IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fem/femwpa/2007.39.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

How Overconfident are Current Projections of Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Emissions?

Author

Listed:
  • Klaus Keller

    (Penn State University Park)

  • Louise I. Miltich

    (Penn State University Park)

  • Alexander Robinson

    (Penn State University Park)

  • Richard S.J. Tol

    (Economic and Social Research Institute)

Abstract

Analyzing the risks of anthropogenic climate change requires sound probabilistic projections of CO2 emissions. Previous projections have broken important new ground, but many rely on out-of-range projections, are limited to the 21st century, or provide only implicit probabilistic information. Here we take a step towards resolving these problems by assimilating globally aggregated observations of population size, economic output, and CO2 emissions over the last three centuries into a simple economic model. We use this model to derive probabilistic projections of business-as-usual CO2 emissions to the year 2150. We demonstrate how the common practice to limit the calibration timescale to decades can result in biased and overconfident projections. The range of several CO2 emission scenarios (e.g., from the Special Report on Emission Scenarios) misses potentially important tails of our projected probability density function. Studies that have interpreted the range of CO2 emission scenarios as an approximation for the full forcing uncertainty may well be biased towards overconfident climate change projections.

Suggested Citation

  • Klaus Keller & Louise I. Miltich & Alexander Robinson & Richard S.J. Tol, 2007. "How Overconfident are Current Projections of Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Emissions?," Working Papers 2007.39, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2007.39
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.feem.it/userfiles/attach/Publication/NDL2007/NDL2007-039.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 2000. "Growth and Saving Among Individuals and Households," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 212-225, May.
    2. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Selden, Thomas M., 1995. "Stoking the fires? CO2 emissions and economic growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 85-101, May.
    3. Nadiri, M Ishaq & Prucha, Ingmar R, 1996. "Estimation of the Depreciation Rate of Physical and R&D Capital in the U.S. Total Manufacturing Sector," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(1), pages 43-56, January.
    4. Piyabha Kongsamut & Sergio Rebelo & Danyang Xie, 2001. "Beyond Balanced Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(4), pages 869-882.
    5. Pizer, William A., 1999. "The optimal choice of climate change policy in the presence of uncertainty," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3-4), pages 255-287, August.
    6. Steve Bankes, 1993. "Exploratory Modeling for Policy Analysis," Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 41(3), pages 435-449, June.
    7. William D. Nordhaus & David Popp, 1997. "What is the Value of Scientific Knowledge? An Application to Global Warming Using the PRICE Model," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 1-45.
    8. Heil, Mark T. & Selden, Thomas M., 2001. "Carbon emissions and economic development: future trajectories based on historical experience," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 63-83, February.
    9. Edmonds, Jae & Reilly, John, 1983. "A long-term global energy- economic model of carbon dioxide release from fossil fuel use," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 74-88, April.
    10. Tschang, F. Ted & Dowlatabadi, Hadi, 1995. "A Bayesian technique for refining the uncertainty in global energy model forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 43-61, March.
    11. Keller, Klaus & Bolker, Benjamin M. & Bradford, D.F.David F., 2004. "Uncertain climate thresholds and optimal economic growth," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 723-741, July.
    12. J. M. Reilly & J. A. Edmonds & R. H. Gardner & A. L. Brenkerf, 1987. "Uncertainty Analysis of the IEA/ORAU CO2 Emissions Model," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 1-29.
    13. repec:wly:riskan:v:15:y:1995:i:6:p:719-729 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Ausubel, Jesse H, 1995. "Technical progress and climatic change," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4-5), pages 411-416.
    15. Dowlatabadi, Hadi & Oravetz, Matthew A., 2006. "US long-term energy intensity: Backcast and projection," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(17), pages 3245-3256, November.
    16. Manne, Alan & Richels, Richard, 2004. "US rejection of the Kyoto Protocol: the impact on compliance costs and CO2 emissions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 447-454, March.
    17. Grubler, Arnulf & Nakicenovic, Nebojsa & Victor, David G., 1999. "Dynamics of energy technologies and global change," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 247-280, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Dritan Osmani, "undated". "A note on optimal transfer schemes, stable coalition for environmental protection and joint maximization assumption," Working Papers FNU-176, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Carbon Dioxide; Emissions; Scenarios; Data Assimilation; Markov Chain Monte Carlo;

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2007.39. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (barbara racah). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/feemmit.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.