Climatic Change

, Volume 113, Issue 3–4, pp 897–917 | Cite as

The benefits of climate change mitigation in integrated assessment models: the role of the carbon cycle and climate component

  • Andries F. Hof
  • Chris W. Hope
  • Jason Lowe
  • Michael D. Mastrandrea
  • Malte Meinshausen
  • Detlef P. van Vuuren
Article

Abstract

Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) are an important tool to compare the costs and benefits of different climate policies. Recently, attention has been given to the effect of different discounting methods and damage estimates on the results of IAMs. One aspect to which little attention has been paid is how the representation of the climate system may affect the estimated benefits of mitigation action. In that respect, we analyse several well-known IAMs, including the newest versions of FUND, DICE and PAGE. Given the role of IAMs in integrating information from different disciplines, they should ideally represent both best estimates and the ranges of anticipated climate system and carbon cycle behaviour (as e.g. synthesised in the IPCC Assessment reports). We show that in the longer term, beyond 2100, most IAM parameterisations of the carbon cycle imply lower CO2 concentrations compared to a model that captures IPCC AR4 knowledge more closely, e.g. the carbon-cycle climate model MAGICC6. With regard to the climate component, some IAMs lead to much lower benefits of mitigation than MAGICC6. The most important reason for the underestimation of the benefits of mitigation is the failure in capturing climate dynamics correctly, which implies this could be a potential development area to focus on.

Supplementary material

10584_2011_363_MOESM1_ESM.doc (130 kb)
ESM 1(DOC 129 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andries F. Hof
    • 1
  • Chris W. Hope
    • 2
  • Jason Lowe
    • 3
  • Michael D. Mastrandrea
    • 4
  • Malte Meinshausen
    • 5
    • 6
  • Detlef P. van Vuuren
    • 1
    • 7
  1. 1.PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment AgencyBilthovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Cambridge Judge Business SchoolUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Met Office, Hadley CentreReading UniversityReadingUK
  4. 4.Woods Institute for the EnvironmentStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  5. 5.Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)PotsdamGermany
  6. 6.School of Earth SciencesUniversity of MelbourneVictoriaAustralia
  7. 7.Department of GeosciencesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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