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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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Earth Syst. Dynam., 9, 525-542, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-9-525-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
18 May 2018
The impact of uncertainty on optimal emission policies
Nicola Botta1, Patrik Jansson2, and Cezar Ionescu3 1Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Telegraphenberg A31, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
2Chalmers University of Technology, Computer Science and Engineering, 412 96 Göteborg, Sweden
3University of Oxford, Dept. for Continuing Education, Ewert House, Ewert Place, OX2 7DD, UK
Abstract. We apply a computational framework for specifying and solving sequential decision problems to study the impact of three kinds of uncertainties on optimal emission policies in a stylized sequential emission problem.We find that uncertainties about the implementability of decisions on emission reductions (or increases) have a greater impact on optimal policies than uncertainties about the availability of effective emission reduction technologies and uncertainties about the implications of trespassing critical cumulated emission thresholds. The results show that uncertainties about the implementability of decisions on emission reductions (or increases) call for more precautionary policies. In other words, delaying emission reductions to the point in time when effective technologies will become available is suboptimal when these uncertainties are accounted for rigorously. By contrast, uncertainties about the implications of exceeding critical cumulated emission thresholds tend to make early emission reductions less rewarding.
Citation: Botta, N., Jansson, P., and Ionescu, C.: The impact of uncertainty on optimal emission policies, Earth Syst. Dynam., 9, 525-542, https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-9-525-2018, 2018.
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Short summary
We study the impact of uncertainty on optimal greenhouse gas (GHG) emission policies for a stylized emission problem. The results suggest that uncertainties about the implementability of decisions on emission reductions (or increases) call for more precautionary policies. In contrast, uncertainties about the implications of exceeding critical cumulated emission thresholds tend to make early emission reductions less rewarding.
We study the impact of uncertainty on optimal greenhouse gas (GHG) emission policies for a...
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