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Regional Climate Policy under Deep Uncertainty: Robust Control, Hot Spots and Learning

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  • William Brock
  • Anastasios Xepapadeas

Abstract

We study climate change policies using the novel pattern scaling approach of regional transient climate response, to develop a regional economy-climate model under conditions of deep uncertainty associated with: (i) temperature dynamics, (ii) regional climate change damages, and (iii) policy in the form of carbon taxes. We analyze cooperative and noncooperative outcomes. Under deep uncertainty, robust control policies are more conservative regarding emissions, the higher the aversion to ambiguity is, while damage uncertainty seems to produce more conservative behavior than climate dynamics uncertainty. As concerns about uncertainty increase, cooperative and noncooperative policies tend to move close together. Asymmetries in concerns about uncertainty tend to produce large deviations in regional emissions policy at the noncooperative solution. We calculate the cost of robustness in terms of welfare. If aversion to ambiguity is suciently high, optimal regulation might not be possible. The result is associated with the existence of regional hot spots and temperature spillovers across regions, a situation which emerges in the real world. In such cases, deep uncertainty about the impacts of climate change makes robust regulation infeasible. We show that, if resources are devoted to learning, which reduces uncertainty concerns, robust regulation is facilitated.

Suggested Citation

  • William Brock & Anastasios Xepapadeas, 2019. "Regional Climate Policy under Deep Uncertainty: Robust Control, Hot Spots and Learning," DEOS Working Papers 1903, Athens University of Economics and Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:aue:wpaper:1903
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    File URL: http://wpa.deos.aueb.gr/docs/Regional.Climate.Policy.under.Deep.Uncertainty.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kenneth Gillingham & William D. Nordhaus & David Anthoff & Geoffrey Blanford & Valentina Bosetti & Peter Christensen & Haewon McJeon & John Reilly & Paul Sztorc, 2015. "Modeling Uncertainty in Climate Change: A Multi-Model Comparison," NBER Working Papers 21637, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Heutel, Garth & Moreno-Cruz, Juan & Shayegh, Soheil, 2016. "Climate tipping points and solar geoengineering," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PB), pages 19-45.
    3. David Anthoff & Richard Tol, 2013. "The uncertainty about the social cost of carbon: A decomposition analysis using fund," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 117(3), pages 515-530, April.
    4. David Anthoff & Richard Tol, 2013. "Erratum to: The uncertainty about the social cost of carbon: A decomposition analysis using fund," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 121(2), pages 413-413, November.
    5. Brock, William A. & Engström, Gustav & Grass, Dieter & Xepapadeas, Anastasios, 2013. "Energy balance climate models and general equilibrium optimal mitigation policies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 2371-2396.
    6. Athanassoglou, Stergios & Xepapadeas, Anastasios, 2012. "Pollution control with uncertain stock dynamics: When, and how, to be precautious," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 304-320.
    7. William Nordhaus, 2014. "Estimates of the Social Cost of Carbon: Concepts and Results from the DICE-2013R Model and Alternative Approaches," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 000.
    8. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 2001. "Acknowledging Misspecification in Macroeconomic Theory," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(3), pages 519-535, July.
    9. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:10:p:2947-57 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Regional temperature anomalies; Deep uncertainty; Cooperative solution solutions; Robust Open Loop Nash Equilibrium; Cost of Robustness; Learning;

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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