Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 68, Issue 4, pp 975–995 | Cite as

Adaptation to Climate Change: Commitment and Timing Issues

  • Michèle BretonEmail author
  • Lucia Sbragia


We study the impact of timing and commitment on adaptation and mitigation policies in the context of international environmental problems. Adaptation policies present the characteristics of a private good and may require a prior investment, while mitigation policies produce a public good. In a stylized model, we evaluate the impact of strategic commitment and leadership considerations when countries with different attitudes towards environmental cooperation coexist. We obtain equilibrium abatement and adaptation levels and environmental costs under partial cooperation for various timing and leadership scenarios. Crucially, global environmental costs suffered by countries are found to be greater when adaptation measures can be used strategically.


Adaptation Climate change Leadership Mitigation Strategy Timing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Decision SciencesHEC MontréalMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsDurham University Business SchoolDurhamUK

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