Climatic Change

, Volume 114, Issue 1, pp 9–37 | Cite as

The economics of decarbonizing the energy system—results and insights from the RECIPE model intercomparison

  • Gunnar LudererEmail author
  • Valentina Bosetti
  • Michael Jakob
  • Marian Leimbach
  • Jan C. Steckel
  • Henri Waisman
  • Ottmar Edenhofer


This paper synthesizes the results from the model intercomparison exercise among regionalized global energy-economy models conducted in the context of the RECIPE project. The economic adjustment effects of long-term climate policy are investigated based on the cross-comparison of the intertemporal optimization models ReMIND-R and WITCH as well as the recursive dynamic computable general equilibrium model IMACLIM-R. A number of robust findings emerge. If the international community takes immediate action to mitigate climate change, the costs of stabilizing atmospheric CO2 concentrations at 450 ppm (roughly 530–550 ppm-e) discounted at 3% are estimated to be 1.4% or lower of global consumption over the twenty-first century. Second best settings with either a delay in climate policy or restrictions to the deployment of low-carbon technologies can result in substantial increases of mitigation costs. A delay of global climate policy until 2030 would render the 450 ppm target unachievable. Renewables and CCS are found to be the most critical mitigation technologies, and all models project a rapid switch of investments away from freely emitting energy conversion technologies towards renewables, CCS and nuclear. Concerning end use sectors, the models consistently show an almost full scale decarbonization of the electricity sector by the middle of the twenty-first century, while the decarbonization of non-electric energy demand, in particular in the transport sector remains incomplete in all mitigation scenarios. The results suggest that assumptions about low-carbon alternatives for non-electric energy demand are of key importance for the costs and achievability of very low stabilization scenarios.


Climate Policy Carbon Price Energy Efficiency Improvement Policy Scenario Carbon Intensity 
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. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gunnar Luderer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Valentina Bosetti
    • 2
  • Michael Jakob
    • 1
  • Marian Leimbach
    • 1
  • Jan C. Steckel
    • 1
  • Henri Waisman
    • 3
  • Ottmar Edenhofer
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Domain III: Sustainable SolutionsPotsdam Institute for Climate Impact ResearchPotsdamGermany
  2. 2.Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, CESifo and Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Climate ChangeMilanItaly
  3. 3.Centre International de Recherche sur l’Environment et le DévelopmentParisFrance

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