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The potential influence of natural climate variability and uncertainty in the design of optimal greenhouse gas emission policies

By V. Ocana and Hamburg (Germany) Max-Planck-Institut fuer Meteorologie

Abstract

The possibility that human activities, through the use of land for agriculture, deforestation and emission of pollutants into the atmosphere, may alter the climate of the earth has been long recognised. Also, in recent times, the possible magnitude of those changes and their relevance for human societies has turned into a major social concern. Consequently great efforts have been made to understand the mechanisms governing climate change, both in its physical and social dimensions, and to design socioeconomic actions that would prevent its adverse consequences. In order to pursue this two-fold effort, the most widely accepted scientific paradigm consists in the use of mathematical models of diverse complexity that describe the coupled system climate - society. At present there are yet many uncertainties and imperfections in our knowledge of the system, but delaying political action until uncertainties are solved could have important consequences. Furthermore the system being considered is stochastic in nature and its natural variability may interact with and mask the causal relation between human activities and climate change. In this work we aim at a preliminary study of the potential effects of climate's natural variability and imperfect knowledge in the design of policy action directed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To this end the robustness of a structural climate -economy coupled model is tested against different assumptions related to the variability of climate and the uncertainties of the system. The model adopts the form of a stochastic optimal control problem, in which an optimal greenhouse gas emission policy is sought that minimizes a stylized cost function that comprises both the damages caused by climate change and the socioeconomic costs of reducing emissions. (orig.)Available from TIB Hannover: RR 9(78) / FIZ - Fachinformationszzentrum Karlsruhe / TIB - Technische InformationsbibliothekSIGLEDEGerman

Topics: 08N - Meteorology, climatology, CLIMATES, GREENHOUSE EFFECT, GREENHOUSE GASES, EMISSION, AIR POLLUTION
Year: 2000
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Provided by: OpenGrey Repository
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