Climatic Change

, Volume 137, Issue 3–4, pp 639–653 | Cite as

Can climate policy enhance sustainability?

  • Lorenza CampagnoloEmail author
  • Carlo Carraro
  • Marinella Davide
  • Fabio Eboli
  • Elisa Lanzi
  • Ramiro Parrado


Implementing an effective climate policy is one of the main challenges for the future. Curbing greenhouse gas emissions can prevent future irreversible impacts of climate change. Climate policy is therefore crucial for present and future generations. Nonetheless, one may wonder whether future economic and social development could be harmed by climate policy. This paper addresses this question by examining recent developments in international climate policy and considering different levels of cooperation that may arise in light of the outcomes of the Conference of the Parties held in Doha. The paper analyses how various climate policy scenarios would enhance sustainability and whether there is a trade-off between climate policy and economic development and social cohesion. This is done by using a new comprehensive indicator, the FEEM Sustainability Index (FEEM SI), which aggregates several economic, social, and environmental indicators. The FEEM SI is built into a recursive-dynamic computable general equilibrium model of the world economy, thus offering the possibility of projecting all indicators into the future and of delivering a perspective assessment of sustainability under different future climate policy scenarios. We find that the environmental component of sustainability improves at the regional and world level thanks to the implementation of climate policies. Overall sustainability increases in all scenarios since the economic and social components are affected negatively yet marginally. This analysis does not include explicitly climate change damages and this may lead to underestimating the benefits of policy actions. If the USA, Canada, Japan and Russia did not contribute to mitigating emissions, sustainability in these countries would decrease and the overall effectiveness of climate policy in enhancing global sustainability would be offset.

JEL Classification

Q54 Q56 C68 



This paper is part of the research of the Climate Change Economic Impacts and Adaptation of the Fondazione Eni EnricoMattei. We would like to thank the reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions.

Supplementary material

10584_2016_1701_MOESM1_ESM.docx (137 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 137 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorenza Campagnolo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carlo Carraro
    • 2
  • Marinella Davide
    • 2
  • Fabio Eboli
    • 1
  • Elisa Lanzi
    • 3
  • Ramiro Parrado
    • 1
  1. 1.Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) and Fondazione CMCC - Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti ClimaticiVeniceItaly
  2. 2.Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM)Fondazione CMCC - Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici and Ca’ Foscari University of VeniceVeniceItaly
  3. 3.Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM)VeniceItaly

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