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Cumulative carbon emissions and economic policy: in search of general principles

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  • Dietz, Simon
  • Venmans, Frank

Abstract

We exploit recent advances in climate science to develop a physically consistent, yet surprisingly simple, model of climate policy. It seems that key economic models have greatly overestimated the delay between carbon emissions and warming, and ignored the saturation of carbon sinks that takes place when the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide rises. This has important implications for climate policy. If carbon emissions are abated, damages are avoided almost immediately. Therefore it is optimal to reduce emissions significantly in the near term and bring about a slow transition to optimal peak warming, even if optimal steady-state/peak warming is high. The optimal carbon price should start relatively high and grow relatively fast.

Suggested Citation

  • Dietz, Simon & Venmans, Frank, 2019. "Cumulative carbon emissions and economic policy: in search of general principles," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 100733, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:100733
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Frederick Ploeg & Armon Rezai, 2019. "Simple Rules for Climate Policy and Integrated Assessment," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 72(1), pages 77-108, January.
    2. Frederick Ploeg & Armon Rezai, 2019. "Simple Rules for Climate Policy and Integrated Assessment," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 72(1), pages 77-108, January.
    3. Frederick Ploeg, 2018. "The safe carbon budget," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 147(1), pages 47-59, March.
    4. Malik Curuk & Suphi Sen, 2018. "Climate Policy and Resource Extraction with Variable Markups and Imperfect Substitute," ifo Working Paper Series 278, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    5. Reyer Gerlagh & Roweno J.R.K. Wan, 2018. "Optimal Stabilization in an Emission Permits Market," CESifo Working Paper Series 6950, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Larry S. Karp & Christian P. Traeger, 2018. "Prices versus Quantities Reassessed," CESifo Working Paper Series 7331, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Rick van der Ploeg & Armon Rezai, 2019. "The Risk of Policy Tipping and Stranded Carbon Assets," CESifo Working Paper Series 7769, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Reyer Gerlagh & Veronica Lupi & Marzio Galeotti, 2018. "Family Planning and Climate Change," CESifo Working Paper Series 7421, CESifo Group Munich.

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    JEL classification:

    • N0 - Economic History - - General

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