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


  • Valentina Bosetti

    (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei)

  • Carlo Carraro

    (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, University of Venice, CEPR, CESifo and CMCC)

  • Emanuele Massetti

    (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, Catholic University of Milan and CMCC)

  • Massimo Tavoni

    (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, Catholic University of Milan and CMCC)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Valentina Bosetti & Carlo Carraro & Emanuele Massetti & Massimo Tavoni, 2007. "Optimal Energy Investment and R&D Strategies to Stabilise Greenhouse Gas Atmospheric Concentrations," Working Papers 2007.95, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2007.95

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. 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".
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Coe, David T. & Helpman, Elhanan, 1995. "International R&D spillovers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 859-887, May.
    6. Bosetti, Valentina & Tavoni, Massimo, 2009. "Uncertain R&D, backstop technology and GHGs stabilization," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(Supplemen), pages 18-26.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Valentina Bosetti & Emanuele Massetti & Massimo Tavoni, 2007. "The WITCH Model. Structure, Baseline, Solutions," Working Papers 2007.10, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bosetti, Valentina & Catenacci, Michela & Fiorese, Giulia & Verdolini, Elena, 2012. "The future prospect of PV and CSP solar technologies: An expert elicitation survey," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 308-317.
    2. Carlo Carraro & Enrica De Cian & Lea Nicita, 2009. "Modeling Biased Technical Change. Implications For Climate Policy," Working Papers 2009_27, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    3. Valentina Bosetti & Carlo Carraro & Alessandra Sgobbi & Massimo Tavoni, 2008. "Modelling Economic Impacts of Alternative International Climate Policy Architectures. A Quantitative and Comparative Assessment of Architectures for Agreement," Working Papers 2008.85, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    4. Massetti, Emanuele & Ricci, Elena Claire, 2013. "An assessment of the optimal timing and size of investments in concentrated solar power," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 186-203.
    5. Massimo Tavoni & Valentina Bosetti & Carlo Carraro, 2009. "Climate Change Mitigation Strategies in Fast-Growing Countries: The Benefits of Early Action," Working Papers 2009.53, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    6. Carlo Carraro, 2009. "The Road to Copenhagen: What Agreement Can Actually Be Effective and Stable? by Carlo Carraro," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 10(3), pages 30-36, October.
    7. Bosetti, Valentina & Carraro, Carlo & Massetti, Emanuele, 2009. "Banking permits: Economic efficiency and distributional effects," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 382-403, May.
    8. Valentina Bosetti & Carlo Carraro & Enrica De Cian & Romain Duval & Emanuele Massetti & Massimo Tavoni, 2009. "The Incentives to Participate in, and the Stability of, International Climate Coalitions: A Game-theoretic Analysis Using the Witch Model," Working Papers 2009.64, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    9. Le Pen, Yannick & Sévi, Benoît, 2010. "What trends in energy efficiencies? Evidence from a robust test," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 702-708, May.
    10. Massimo Tavoni & Bob van der Zwaan, 2009. "Nuclear versus Coal plus CCS: A Comparison of Two Competitive Base-load Climate Control Options," Working Papers 2009.100, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    11. Alice Favero & Enrica De Cian, 2010. "Fairness, Credibility and Effectiveness in the Copenhagen Accord: An Economic Assessment," Working Papers 2010.21, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    12. Emanuele Massetti & Andrea Bastianin & Alice Favero, 2010. "Investments and Financial Flows Induced by Climate Mitigation Policies," Working Papers 2010.13, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    13. Popp, David & Hascic, Ivan & Medhi, Neelakshi, 2011. "Technology and the diffusion of renewable energy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 648-662, July.
    14. Emanuele Massetti & Elena Claire Ricci, 2011. "Super-Grids and Concentrated Solar Power: A Scenario Analysis with the WITCH Model," Working Papers 2011.47, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    15. Dominique Bureau, 2009. "Économie d’un accord global sur le climat : une introduction," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 190(4), pages 1-19.

    More about this item


    Climate Policy; Energy R&D; Investments; Stabilisation Costs;

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents

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