Climate tipping requires precautionary accumulation of capital and an additional price for carbon emissions

Rick van der Ploeg, Aart de Zeeuw 31 July 2014

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Climate policy aims to internalise the social cost of carbon by means of a carbon tax or a system of tradable permits such as the Emissions Trading System set up in the EU. But how do we determine the social cost of carbon? Do we take everything into account that should be taken into account? Most integrated assessment models (Nordhaus 2008, Stern 2007) calculate the net present value of estimated marginal damages to economic production from emitting one extra ton of carbon caused by burning fossil fuel.

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Topics:  Environment

Tags:  climate change, environment, global warming, social cost of carbon, regime shifts, tipping points

Rethinking African solar power for Europe

Emanuele Massetti, Elena Ricci 23 July 2014

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The DESERTEC Foundation has suggested that up to 20% of power demand in Europe can be obtained by connecting African deserts to European cities (Figure 1). The idea is to build a large number of concentrated solar power (CSP) plants in Middle Eastern and Northern African (MENA) countries, and to transmit electricity to Europe by means of very efficient high-voltage direct-current cables.

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Topics:  Energy Environment

Tags:  Europe, Africa, climate change, Renewable energy, energy security, Middle East, deserts, solar, photovoltaic, wind, concentrated solar power

Climate policy targets revisited

Richard S J Tol 25 April 2014

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The Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change is the most famous economic assessment of climate policy (Stern et al. 2006). The Stern Review puts the costs of unmitigated climate change at 5–20% of GDP (now and forever), it estimates that the cost of stabilising atmospheric concentrations around 525 ppm CO2e are 1% of GDP (in 2050), and recommends that concentrations be stabilised around 500 ppm CO2e.1

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Topics:  Environment

Tags:  climate change, emissions, externalities, greenhouse gases, pollution, carbon, cost-benefit analysis

Sustainable growth requires a long-term focus

Pascal Lamy, Ian Goldin 28 March 2014

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Just when we thought high-frequency trading couldn’t get any faster, a US communications company is developing a high-speed laser network between the New Jersey data centres of the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ stock exchange, to shave an additional few nanoseconds off high-frequency trading times.

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Topics:  Environment Financial markets Global crisis International trade

Tags:  growth, climate change, trade, environment, corporate governance, global crisis, high-frequency trading, short-termism, mark-to-market accounting

Nuclear expansion or phase-out? Costs and opportunities

Enrica De Cian, Samuel Carrara, Massimo Tavoni 22 December 2013

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"We learned from Fukushima that we have to deal differently with risks… We believe we as a country can be a trailblazer for a new age of renewable energy sources… We can be the first major industrialized country that achieves the transition to renewable energy with all the opportunities – for exports, development, technology, jobs – it carries with it.” Angela Merkel (distinct quotes).

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Topics:  Energy Environment

Tags:  R&D, energy, climate change, environment, climate policy, carbon pricing, energy mix, nuclear power

California energy efficiency: Lessons for the rest of the world, or not?

Arik Levinson 09 August 2013

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Energy-efficiency standards for buildings and appliances and vehicles appear to be a central component of climate policy in the US. New energy-efficiency regulations account for 44% of projected greenhouse gas emissions reductions from California's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, 36% of projected reductions from Massachusetts's 2008 Act, and about a third of the policy proposals in President Obama's June 2013 climate speech at Georgetown University.1 But do energy-efficiency standards work?

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Topics:  Environment

Tags:  US, climate change, energy efficiency

Facing up to uncertainty in climate-change economics

Geoffrey Heal, Antony Millner 13 June 2013

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Uncertainty is intrinsic in climate change economics. We know that increases in greenhouse gas concentrations are causing shifts in the climate, but not precisely how large these shifts will be, nor when and where they will occur. Neither do we understand fully the social and economic consequences of these changes, or the options that will be available for coping with them in the future. Characterising our knowledge of these uncertainties, and finding decision tools that are appropriate to our state of knowledge, is a vital part of sensible evaluations of climate-policy options.

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Topics:  Environment

Tags:  climate change, uncertainty

Four changes to trade rules to facilitate climate change action

Aaditya Mattoo, Arvind Subramanian 04 May 2013

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The research on the links between trade rules and climate-change action has mostly been concerned with how far climate-change action is constrained by current trade rules pertaining, for example, to border-tax adjustments (Horn and Mavroidis 2011), subsidies (Green 2006) and exports of natural gas (Levi 2012 and Hufbauer et al. 2013).

The research reflects – in part – the assumption that climate-change action (e.g. carbon-price increases) can be taken as a given. But our approach and proposals are predicated on:

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Topics:  Energy Environment

Tags:  climate change, technology, adaptation

Geoengineering and abatement: A ‘flat’ relationship under uncertainty

Johannes Emmerling, Massimo Tavoni 17 April 2013

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The slow progress in climate-change mitigation policies aimed at reducing greenhouse-gas emissions has fuelled the discussion about alternative policy options in order to cope with the impacts from climate change. The better known one is adaptation, but most recently ‘climate geoengineering’ has begun to attract increasing attention. Geoengineering counteracts the temperature increase caused by climate change, e.g., by deliberately reducing incoming solar radiation (known as Solar Radiation Management).

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Topics:  Environment

Tags:  climate change, geoengineering

The sordid history of Congressional acceptance and rejection of cap-and-trade: Implications for climate policy

Richard Schmalensee, Robert N. Stavins 07 March 2013

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In both his second inaugural and his fifth state of the union addresses this year, President Obama renewed his commitment to address the risk of global climate change, due to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, largely (but not exclusively) a consequence of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions linked with burning fossil fuels to generate energy.

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Topics:  Energy Environment

Tags:  US, climate change, Cap-and-trade

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