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Optimal Energy Investment and R&D Strategies to Stabilise Greenhouse Gas Atmospheric Concentrations

  • Bosetti, Valentina
  • Carraro, Carlo
  • Massetti, Emanuele
  • Tavoni, Massimo

The stabilisation of GHG atmospheric concentrations at levels expected to prevent dangerous climate change has become an important, global, long-term objective. It is therefore crucial to identify a cost-effective way to achieve this objective. In this paper we use WITCH, a hybrid climate-energy-economy model, to obtain a quantitative assessment of some cost-effective strategies that stabilise CO2 concentrations at 550 or 450 ppm. In particular, this paper analyses the energy investment and R&D policies that optimally achieve these two GHG stabilisation targets (i.e. the future optimal energy mix consistent with the stabilisation of GHG atmospheric concentrations at 550 and 450 ppm). Given that the model accounts for interdependencies and spillovers across 12 regions of the world, optimal strategies are the outcome of a dynamic game through which inefficiency costs induced by global strategic interactions can be assessed. Therefore, our results are somehow different from previous analyses of GHG stabilisation policies, where a central planner or a single global economy are usually assumed. In particular, the effects of free-riding incentives in reducing emissions and in investing in R&D are taken into account. Technical change being endogenous in WITCH, this paper also provides an assessment of the implications of technological evolution in the energy sector of different stabilisation scenarios. Finally, this paper quantifies the net costs of stabilising GHG concentrations at different levels, for different allocations of permits and for different technological scenarios. In each case, the optimal long-term investment strategies for all available energy technologies are determined. The case of an unknown backstop energy technology is also analysed.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6549.

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Date of creation: Nov 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6549
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  1. Valentina Bosetti, Carlo Carraro, Marzio Galeotti, Emanuele Massetti, Massimo Tavoni, 2006. "A World induced Technical Change Hybrid Model," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Special I), pages 13-38.
  2. Bosetti, Valentina & Carraro, Carlo & Massetti, Emanuele & Tavoni, Massimo, 2008. "International energy R&D spillovers and the economics of greenhouse gas atmospheric stabilization," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 2912-2929, November.
  3. Tavoni, Massimo & Sohngen, Brent & Bosetti, Valentina, 2007. "Forestry and the carbon market response to stabilize climate," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 5346-5353, November.
  4. Popp, David, 2004. "ENTICE: endogenous technological change in the DICE model of global warming," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 742-768, July.
  5. Valentina Bosetti & Carlo Carraro & Marzio Galeotti & Emanuele Massetti & Massimo Tavoni, 2006. "WITCH. A World Induced Technical Change Hybrid Model," Working Papers 2006_46, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
  6. Valentina Bosetti & Massimo Tavoni, 2007. "Uncertain R&D, Backstop Technology and GHGs Stabilization," Working Papers 2007.6, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  7. Coe, D.T. & Helpman, E., 1993. "International R&D Spillovers," Papers 5-93, Tel Aviv.
  8. Valentina Bosetti & Emanuele Massetti & Massimo Tavoni, 2007. "The WITCH Model. Structure, Baseline, Solutions," Working Papers 2007.10, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  9. Manne, Alan & Mendelsohn, Robert & Richels, Richard, 1995. "MERGE : A model for evaluating regional and global effects of GHG reduction policies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 17-34, January.
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