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Marginal Abatement Cost Curves and Quality of Emission Reductions: A Case Study on Brazil

  • Adrien Vogt-Schilb

    ()

    (CIRED - Centre International de Recherche sur l'Environnement et le Développement - CNRS - CIRAD - Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - AgroParisTech, World Bank - World Bank)

  • Stéphane Hallegatte

    ()

    (World Bank - World Bank)

  • Christophe De Gouvello

    ()

    (World Bank - World Bank)

Decision makers facing emission-reduction targets need to decide which abatement measures to implement, and in which order. This paper investigates how marginal abatement cost (MAC) curves can inform such a decision. We re-analyse a MAC curve built for Brazil by 2030, and show that misinterpreting MAC curves as abatement supply curves can lead to suboptimal strategies. It would lead to (i) under-investment in expensive, long-to-implement and large-potential options, such as clean transportation infrastructure, and (ii) over-investment in cheap but limited-potential options such as energy-efficiency improvement in refineries. To mitigate this issue, the paper proposes a new graphical representation of MAC curves that explicitly renders the time required to implement each measure. In addition to the cost and potential of available options, designing optimal short-term policies requires information on long-term targets (e.g., halving emissions by 2050) and on the speed at which measures can deliver emission reductions. Mitigation policies are thus best investigated in a dynamic framework, building on sector-scale pathways to long-term targets. Climate policies should seek both quantity and quality of abatement, by combining two approaches. A "synergy approach" that focuses on the cheapest mitigation options and maximizes co-benefits. And an "urgency approach" that starts from a long-term objective and works backward to identify actions that need to be implemented early. Accordingly, sector-specific policies may be used (i) to remove implementation barriers on negative- and low-cost options and (ii) to ensure short-term targets are met with abatement of sufficient quality, i.e. with sufficient investment in the long-to-implement options required to reach long-term targets.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00966821
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-enpc.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00966821v3
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  1. Franck Lecocq & Jean Charles Hourcade & Minh Ha-Duong, 1998. "Decision making under uncertainty and inertia constraints: sectoral implications of the when flexibility," Post-Print halshs-00002458, HAL.
  2. 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.
  3. Adrien Vogt-Schilb & Stéphane Hallegatte, 2014. "Marginal abatement cost curves and the optimal timing of mitigation measures," Post-Print hal-00916328, HAL.
  4. Grubler, Arnulf & Messner, Sabine, 1998. "Technological change and the timing of mitigation measures," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(5-6), pages 495-512, December.
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  6. Adrien Vogt-Schilb & Guy Meunier & Stéphane Hallegatte, 2012. "How inertia and limited potentials affect the timing of sectoral abatements in optimal climate policy," Post-Print hal-00722574, HAL.
  7. Sanden, Bjorn A. & Azar, Christian, 2005. "Near-term technology policies for long-term climate targets--economy wide versus technology specific approaches," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(12), pages 1557-1576, August.
  8. Urvashi Narain & Klaas Veld, 2008. "The Clean Development Mechanism’s Low-hanging Fruit Problem: When Might it Arise, and How Might it be Solved?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 40(3), pages 445-465, July.
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  10. 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.
  11. Minh Ha-Duong & Michael Grubb & Jean Charles Hourcade, 1997. "Influence of socioeconomic inertia and uncertainty on optimal CO2-emission abatement," Post-Print halshs-00002452, HAL.
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