Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate models underestimate costs to future generations

Date:
April 8, 2014
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
Future generations will have to pay more for today's carbon emissions than what governments across the world currently understand. The climate models used by policymakers around the world to estimate the economic and social costs of CO2 emissions have to be improved according to experts.

Flooded street. Future generations will have to pay more for today's carbon emissions than what governments across the world currently understand.
Credit: fotonazario / Fotolia

Future generations will have to pay more for today's carbon emissions than what governments across the world currently understand. The climate models used by policymakers around the world to estimate the economic and social costs of CO2 emissions have to be improved according to Thomas Sterner, professor of Environmental Economics at the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, and six other scientists in the journal Nature.

The seven scientists behind the article, due to be published 10 April, conclude that the reports by the UN climate panel serve an important function in setting the agenda for climate research. Yet the most important role of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is to inform the global political discussion on how the harm caused by climate change should be handled.

Thomas Sterner, expert on policy instruments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is a Coordinating Lead Author of one key chapter on policy instruments in the Working Group III of the Fifth Assessment Report of the UN (IPCC) climate report that is scheduled to be presented on Sunday 13 April in Berlin.

'Our purpose with this article in Nature is to discuss models that will enable us to calculate a necessary minimum level for the global environmental damage of emitting an additional ton of carbon dioxide. This cost is very relevant given the attempts of the White House to raise the so-called social cost of carbon in the U.S. to 37 dollars per ton. All U.S. authorities (such as the Departments of Energy or Transport) must take this cost into account in calculations of investments in roads and energy supply,' says Sterner.

The social cost of carbon correspond to the money saved when damages due to climate change are avoided as a result of the countries of the world undertaking policy that leads to reduced emissions of CO2.

'Sweden has already gone further than what the U.S. is discussing, since we have a CO2 tax of about USD 150 per ton, or SEK 1 per kilo, of CO2 emissions from transports and energy,' says Sterner.

The article in Nature is entitled "Improve Economic Models of Climate Change." The authors point to several weaknesses of the most commonly used climate models. However, they write that the models are useful, notwithstanding the significant uncertainties -- since they do provide a minimum level and thus enable politicians to reduce the effects of climate change to some extent.

Also, the authors continue, modelers, economists and natural scientists must leave their ivory towers and cooperate with each other in order to identify research gaps and weaknesses, with a view to continuously improve their models. Economic climate models need to be updated more often to keep up with new research findings. If this is not done, the damage caused by CO2 emissions will be underestimated also in the future, which means that political decision-making around the world will continue to underestimate the true economic effects of climate change.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Richard L. Revesz, Peter H. Howard, Kenneth Arrow, Lawrence H. Goulder, Robert E. Kopp, Michael A. Livermore, Michael Oppenheimer and Thomas Sterner. Global warming: Improve economic models of climate change. Nature, 2014 DOI: 10.1038/508173a

Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Climate models underestimate costs to future generations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140408111534.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2014, April 8). Climate models underestimate costs to future generations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140408111534.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Climate models underestimate costs to future generations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140408111534.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Will Climate Rallies Spur Change?

Will Climate Rallies Spur Change?

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) Organizers of the People's Climate March and other rallies taking place in 166 countries hope to move U.N. officials to action ahead of their summit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Accompanied by drumbeats, wearing costumes and carrying signs, thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Manhattan and other cities around the world on Sunday to urge policy makers to take action on climate change. (Sept. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

AFP (Sep. 20, 2014) Some 125 world leaders are expected to commit to action on climate change at a UN summit Tuesday called to inject momentum in struggling efforts to tackle global warming. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins