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Progress In Estimating The Marginal Costs Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Author

Listed:
  • Richard S.J. Tol

    () (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin)

  • Thomas E. Downing
  • Samuel Fankhauser
  • Richard G. Richels
  • Joel B. Smith

Abstract

The unjust distributional consequences of climate change, and its potentially negative aggregate effect on economic growth and welfare are two reasons to be concerned about climate change. Our knowledge of the impact of climate change is incomplete. Monetary valuation is difficult and controversial. The effect of other developments on the impacts of climate change is largely speculative. Nonetheless, it can be shown that poorer countries and people are more vulnerable than are richer countries and people. A modest global warming is likely to have a net negative effect on poor economics in hot climates, but may have a positive effect on rich economies in temperate climates. If one counts dollars, the world aggregate impact may be positive. If one counts people, the world aggregate effect is probably negative. For more substantial warming, negative effects become more negative, and positive effects turn negative. The marginal costs of carbon dioxide emissions are uncertain and sensitive to assumptions that partially reflect ethical and methodological positions, but are unlikely to exceed $50 per tonne of carbon. The marginal costs of methane emission are likely to be less than $250/tCH4; the marginal costs of nitrous oxide emissions are probably lower than $7000/tN2O. Global warming potentials, the official manner to trade-off the various greenhouse gases, do not reflect, conceptually or numerically, the real tradeoffs in either a cost-benefit or a cost-effectiveness framework.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard S.J. Tol & Thomas E. Downing & Samuel Fankhauser & Richard G. Richels & Joel B. Smith, 2001. "Progress In Estimating The Marginal Costs Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions," Working Papers FNU-4, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Jan 2001.
  • Handle: RePEc:sgc:wpaper:4
    as

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    File URL: http://www.fnu.zmaw.de/fileadmin/fnu-files/publication/working-papers/jatmpol2.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2001
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    2. Azar, Christian & Sterner, Thomas, 1996. "Discounting and distributional considerations in the context of global warming," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 169-184, November.
    3. Samuel Fankhauser & Richard Tol & DAVID Pearce, 1997. "The Aggregation of Climate Change Damages: a Welfare Theoretic Approach," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 10(3), pages 249-266, October.
    4. Gjerde, Jon & Grepperud, Sverre & Kverndokk, Snorre, 1999. "Optimal climate policy under the possibility of a catastrophe," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3-4), pages 289-317, August.
    5. Plambeck, Erica L & Hope, Chris, 1996. "PAGE95 : An updated valuation of the impacts of global warming," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(9), pages 783-793, September.
    6. Dinar, A. & Mendelsohn, R. & Evenson, R. & Parikh, J. & Sanghi, A. & Kumar, K. & McKinsey, J. & Lonergen, S., 1998. "Measuring the Impact of CLimate Change on Indian Agriculture," Papers 402, World Bank - Technical Papers.
    7. Robert Mendelsohn & William D. Nordhaus & Shaw, Daigee, 1992. "The Impact of Climate on Agriculture: A Ricardian Approach," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1010, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    8. Richard Tol, 1999. "Spatial and Temporal Efficiency in Climate Policy: Applications of FUND," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 14(1), pages 33-49, July.
    9. Stephen C Peck & Thomas J. Teisberg, 1992. "CETA: A Model for Carbon Emissions Trajectory Assessment," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 55-78.
    10. Fankhauser, Samuel & Tol, Richard S.J. & Pearce, David W., 1998. "Extensions and alternatives to climate change impact valuation: on the critique of IPCC Working Group III's impact estimates," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(01), pages 59-81, February.
    11. Christian Azar, 1999. "Weight Factors in Cost-Benefit Analysis of Climate Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 13(3), pages 249-268, April.
    12. Jinxia Wang & Robert Mendelsohn & Ariel Dinar & Jikun Huang & Scott Rozelle & Lijuan Zhang, 2009. "The impact of climate change on China's agriculture," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 40(3), pages 323-337, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vaal, Albert de & Yetkiner, I. Hakan & Zon, Adriaan van, 2002. "The cyclical advancement of drastic technologies," CCSO Working Papers 200217, University of Groningen, CCSO Centre for Economic Research.
    2. Richard S.J. Tol, 2003. "The Marginal Costs Of Carbon Dioxide Emissions: An Assessment Of The Uncertainties," Working Papers FNU-19, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Apr 2003.
    3. Linda Sygna & Jan Fuglestvedt & H. Aaheim, 2002. "The adequacy of GWPs as indicators of damage costsincurred by global warming," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 45-62, March.
    4. P. Michael Link, 2003. "Auswirkungen populationsdynamischer Veränderungen in Fischbeständen auf die Fischereiwirtschaft in der Barentssee," Working Papers FNU-29, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised May 2003.
    5. I. Hakan Yetkiner, 2003. "Is There An Indispensable Role For Government During Recovery From An Earthquake? A Theoretical Elaboration," Working Papers FNU-25, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Apr 2003.
    6. Roberto Roson & Richard s.J. Tol, 2003. "An Integrated Assessment Model Of Economy-Energy-Climate – The Model Wiagem: A Comment," Working Papers FNU-26, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised May 2003.
    7. Atkinson, Giles & Gundimeda, Haripriya, 2006. "Accounting for India's forest wealth," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(4), pages 462-476, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Impacts of climate change; economic valuation; equity; marginal costs;

    JEL classification:

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

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