, Volume 124, Issue 3, pp 677-690
Date: 21 Feb 2014

Accounting for uncertainties and time preference in economic analysis of tackling climate change through forestry and selected policy implications for Scotland and Ukraine

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The paper discusses the development of economic techniques for dealing with uncertainties in economic analysis of planting trees to mitigate climatic change. In consideration of uncertainty, time preference and intergenerational equity, the traditional cost-benefit analysis framework is challenged with regard to the discounting/non-discounting of carbon uptake benefits, and because it usually uses a constant and positive discount rate. We investigate the influence of various discounting protocols on the outputs of economic analysis. The idea of using the declining discount rate is also considered. Several numerical examples dealing with the analysis of afforestation for carbon sequestration in Scotland and Ukraine are provided. We show that the choice of discounting protocols have a considerable influence on the results of economic analysis, and therefore, on the decision-making processes related to climate change mitigation strategies. The paper concludes with some innovative insights on accounting for uncertainties and time preference in tackling climate change through forestry, several climate policy implications of dealing with uncertainties, and a brief discussion of what the use of different discounting protocols might imply for decision making.

This article is part of a Special Issue on “Third International Workshop on Uncertainty in Greenhouse Gas Inventories” edited by Jean Ometto and Rostyslav Bun.