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Economic prospects of ocean iron fertilization in an international carbon market

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  • Rickels, Wilfried
  • Rehdanz, Katrin
  • Oschlies, Andreas

Abstract

Staying within the 2° C temperature increase target for climate change requires for ambitious emission reduction targets for the 2012–2020 compliance period. Cost-efficiency is a crucial criterion for the achievement of such targets, requiring analyses of all possible options. Enhancing the oceanic carbon sink via ocean iron fertilization (OIF) provides such an option. Our analysis reveals that the critical unit costs per net ton of CO2 sequestered by OIF range from 22 to 28 USD (price level 2000) in a post-Kyoto compliance scenario. The critical unit costs are defined as those that would make an emitter indifferent between various abatement options. With reference to hypothetical short-term large-scale Southern Ocean OIF we are able to show that seven years of OIF provide a number of credits exceeding those obtainable from global forestation projects lasting 20 years. From an economic perspective, our results indicate that OIF can be considered a potentially viable carbon-removal option. However, further research is needed, especially on adverse side-effects and their ecological and economical consequences.

Suggested Citation

  • Rickels, Wilfried & Rehdanz, Katrin & Oschlies, Andreas, 2012. "Economic prospects of ocean iron fertilization in an international carbon market," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 129-150.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:resene:v:34:y:2012:i:1:p:129-150
    DOI: 10.1016/j.reseneeco.2011.04.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Anger, Niels & Dixon, Alistair & Livengood, Erich, 2009. "Interactions of Reduced Deforestation and the Carbon Market: The Role of Market Regulations and Future Commitments," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-001, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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    4. Bertram, Christine, 2010. "Ocean iron fertilization in the context of the Kyoto protocol and the post-Kyoto process," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 1130-1139, February.
    5. van Kooten, G. Cornelis & Sohngen, Brent, 2007. "Economics of Forest Ecosystem Carbon Sinks: A Review," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 1(3), pages 237-269, September.
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    7. Rickels, Wilfried & Rehdanz, Katrin & Oschlies, Andreas, 2009. "Accounting aspects of ocean iron fertilization," Kiel Working Papers 1572, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    8. Kousky, Carolyn & Rostapshova, Olga & Toman, Michael & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2009. "Responding to Threats of Climate Change Mega-Catastrophes," Discussion Papers dp-09-45, Resources For the Future.
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    Cited by:

    1. Güssow, Kerstin & Proelss, Alexander & Oschlies, Andreas & Rehdanz, Katrin & Rickels, Wilfried, 2010. "Ocean iron fertilization: Why further research is needed," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 911-918, September.
    2. Boysen-Hogrefe, Jens & Dovern, Jonas & Groll, Dominik & van Roye, Björn & Scheide, Joachim, 2010. "Droht in Deutschland eine Kreditklemme?," Kiel Discussion Papers 472/473, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    3. Heitmann, Nadine & Peterson, Sonja, 2012. "The potential contribution of the shipping sector to an efficient reduction of global carbon dioxide emissions," Kiel Working Papers 1813, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Climate change; Climate engineering; Ocean iron fertilization; CO2 market; Emission trading;

    JEL classification:

    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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