Climatic Change

, Volume 114, Issue 1, pp 79–99

Time to act now? Assessing the costs of delaying climate measures and benefits of early action

  • Michael Jakob
  • Gunnar Luderer
  • Jan Steckel
  • Massimo Tavoni
  • Stephanie Monjon
Article

Abstract

This paper compares the results of the three state of the art climate-energy-economy models IMACLIM-R, ReMIND-R, and WITCH to assess the costs of climate change mitigation in scenarios in which the implementation of a global climate agreement is delayed or major emitters decide to participate in the agreement at a later stage only. We find that for stabilizing atmospheric GHG concentrations at 450 ppm CO2-only, postponing a global agreement to 2020 raises global mitigation costs by at least about half and a delay to 2030 renders ambitious climate targets infeasible to achieve. In the standard policy scenario—in which allocation of emission permits is aimed at equal per-capita levels in the year 2050—regions with above average emissions (such as the EU and the US alongside the rest of Annex-I countries) incur lower mitigation costs by taking early action, even if mitigation efforts in the rest of the world experience a delay. However, regions with low per-capita emissions which are net exporters of emission permits (such as India) can possibly benefit from higher future carbon prices resulting from a delay. We illustrate the economic mechanism behind these observations and analyze how (1) lock-in of carbon intensive infrastructure, (2) differences in global carbon prices, and (3) changes in reduction commitments resulting from delayed action influence mitigation costs.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Jakob
    • 1
  • Gunnar Luderer
    • 1
  • Jan Steckel
    • 1
  • Massimo Tavoni
    • 2
  • Stephanie Monjon
    • 3
  1. 1.Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact ResearchPotsdamGermany
  2. 2.Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Climate ChangeVeniceItaly
  3. 3.Centre International de Recherche sur l’Environnement et le DéveloppementParisFrance

Personalised recommendations