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Uncertainty and Climate Treaties: Does Ignorance Pay?

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  • Dellink, Rob
  • Finus, Michael

Abstract

Uncertainty and learning play an important role in addressing the problem of climate change. In stylized game-theoretic models of international environmental treaty formation, which capture the strategic interactions between nations, it has been shown that learning usually has a negative impact on the success of cooperation. This paper asks the question whether this negative conclusion carries over to an applied multiregional climate model. This model captures the large heterogeneity between different world regions and considers not only uncertainty about the benefits but also about the costs from climate mitigation. By exploiting differences in costs and benefits between regions and allowing transfers to mitigate free-rider incentives, we derive much more positive conclusions about the role of learning.

Suggested Citation

  • Dellink, Rob & Finus, Michael, 2009. "Uncertainty and Climate Treaties: Does Ignorance Pay?," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2009-15, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:stl:stledp:2009-15
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Finus & Pedro Pintassilgo & Alistair Ulph, 2014. "International Environmental Agreements with Uncertainty, Learning and Risk Aversion," Department of Economics Working Papers 19/14, University of Bath, Department of Economics.
    2. Nahid Masoudi & Marc Santugini & Georges Zaccour, 2016. "A Dynamic Game of Emissions Pollution with Uncertainty and Learning," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 64(3), pages 349-372, July.
    3. Walter Leal Filho & Robert Stojanov & Franziska Wolf & Newton R. Matandirotya & Christian Ploberger & Desalegn Y. Ayal & Fardous Mohammad Safiul Azam & Tareq Mohammed Ali AL-Ahdal & Rebecca Sarku & No, 2022. "Assessing Uncertainties in Climate Change Adaptation and Land Management," Land, MDPI, vol. 11(12), pages 1-15, December.
    4. Jan Kersting & Vicki Duscha & Matthias Weitzel, 2017. "Cooperation on Climate Change under Economic Linkages: How the Inclusion of Macroeconomic Effects Affects Stability of a Global Climate Coalition," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4).
    5. Alistair Ulph & Pedro Pintassilgo & Michael Finus, 2019. "Uncertainty, Learning and International Environmental Agreements: The Role of Risk Aversion," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 73(4), pages 1165-1196, August.
    6. Adam N. Walker & Hans-Peter Weikard & Andries Richter, 2015. "The Rise and Fall of the Great Fish Pact under Endogenous Risk of Stock Collapse," Working Papers 2015.60, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    7. Jasper N. Meya & Ulrike Kornek & Kai Lessmann, 2018. "How empirical uncertainties influence the stability of climate coalitions," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 175-198, April.
    8. Gary D. Libecap, 2014. "Addressing Global Environmental Externalities: Transaction Costs Considerations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 52(2), pages 424-479, June.
    9. Thijs Dekker & Rob Dellink & Janina Ketterer, 2013. "The Fatter the Tail, the Fatter the Climate Agreement - Simulating the Influence of Fat Tails in Climate Change Damages on the Success of International Climate Negotiations," CESifo Working Paper Series 4059, CESifo.
    10. Gary D. Libecap, 2013. "Addressing Global Environmental Externalities: Transaction Costs Considerations," NBER Working Papers 19501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Agbo, Maxime, 2014. "Strategic exploitation with learning and heterogeneous beliefs," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 126-140.
    12. Michael FinusAlistair Ulph & Alistair Ulph, 2013. "International Environmental Agreements with Uncertainty, Learning and Risk Aversion," Economics Discussion Paper Series 1329, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    13. Rob Dellink & Thijs Dekker & Janina Ketterer, 2013. "The Fatter the Tail, the Fatter the Climate Agreement," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 56(2), pages 277-305, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    international climate agreements; uncertainty; learning; game theory; cost-benefit analysis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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