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Ocean Carbon Sinks And International Climate Policy

  • Katrin Rehdanz
  • Richard S.J. Tol


    (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin)

  • Patrick Wetzel

Terrestrial sinks have entered the Kyoto Protocol as offsets for carbon sequestration, but ocean sinks have escaped attention. Ocean sinks are as unexplored and uncertain as were the terrestrial sinks at the time of negotiation. It is not unlikely that certain countries will advocate the inclusion of ocean carbon sinks to reduce their emission reduction obligations. We use a simple model of the international market for carbon dioxide emissions to evaluate who would gain or loose from allowing for ocean carbon sinks. Our analysis is restricted to information on anthropogenic carbon sequestration within the exclusive economic zone of a country. Like the carbon sequestration of business as usual forest management activities, natural ocean carbon sequestration applies at zero costs. The total amount of anthropogenic ocean carbon sequestration is large, also in the exclusive economic zones. As a consequence, it substantially alters the costs of emission reduction for most countries. Countries such as Australia, Denmark, France, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway and Portugal would gain substantially, and a large number of countries would benefit too. Current net exporters of carbon permits, particularly Russia, would gain less and oppose the inclusion of carbon sinks.

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Paper provided by Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University in its series Working Papers with number FNU-60.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2005
Date of revision: Feb 2005
Publication status: Published, Energy Policy, 34, 3516-3526
Handle: RePEc:sgc:wpaper:60
Contact details of provider: Postal: Bundesstrasse 55, 20146 Hamburg
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  1. Pedro Moura Costa & Charlie Wilson, 2000. "An equivalence factor between CO2 avoidedemissions and sequestration – description andapplications in forestry," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 51-60, March.
  2. Riahi, Keywan & Rubin, Edward S. & Taylor, Margaret R. & Schrattenholzer, Leo & Hounshell, David, 2004. "Technological learning for carbon capture and sequestration technologies," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 539-564, July.
  3. Michaelowa, Axel & Jotzo, Frank, 2005. "Transaction costs, institutional rigidities and the size of the clean development mechanism," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 511-523, March.
  4. Thomas Heinzow & Richard S.J. Tol, 2003. "Prediction Of Crop Yields Across Four Climate Zones In Germany: An Artificial Neural Network Approach," Working Papers FNU-34, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Sep 2003.
  5. Minh Ha-Duong & David Keith, 2003. "Carbon storage: the economic efficiency of storing CO2 in leaky reservoirs," Post-Print halshs-00003927, HAL.
  6. Holloway, S., 2005. "Underground sequestration of carbon dioxide—a viable greenhouse gas mitigation option," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 2318-2333.
  7. Katrin Rehdanz & Richard S.J. Tol, 2004. "On Multi-Period Allocation Of Tradable Emission Permits," Working Papers FNU-43, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Apr 2004.
  8. Philip Fearnside & Daniel Lashof & Pedro Moura-Costa, 2000. "Accounting for time in Mitigating Global Warming through land-use change and forestry," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 239-270, September.
  9. Bob van der Zwaan & Koen Smekens, 2004. "Environmental Externalities of Geological Carbon Sequestration Effects on Energy Scenarios," Working Papers 2004.58, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  10. Beatriz Gaitan S. & Richard S.J. Tol & I. Hakan Yetkiner, 2006. "The Hotelling’s Rule Revisited in a Dynamic General Equilibrium Model," Papers of the Annual IUE-SUNY Cortland Conference in Economics, in: Proceedings of the Conference on Human and Economic Resources, pages 213-238 Izmir University of Economics.
  11. R. A. Houghton, 2002. "Magnitude, distribution and causes of terrestrial carbon sinks and some implications for policy," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 71-88, March.
  12. Richard S.J. Tol & Andrea Bigano & Jacqueline M. Hamilton & Yuan Zhou, 2005. "A Global Database of Domestic and International Tourist Numbers at National and Subnational Level," Working Papers 2005.3, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  13. Michael Dutschke, 2002. "Fractions of permanence – Squaring the cycle of sink carbon accounting," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 381-402, December.
  14. Reiner, D.M & Herzog, H.J, 2004. "Developing a set of regulatory analogs for carbon sequestration," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 29(9), pages 1561-1570.
  15. P. Michael Link & Richard S.J. Tol, 2004. "Possible Economic Impacts of a Shutdown of the Thermohaline Circulation: an Application of FUND," Working Papers FNU-42, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Apr 2004.
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