There was an interesting panel discussion (Climate and energy policy after the Paris Agreement) at the excellent EAERE 2016 conference in Zurich with Scott Barrett (Columbia University), Lucas Bretschger (ETH Zurich), Thomas Sterner (University of Gothenburg) and Herman Vollebergh (Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and Tinbergen University), all four of whom have been widely involved in climate negotiations or research thereof. So I chased them up in order to get their views on what economists should do, or prepare for, to help make COP22 in Marrakesh successful.
We humans try to shape nature to our hearts’ content, and at the same time we attempt to provide space for nature to continue in its own ways. While we live in seemingly ever-expanding cities, we also try to recognize and acknowledge that all species have a right to live beside us. What and where do we set the limits though?
I am happy to announce that my article entitled “Threshold Preferences and the Environment”, co-authored with Benteng Zou from the University of Luxembourg, has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Mathematical Economics. While the journal will publish a slightly shortened version of the article (without section 2), you can find the full version HERE. What is the paper about?
After a long time of negotations, a new climate accord has been reached by the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP20), in Lima, on the 14th December 2014. It is called the `Lima Accord‘, a draft text that is now viewed as a step towards the international climate conference to be held in Paris in 2015. I provide an overview of the main results, the difference to what had been decided before, and an overview of the different positions in the news.
Paul Krugman and Matthew Kahn provide some thoughts on why US Republicans are so hawkishly opposing any environmental regulation. I add some thoughts of my own to this.
A new report, by order of the European Commission, studying the Subsidies and costs of EU energy just came out (published by Ecofys. KPMG and the Centre for Social and Economic Research). This study is particular noteworthy since it is one of the first that attempts to provide useful data on energy costs and subsidies for all EU Member States and for all technologies. Here is a quick summary of the most interesting findings as well as some thoughts and discussions.
THIS is the currently latest version of the previously entitled paper `An Aggregation Dilemma’. I thank especially Reyer Gerlagh, Humberto Llavador and Gwenaël Piaser for extensive discussions and comments.
The results in this paper show that a policy maker who ignores regional data and instead relies on aggregated integrated assessment models will strongly underestimate the carbon price and thus the required climate policy. Using a stylized theoretical model we show that, under the mild and widely-accepted assumptions of asymmetric climate change impacts and declining marginal utility, an Aggregation Dilemma may arise that dwarfs most other policy-relevant aspects in the climate change cost-benefit analysis. Estimates based on the RICE model (Nordhaus and Boyer 2000) suggest that aggregation leads to around 26% higher total world emissions than those from a regional model. The backstop energy use would be zero in aggregated versions of the model, while it is roughly 1.3% of Gross World Product in the regionally-disaggregated models.
Though the policy recommendations from fully aggregated models like the DICE model are always used as a benchmark for policy making, the results here suggest that this should be done with the reservations raised by the Aggregation Dilemma in mind.
For anyone interested, please feel free to comment.