Steering the Climate System: Comment

Linus Mattauch, Damon Matthews, Richard Millar, Armon Rezai, Susan Solomon, Frank Venmans

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Lemoine and Rudik (2017) argue that it is efficient to delay reducing carbon emissions, due to supposed inertia in the climate system's response to emissions. This conclusion rests upon misunderstanding the relevant Earth system modelling: there is no substantial lag between CO2 emissions and warming. Applying a representation of the Earth system that captures the range of responses seen in complex Earth System Models invalidates the original article's implications for climate policy. The least-cost policy path that limits warming to 2°C implies that the carbon price starts high and increases at the interest rate. It cannot rely on climate inertia to delay reducing and allow greater cumulative emissions.
Original languageGerman (Austria)
Pages (from-to)1 - 7
JournalAmerican Economic Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502042 Environmental economics
  • 502027 Political economy
  • 502046 Economic policy
  • 502047 Economic theory

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