Implications of weak near-term climate policies on long-term mitigation pathways
- 1.3k Downloads
While the international community has agreed on the long-term target of limiting global warming to no more than 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, only a few concrete climate policies and measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been implemented. We use a set of three global integrated assessment models to analyze the implications of current climate policies on long-term mitigation targets. We define a weak-policy baseline scenario, which extrapolates the current policy environment by assuming that the global climate regime remains fragmented and that emission reduction efforts remain unambitious in most of the world’s regions. These scenarios clearly fall short of limiting warming to 2 °C. We investigate the cost and achievability of the stabilization of atmospheric GHG concentrations at 450 ppm CO2e by 2100, if countries follow the weak policy pathway until 2020 or 2030 before pursuing the long-term mitigation target with global cooperative action. We find that after a deferral of ambitious action the 450 ppm CO2e is only achievable with a radical up-scaling of efforts after target adoption. This has severe effects on transformation pathways and exacerbates the challenges of climate stabilization, in particular for a delay of cooperative action until 2030. Specifically, reaching the target with weak near-term action implies (a) faster and more aggressive transformations of energy systems in the medium term, (b) more stranded investments in fossil-based capacities, (c) higher long-term mitigation costs and carbon prices and (d) stronger transitional economic impacts, rendering the political feasibility of such pathways questionable.
KeywordsEmission Reduction Climate Policy Carbon Price Mitigation Cost Carbon Prex
This work was supported by Stiftung Mercator in the context of the RoSE project.
- Bauer N, Mouratiadou I et al. (2013) Global fossil energy markets and climate change mitigation – an analysis with ReMIND. Clim Change. doi: 10.1007/s10584-013-0901-6
- Bosetti V, Carraro C, Galeotti M, Massetti E, Tavoni M (2006) WITCH - A world induced technical change hybrid model. The Energy Journal, Special Issue Hybrid Modeling of Energy-Environment Policies: Reconciling Bottom-up and Top-down:13–38Google Scholar
- Calvin K, Patel P, Fawcett A, Clarke L, Fisher-Vanden K, Edmonds J, Kim SH, Sands R, Wise M (2009b) The distribution and magnitude of emissions mitigation costs in climate stabilization under less than perfect international cooperation: SGM results. Energy Econ 31(Supplement 2):S187–S197. doi: 10.1016/j.eneco.2009.06.014 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- De Cian E, Sferra F, Tavoni M (2013) The influence of economic growth, population, and fossil fuel scarcity on energy investments. Clim Chang. doi: 10.1007/s10584-013-0902-5
- Kriegler E, Mouratiadou I et al (submitted for this issue) Will economic growth and fossil fuel scarcity help or hinder climate stabilization? Overview of the RoSE multi-model study. Clim ChangGoogle Scholar
- Kriegler E, Petermann N et al (2013) Diagnosing integrated assessment models of climate policy. Technol Forecas Soc Change submittedGoogle Scholar
- UNEP (2010) The Emissions Gap Report - Are the Copenhagen Accord Pledges Sufficient to Limit Global Warming to 2°C or 1.5°C? United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, http://www.unep.org/publications/ebooks/emissionsgapreport/Google Scholar
- UNEP (2011) Bridging the emissions gap report. United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, http://www.unep.org/publications/ebooks/bridgingemissionsgap/Google Scholar
- Wise M, Calvin K, Thomson A, Clarke L, Bond-Lamberty B, Sands R, Smith SJ, Janetos A, Edmonds J (2009) Implications of limiting CO2 concentrations for land use and energy. Science 324:1183–1186Google Scholar