Climatic Change

, Volume 96, Issue 3, pp 299–312 | Cite as

Delayed action and uncertain stabilisation targets. How much will the delay cost?

  • Valentina Bosetti
  • Carlo Carraro
  • Alessandra Sgobbi
  • Massimo TavoniEmail author


Despite the growing concern about actual on-going climate change, there is little consensus on the scale and timing of actions needed to stabilise the concentrations of greenhouse gases. Many countries are unwilling to implement mitigation strategies, at least in the short term, and no agreement on an ambitious global stabilisation target has yet been reached. It is thus likely that international climate policies will be characterized by a high degree of uncertainty over the stringency of the climate objective, and that some countries might delay their participation to global action. What additional economic costs will this delay in the adoption of mitigation measures imply? What would the optimal short-term strategy be given the uncertainty surrounding the climate policy to come? Is there a hedging strategy that decision makers can adopt to cope with delayed action and uncertain targets? This paper addresses these questions by quantifying the economic implications of delaying mitigation action, and by computing the optimal abatement strategy in the presence of uncertainty about a global stabilisation target (which will be agreed upon in future climate negotiations). Results point to short-term inaction as the key determinant for the economic costs of ambitious climate policies. They also indicate that there is an effective hedging strategy that could minimise the cost of climate policy uncertainty over the global stabilisation target: a short-term moderate climate policy would be a good strategy to reduce the costs of delayed action and to cope with uncertainty about the outcome of future climate negotiations. By contrast, failing to curb emissions in the short term imposes rapidly increasing additional costs of compliance.


Climate Policy Hedging Strategy Stabilisation Target Abatement Effort Climate Target 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valentina Bosetti
    • 1
    • 2
  • Carlo Carraro
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Alessandra Sgobbi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Massimo Tavoni
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Fondazione Eni Enrico MatteiMilanItaly
  2. 2.CMCCLecceItaly
  3. 3.University of VeniceVeniceItaly
  4. 4.CEPRLondonUK
  5. 5.CESifoMunichGermany
  6. 6.Catholic University of MilanMilanItaly

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