Blog: Climate ChangeS

Climate ChangeS:  A selection of the most recent and most interesting working papers on the economics of climate change.

From the description:

Climate ChangeS provides researchers with a timely and accurate update of new research papers on the Economics of Climate Change. On a weekly basis, links to the most recent and interesting working papers are aggregated from a variety of sources for easy and convenient reference. The focus is on research at the frontier, with most contributions appearing just a few days after having been released. For this reason, journal articles are not tracked.



Hartwell Paper: A New Direction for Climate Change

The London School of Economics and Political Science recently released:  Hartwell Paper: A New Direction for Climate Change.

From the Executive Summary:

Climate policy, as it has been understood and practised by many governments of the world under the Kyoto Protocol approach, has failed to produce any discernable real world reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases in fifteen years. The underlying reason for this is that the UNFCCC/Kyoto model was structurally flawed and doomed to fail because it systematically misunderstood the nature of climate change as a policy issue between 1985 and 2009. However, the currently dominant approach has acquired immense political momentum because of the quantities of political capital sunk into it. But in any case the UNFCCC/Kyoto model of climate policy cannot continue because it crashed in late 2009. The Hartwell Paper sets and reviews this context; but doing so is not its sole or primary purpose.

The crash of 2009 presents an immense opportunity to set climate policy free to fly at last. The principal motivation and purpose of this Paper is to explain and to advance this opportunity. To do so involves understanding and accepting a startling proposition. It is now plain that it is not possible to have a ‘climate policy’ that has emissions reductions as the all encompassing goal. However, there are many other reasons why the decarbonisation of the global economy is highly desirable. Therefore, the Paper advocates a radical reframing – an inverting – of approach: accepting that decarbonisation will only be achieved successfully as a benefit contingent upon other goals which are politically attractive and relentlessly pragmatic.

The Paper therefore proposes that the organising principle of our effort should be the raising up of human dignity via three overarching objectives: ensuring energy access for all; ensuring that we develop in a manner that does not undermine the essential functioning of the Earth system; ensuring that our societies are adequately equipped to withstand the risks and dangers that come from all the vagaries of climate, whatever their cause may be.

It explains radical and practical ways to reduce non-CO2 human forcing of climate. It argues that improved climate risk management is a valid policy goal, and is not simply congruent with carbon policy. It explains the political prerequisite of energy efficiency strategies as a first step and documents how this can achieve real emissions reductions. But, above all, it emphasises the primacy of accelerating decarbonisation of energy supply. This calls for very substantially increased investment in innovation in non-carbon energy sources in order to diversify energy supply technologies. The ultimate goal of doing this is to develop non-carbon energy supplies at unsubsidised costs less than those using fossil fuels. The Hartwell Paper advocates funding this work by low hypothecated (dedicated) carbon taxes. It opens discussion on how to channel such money productively.

To reframe the climate issue around matters of human dignity is not just noble or necessary. It is also likely to be more effective than the approach of framing around human sinfulness –which has failed and will continue to fail.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Greenhouse Gas Emissions Program

Japan Times published an article on Tokyo’s new greenhouse gas emissions regime:

Tokyo’s CO2 cap-and-trade may set national standard.

by Maya Kaneko

Japan Times, Thursday , April 8th.

Financial Times also has an article on Tokyo’s new program.

Excerpts from the Japan Times article:

Under the leadership of Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, Tokyo aims to slash its carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gas emissions by 25 percent compared with 2000 levels by 2020. The program caps energy-related carbon dioxide emissions from some 1,330 offices and factories in the capital and allows for trading of emissions credits.

About 1,330 offices, commercial buildings and factories that annually consume the crude oil equivalent of more than 1,500 kiloliters of energy will be required to cut total carbon dioxide emissions over the fiscal 2010-2014 period by 6 percent to 8 percent from base-year levels.

Base-year levels are calculated from average emissions over a past period of three consecutive years between fiscal 2002 and 2007. Office buildings face an 8 percent target and factories are subject to a 6 percent goal.

In the fiscal 2015-2019 second phase, they will be required to slash emissions by 17 percent from their base-year levels.

To meet the targets, offices and factories can either make efforts on their own, such as updating to energy-saving equipment, or purchase emissions credits from other entities that have reduced their carbon dioxide output by more than the obligated levels in a system known as cap and trade.

They can also buy credits earned through reduction efforts by small and medium-size companies in Tokyo and the entities’ large-scale branch offices outside the capital. Renewable energy certificates issued by power generators can be also purchased.

New Journal: Climate and Development

Earthscan has released a new peer-reviewed journal: “Climate and Development.” 

Published in partnership with the Global Change System for Analysis, Research and Training (START), and supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)

Unfortunately, the cost is $608 for U.S. institutions. Some free content from Voulme 1, Issue 1 is currently available on the journal Web site: 

Climate and Development

hat tip to Joan Policastri.

New Journal: San Diego Journal of Climate and Energy Law

The University of San Diego School of Law has published the inaugural issue of the San Diego Journal of Climate and Energy Law. $27 per issue.

San Diego Journal of Climate and Energy Law

Table of Contents of Volume 1, 2009

Ist Annual Climate & Energy Law Symposium: Federal Preemption or State Prerogative: California inteh Face of National Climate Policy  -  Richard Lazarus

Energy Efficiency and Federalism – Ann Carlson

State Greenhouse Gas Regulation, Federal Climate Change Legislation, and the Preemption Sword - William Buzbee

The History of State Action in the Environmental Realm: A Presumption Against Preemption in Climate Change Law – Victor Flatt

Regional Climate Regulation: From State Competition to State Collaboration – Lesley McAllister

Decentralizing Cap and Trade? The Question of State Stringency – Alice Kaswan

The Clean Water Act and Power Plant Cooling Water Intake Structrures – John Minan

Climate Law and Policy in North America: Prospects for Regionalism – Neil Craik and Joseph Dimento

Climate Adaption and Federalism: Mapping the Issues – Daniel Farber

Global Warming Policy Foundation

Global Warming Policy Foundation is a UK based climate change site (more Bjorn Lomborg than Al Gore)

From the Web Site’s Information Page

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) is an all-party and non-party think tank and a registered educational charity

Our main purpose is to bring reason, integrity and balance to a debate that has become seriously unbalanced, irrationally alarmist, and all too often depressingly intolerant.

The GWPF’s primary purpose is to help restore balance and trust in the climate debate that is frequently distorted by prejudice and exaggeration 

Our main focus is to analyse global warming policies and its economic and other implications. Our aim is to provide the most robust and reliable economic analysis and advice.

We intend to develop alternative policy options and to foster a proper debate (which at present scarcely exists) on the likely cost and consequences of current policies.

We are funded entirely by voluntary donations from a number of private individuals and charitable trusts. In order to make clear its complete independence, it does not accept gifts from either energy companies or anyone with a significant interest in an energy company.

Global Warming Policy Foundation

Europeans’ Attitudes Towards Climate Change

Eurobaramoter has released a special report on European attitudes towards climate change.

Europeans’ Attitudes Towards Climate Change. Special Eurobameter 322

From the introduction of the opinion survey:

This report presents the results of a survey on the attitudes of Europeans towards climate change which was carruied out on late August and September 2009.

2009 is a watershed year for fighting climate change, with world leaders meeting at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen in December to try and reach a follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol.  As this time grows closer there has been an increasing focus in the international media on the conference, on climate change, and on the various measures needed to curb its impact. Since the EU adopted ambitious climate and energy targets for 2020 in December 2008 many countries have also seen a more active dialogue about climate change taking place. The EU has launched its own climate change campaign website to provide general information to the public as well as to suggest ways for individual actions1. But what do Europeans actually think about climate change?

This survey mapped the opinion of Europeans on a range of climate change related topics, and in particular covers:

♦ Respondents’ perceptions of climate change in relation to other world


♦ Respondents’ perceptions of the seriousness of climate change.

♦ Respondents’ perceptions about the actions of local, national governments as

well as the EU in combating climate change

♦ Respondents’ attitudes towards alternative fuels and CO² emissions.

♦ Whether respondents feel that climate change is stoppable or has been

exaggerated, and what impact it has on the European economy.

♦ Whether respondents have taken personal action to fight climate change, and

what those actions are.

♦ Perceived relative importance of the economy and the environment

♦ Europeans’ willingness to pay more for greener energy

Geoengineering Reports from Copenhagen Consensus

The Copenhagen Consensus (Bjorn Lomberg) has issued two reports on geoengineering as a response to climate change.

Engineer a Better Climate : Policy and Pespective Papers

An Analysis of Climate Engineering as a Response to Climate Change

J Eric Bickel & Lee Lane


This paper offers a preliminary and exploratory assessment of the potential benefits andc ostsof climate engineering (CE). We examine two families of CE technologies, solar radiation management(SRM) and air capture (AC), under three emissions control environments: no controls, optimal abatement,andlimitingtemperaturechangeto2°C.Ouranalysissuggeststhat,today,SRMoffers larger net benefits than AC, but that both deserve to be investigated further. In the case of SRM,we investigate three specific technologies: the injection of aerosols into the stratosphere, theincrease of marine cloud albedo, and the deployment of a space-based sunshade.

We estimate direct benefit-cost (B/C) ratios of around 25 to 1 for aerosols and around 5000to 1 for cloud albedo enhancement. Technological progress might significantly lower direct costestimates of stratospheric aerosols and thus raise the expected benefits. Yet, large uncertaintiesremain about the science and engineering of SRM. Only a substantial research program couldresolve these uncertainties, but the very large potential net benefits of SRM offer strong prima facie evidence for including R&D on SRM as a part of any portfolio of climate policies duringthe next decade.

Therefore, we suggest that the Copenhagen Consensus allocate an average of approximately 0.3%of its $250 billion climate-change budget ($750 million per year) to SRM and AC research over thenext decade. SRM is the higher priority, owing to its larger and more current net benefit potential.This research program should explicitly focus on identifying possible side effects, especially thosewhich might imply non-trivial costs.

WeestimatethatthebenefitofasinglewattofSRMisworthover$6trillionunderanemissions control regime of optimal abatement. Furthermore, we show that a single watt of SRM has thesame economic benefit as capturing and sequestering almost 65% of yearly CO2emissions,which, in conjunction with AC’s significant costs, argues in favor of SRM in the near term.

A Perspective Paper on Climate Engineering as a Response to Climate Change

Anne E. Smith


In their Assessment Paper, “The Potential Benefits and Costs of Climate Engineering: A Case for Research,” Bickel and Lane have provided a deterministic case for funding a long-term,intensiveresearchanddevelopment(R&D)programforgeoengineering.Becausetheir estimate of the requisite R&D budget is about 0.1% of their deterministic estimates of the net benefits of using geoengineering, they argue that it is unlikely any of the uncertainties they did not analyze would affect the case for performing the R&D. This Perspectives Paper overlays a consideration of potential unintended consequences from geoengineering onto theiranalysis and extends it with calculations of value of information from the R&D. It finds that the value of perfect information is indeed much higher than Bickel and Lane’s proposed research budget for almost all but the most extreme assumptions about probabilities (eitheroptimisticor pessimistic) on whether geoengineering will produce significant unintended consequences. However, it also finds that imperfect information may have zero value for a wide range of assumptions. Thus, a standard analysis of value of information seems to undercut a view that uncertainties not addressed in the Assessment Paper are unlikely to affect the merits of conducting the further research on geoengineering. This Perspectives Paper, however, also takes a more critical look at the theoretical assumptions underpinning the standard formula for value of information, and finds that they may be inappropriate in a public policy making process. This paper suggests an alternative value of information formula to match the current issue’s role as part of societal decision making by groups who hold very different sets of probability assumptions. When the proposed alternative calculation of value of information in a social choice context is applied, one obtains much larger value of information estimates over a broad range of probability assumptions.

UNFCCC Greenhouse Gas Emissions Map

United Nation Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC) has teamed up with Google to create a greenhouse gases emissions map.  Click on an individual country to see statistics and graphs on greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, and waste management. The map currently only includes developed countries.

UNFCCC Greenhouse Gas Emissions Map

Global Carbon Trading: a Framework for Reducing Emissions

The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Chnage has released a report on global cap and trade: “Global Carbon Trading: a Framework for Reducing Emissions.” we do\Global climate change and energy\Tackling Climate Change\Emissions Trading\Lazarowicz report\1_20090720094330_e_@@_GlobalCarbonTradingaframeworkforreducingemissions.pdf&filetype=4

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