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Publication Detail
Economic implications and decision-making in the face of global warming
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Article
  • Authors:
    Ekins P
  • Publisher:
    UNIV PRESS NEW ENGLAND
  • Publication date:
    1996
  • Pagination:
    227, 243
  • Journal:
    INT ENVIRON AFFAIR
  • Volume:
    8
  • Issue:
    3
  • Print ISSN:
    1041-4665
  • Language:
    EN
Abstract
One way to approach decision-making on the issue of global warming is to attempt to perform a cost-benefit analysis. However an this issue problems of valuation, risk and uncertainty, time-discounting, and equity make cost-benefit analysis so inconclusive and controversial that-far from helping decision-making-it is likely to hinder it. An alternative approach involves accepting that climate stability has to be secured on the grounds of environmental sustainability, and determining in principle to undertake the abatement of greenhouse gas emissions that is necessary to achieve this. The timetable of such abatement will obviously depend to some extent on its costs. The evidence on abatement costs suggests that a 20 percent abatement from 1990 levels of carbon dioxide (the principal greenhouse gas) can be achieved in industrial countries at low or no cost by 2010. Application of the sustainability principle suggests that this is a reasonable first target. If deeper cuts in emissions are deemed necessary thereafter they will be achieved more easily and at lower cost than if abatement in the interim is negligible.
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