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The IPCC Emission Scenarios: An Economic-Statistical Critique

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  • Ian Castles
  • David Henderson

Abstract

This set of papers chiefly presents a critique of the IPCC's Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES), which claims to “provide the basis for future assessments of climate change and possible response strategies†. The 40 scenarios are technically unsound in that, contrary to accepted international practice, they convert national GDP data to a common measure using market exchange rates. Because of this procedure and built-in assumptions about the extent to which the gap between rich and poor countries will be closed, the scenarios yield projections of GDP for developing regions which are improbably high: this includes the scenarios which give the lowest figures for projected cumulative emissions in the course of the century. Hence the SRES projections do not, as is claimed for them, encompass the full range of uncertainties about the future. Because of these and some other defects that we have noted, the SRES should not be taken as the accepted basis for the IPPC's coming Fourth Assessment Review. More broadly, the IPCC should try to ensure a more balanced, informed and professional treatment of the economic and statistical aspects of its work. In particular, there should be a greater involvement of economic ministries and statistical agencies.

Suggested Citation

  • Ian Castles & David Henderson, 2003. "The IPCC Emission Scenarios: An Economic-Statistical Critique," Energy & Environment, , vol. 14(2), pages 159-185, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:engenv:v:14:y:2003:i:2:p:159-185
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Boom, J.-T. & Svendsen, G.T., 1999. "International Emission Trading Systems: Trade Level and Political Acceptability," Papers 99-11, Aarhus School of Business - Department of Economics.
    2. von Hagen, Jurgen & Harden, Ian J., 1995. "Budget processes and commitment to fiscal discipline," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 771-779, April.
    3. Krueger, Anne O, 1997. "Trade Policy and Economic Development: How We Learn," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 1-22, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Warwick McKibbin & Adele Morris & Peter Wilcoxen, 2008. "Expecting The Unexpected: Macroeconomic Volatility And Climate Policy," CAMA Working Papers 2008-35, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    2. Höök, Mikael & Tang, Xu, 2013. "Depletion of fossil fuels and anthropogenic climate change—A review," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 797-809.
    3. Pant, Hom M. & Fisher, Brian S., 2007. "Alternative measures of output in global economic-environmental models: Purchasing power parity or market exchange rates? -- Comment," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 375-389, May.
    4. Warwick McKibbin & Peter Wilcoxen, 2008. "Building On Kyoto: Towards A Realistic Global Climate Agreement," CAMA Working Papers 2008-13, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    5. Lise, Wietze, 2006. "Decomposition of CO2 emissions over 1980-2003 in Turkey," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(14), pages 1841-1852, September.
    6. Calzadilla, Alvaro, 2010. "Global income distribution and poverty: Implications from the IPCC SRES scenarios," Kiel Working Papers 1664, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).

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