The adequacy of GWPs as indicators of damage costsincurred by global warming
- Cite this article as:
- Sygna, L., Fuglestvedt, J.S. & Aaheim, H.A. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change (2002) 7: 45. doi:10.1023/A:1015879109042
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This article looks at the ability of Global Warming Potentials (GWPs) towork as indicators of equivalence for temperature development and damagecosts. We look at two abatement scenarios that are equivalent when using100-year GWPs: one scenario reduces short-lived gases, mainly methane(CH4); the other scenario reduces carbon dioxide (CO2).Despite their equivalence in terms of CO2 equivalents, the scenariosdo not result in equal rates or levels of temperature change. The disparitiescontinue as we move further down the chain of causality toward damagecosts, measured either in terms of rate of climate change or level of climatechange. Compared to the CH4 mitigation scenario, the CO2mitigation scenario gives present value costs 1.3 and 1.5 times higher forlevel- and rate-dependent damage costs, respectively, assuming a discountrate of 3%. We also test the GWPs for other time horizons and theconclusions remain the same; using GWP as an index to reflect equivalentclimate effects and damage costs from emissions is questionable.