S.J. Tol, 2000. "Is the Uncertainty about Climate Change Too Large for Expected Cost-Benefit Analysis?," Working Papers FNU-3, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Sep 2000.
    2. William D. Nordhaus, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 686-702, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marshall, Liz & Kelly, Alexia, 2010. "The Time Value of Carbon and Carbon Storage: Clarifying the terms and the policy implications of the debate," MPRA Paper 27326, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Alexander Golub & Oleg Lugovoy & Anil Markandya & Ramon Arigoni Ortiz & James Wang, 2013. "Regional IAM: analysis of risk-adjusted costs and benefits of climate policies," Working Papers 2013-06, BC3.
    3. Steve Newbold & Charles Griffiths & Christopher C. Moore & Ann Wolverton & Elizabeth Kopits, 2010. "The "Social Cost of Carbon" Made Simple," NCEE Working Paper Series 201007, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Aug 2010.
    4. repec:spr:jenvss:v:7:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s13412-017-0436-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Dobes Leo & Jotzo Frank & Stern David I., 2014. "The Economics of Global Climate Change: A Historical Literature Review," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 65(3), pages 281-320, December.
    6. Gren, Ing-Marie & Carlsson, Mattias & Elofsson, Katarina & Munnich, Miriam, 2012. "Stochastic carbon sinks for combating carbon dioxide emissions in the EU," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1523-1531.
    7. Leo Dobes, 2010. "Notes on Applying 'Real Options' to Climate Change Adaptation Measures, with Examples from Vietnam," CCEP Working Papers 0710, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    8. World Bank, 2011. "Climate Change and Fiscal Policy : A Report for APEC," World Bank Other Operational Studies 2734, The World Bank.
    9. Cheng, Ching-Tsung & Lo, Shang-Lien & Lin, Tyrone T., 2011. "Applying real options analysis to assess cleaner energy development strategies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 5929-5938, October.
    10. Valentina Bosetti & Ruben Lubowski (ed.), 2010. "Deforestation and Climate Change," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13733.
    11. Sylvie Geisendorf, 2016. "The impact of personal beliefs on climate change: the “battle of perspectives” revisited," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 551-580, July.
    12. Paul Watkiss & Alistair Hunt & William Blyth & Jillian Dyszynski, 2015. "The use of new economic decision support tools for adaptation assessment: A review of methods and applications, towards guidance on applicability," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 132(3), pages 401-416, October.
    13. repec:eee:ecolec:v:138:y:2017:i:c:p:90-98 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Lee, Shun-Chung & Shih, Li-Hsing, 2010. "Renewable energy policy evaluation using real option model -- The case of Taiwan," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(Supplemen), pages 67-78, September.

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