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Weight Factors in Cost-Benefit Analysis of Climate Change

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  • Christian Azar

Abstract

Equity considerations may justify the use of weight factors when estimating the costs of climate change. This paper reviews different weight factors that have been used in the climate economics literature. Based on a simple model, it is shown that although the different weight factors imply substantially different cost-damage estimates, they actually yield the same optimal emission reductions. This paradox is explained by the fact that some of the approaches require that also the abatement costs are weighted – and this offsets the effect of the diverging cost-damage estimates. The model is then used to analyse the importance weighting may have on the overall cost-benefit analysis. At present, when most of the global emissions of (fossil) CO2 originate from the industrialised countries, the global optimal emissions are considerably lower if costs are weighted. However, the more the emissions in developing countries grow, the less important becomes the introduction of weight factors in cost-benefit analysis of climate change for the global emission reductions, in the model developed here. On a regional level, the introduction of weight factors continues to play an important role, implying substantially lower emissions in the rich region and slightly higher (!) in the poor. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

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  • Christian Azar, 1999. "Weight Factors in Cost-Benefit Analysis of Climate Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 13(3), pages 249-268, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:13:y:1999:i:3:p:249-268
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1008229225527
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    5. Tol, Richard S. J., 2005. "The marginal damage costs of carbon dioxide emissions: an assessment of the uncertainties," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(16), pages 2064-2074, November.
    6. David Anthoff & Robert J. Nicholls & Richard S.J. Tol, 2007. "Sea Level Rise And Equity Weighting," Working Papers FNU-136, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised May 2007.
    7. David Anthoff & Richard S. J. Tol, 2008. "On International Equity Weights and National Decision Making on Climate Change," CESifo Working Paper Series 2373, CESifo.
    8. Kverndokk, Snorre & Rose, Adam, 2008. "Equity and Justice in Global Warming Policy," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 2(2), pages 135-176, October.
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    11. Richard S.J. Tol & Samuel Fankhauser & Richard G. Richels & Joel B. Smith, 2000. "How Much Damage Will Climate Change Do? Recent Estimates," Working Papers FNU-2, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Sep 2000.
    12. Jean Charles Hourcade & Franck Lecocq, 2003. "Equitable Provision of Long-Term Public GoodsThe role of Negotiation Mandates," CIRED Working Papers halshs-00000968, HAL.
    13. Anthoff, David & Tol, Richard S.J., 2010. "On international equity weights and national decision making on climate change," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 14-20, July.
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    18. Yamaguchi, Rintaro, 2012. "Discounting, Distribution and Disaggregation," MPRA Paper 46322, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Richard S.J. Tol & Thomas E. Downing & Samuel Fankhauser & Richard G. Richels & Joel B. Smith, 2001. "Progress In Estimating The Marginal Costs Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions," Working Papers FNU-4, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Jan 2001.
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