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Uncertainty in Integrated Assessment Models of Climate Change: Alternative Analytical Approaches


  • Alexander Golub

    (Environmental Defense Fund)

  • Daiju Narita

    (Kiel Institute for the World Economy)


Uncertainty plays a key role in the economics of climate change, and the discussions surrounding its implications for climate policy are far from settled. We give an overview of the literature on uncertainty in integrated assessment models of climate change and identify some future research needs. In the paper, we pay particular attention to three different and complementary approaches that model uncertainty in association with integrated assessment models: the discrete uncertainty modeling, the most common way to incorporate uncertainty in complex climate-economy models: the real options analysis, a simplified way to identify and value flexibility: the continuous-time stochastic dynamic programming, which is computationally most challenging but necessary if persistent stochasticity is considered.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Golub & Daiju Narita, 2011. "Uncertainty in Integrated Assessment Models of Climate Change: Alternative Analytical Approaches," Working Papers 2011.02, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2011.02

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    Cited by:

    1. Yu-Fu Chen & Michael Funke & Nicole Glanemann, 2011. "Time is Running Out: The 2°C Target and Optimal Climate Policies," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 262, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
    2. repec:spr:jenvss:v:7:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s13412-017-0436-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Daiju Narita & Martin F. Quaas, 2014. "Adaptation To Climate Change And Climate Variability: Do It Now Or Wait And See?," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 5(04), pages 1-28.
    4. Gren, Ing-Marie & Carlsson, Mattias & Elofsson, Katarina & Munnich, Miriam, 2012. "Stochastic carbon sinks for combating carbon dioxide emissions in the EU," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1523-1531.
    5. Chen, Yu-Fu & Funke, Michael & Glanemann, Nicole, 2011. "Dark Clouds or Silver Linings? Knightian Uncertainty and Climate Change," SIRE Discussion Papers 2011-64, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    6. Halkos, George, 2014. "The Economics of Climate Change Policy: Critical review and future policy directions," MPRA Paper 56841, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Uncertainty; Learning; Economics of Climate Change; Integrated Assessment Models; Real Options;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis

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