New research suggests economic stagnation is no excuse for climate inaction

Jul 03, 2013
New research suggests economic stagnation is no excuse for climate inaction

Policymakers should be paying more, rather than less, attention to tackling climate change in economically tough times, a new study suggests. As economies have stagnated major emitters of CO2 seem unwilling to accept binding emissions reduction targets. But findings, published this week in Nature Climate Change, show the social cost of carbon dioxide is higher in a low economic growth world.

The study by researchers from the Universities of Bristol and Cambridge investigated a range of GDP growth rates from 2008 to 2100 to see what effect they have on the mean Social Cost of CO2 (SCCO2) for a range of economic scenarios. Using data from integrated assessment model, PAGE09—designed to help policy makers understand the costs of climate change—the researchers calculated the cost of emitting an extra tonne of today.

The results show the damage caused by emitting an additional tonne of carbon dioxide today is $107, assuming economic growth of around two per cent per year. The cost if economies continue to stagnate is $138 per tonne, however the mean social cost of CO2 increases when economic growth is slow because the worst occur in a relatively poor world. The results imply that the European is currently around $100 too low.

Mat Hope, a researcher from Bristol's School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, said: "In economically , governments' attention tends to shift away from the issue of climate change. Governments are abandoning climate action as they focus on reviving their economies. But our results show economic stagnation is no excuse for climate inaction. The carbon price should actually be higher if slow economic growth continues."

Explore further: Research shows how natural disturbances affect climate change response strategies

More information: 'The social cost of CO2 in a low-growth world' by Chris Hope and Mat Hope www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate1935.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Global warming slows down world economy: report

Sep 26, 2012

Climate change caused by global warming is slowing down world economic output by 1.6 percent a year and will lead to a doubling of costs in the next two decades, a major new report said.

Recommended for you

US delays decision on Keystone pipeline project

Apr 18, 2014

The United States announced Friday a fresh delay on a final decision regarding a controversial Canada to US oil pipeline, saying more time was needed to carry out a review.

New research on Earth's carbon budget

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Results from a research project involving scientists from the Desert Research Institute have generated new findings surrounding some of the unknowns of changes in climate and the degree to which ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

China says massive area of its soil polluted

A huge area of China's soil covering more than twice the size of Spain is estimated to be polluted, the government said Thursday, announcing findings of a survey previously kept secret.

UN weather agency warns of 'El Nino' this year

The UN weather agency Tuesday warned there was a good chance of an "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world.