Our main objective is to analyze the economically optimal use of carbon sequestration in the face of potential climate thresholds. The main achievements in the last year were:
- a workshop on integration of new carbon cycle science into integrated assessments;
- further exploration of an innovative allowance trading regime for greenhouse gas control;
- modeling of optimal sequestration, considering induced technological change, technological inertia, and carbon leakage;
- analysis of efficient policies to reduce the risk of dangerous interference with the climate system.
Workshop on integration of new carbon cycle science into integrated assessments
A two-day workshop was held in Princeton, May 7 -8, 2002, bringing together natural scientists involved in carbon cycle (CC) research and modeling, and social scientists working on integrated assessment (IA) modeling of the climate system. The objectives were to discuss how the representation of the CC in IA models could be improved and to identify what inputs or other information IA models could provide to the CC modelers and researchers.
The workshop attracted many of the top people in the field and was regarded as a significant success. Funded by DOE, NASA, NOAA, NSF, USDA, and USGS as an activity of the US Global Change Research Program and the Carbon Cycle Interagency Working Group, the workshop was not explicitly a CMI event but nonetheless was a significant piece of the policy effort.
Quantitative evaluation of innovative allowance trading regime for greenhouse gas control
We used two important integrated assessment models, MERGE (based in EPRI) and MiniCAM (based in the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory), with the specific objective of quantifying the institutional design for a carbon trading regime described last year in the paper, “A No Cap But Trade Approach to Greenhouse Gas Control.” That paper and project have been renamed, “Greenhouse Gas Control as the Purchase of a Public Good.”
Modeling of optimal sequestration, considering induced technological change, technological inertia, and carbon leakage
We analyze carbon sequestration as a strategy to manage future climate change in an optimal economic growth framework. Carbon sequestration is not a perfect substitute for avoiding CO2 production, because CO2 leaks back to the atmosphere and hence imposes future costs. Our model shows quantitatively that safe and acceptable CO2 sequestration methods at plausible costs could reduce economically optimal carbon emissions, global warming, expenditures for CO2 control, and climate-related damages.
Analysis of efficient policies to reduce the risk of dangerous interference with the
Our recent work demonstrates that the timing of near -term policy actions with regard to emissions abatement and sequestration should be formulated in the context of considering appropriate long-term objectives for stabilizing carbon dioxide levels or climate. In particular, achieving a stabilization concentration below a doubling of pre -industrial atmospheric CO2 is likely to become infeasible, absent near-term abatement. The tighter the target, the greater the urgency of action.
Justification for tight targets increases, as understanding grows regarding the risk of damage to sensitive ecosystems and the manifestation of disruptive climate events, like disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet, at higher concentrations.