EMF Publications

EMF OP 47 The IPCC Energy Assessment

Occasional Paper

John P. Weyant - Stanford University

Published by
Stanford University and Energy Policy Special Issue: Energy and Greenhouse Has Mitigation: The IPCC Report and Beyond (1996), Vol. 24 No 10/11

These papers provide many policy relevant analytic insights, and good discussions of a number of key policy issues, but in line with my assignment to comment on the broadest conceptual pieces I will discuss only three major policy insights: timing of emissions reductions, international cooperation in controlling emissions, and hedging against low probability high consequences climate events; and three important underlying technical issues – top down versus bottom up modeling, revenue recycling and the role of R&D as a climate change policy option. However, I would like to start with an observation about how the policy guidance proffered in this issue and what has actually been proposed thus far in the international negotiation process, and that is that there is at present little connection between the two. The analyses presented here suggest the comprehensiveness and flexibility in the design of climate change policies, with frequent modifications based on new information and analyses, whereas the policy proposals put forward thus far have tended to be fairly rigid and permanent. It is almost as if the policy process as unwittingly framed the climate change problem as an all or nothing choice concerning whether not substantial reductions in carbon emissions should be undertaken immediately, whereas most analyses suggest that we ought to process incrementally toward a long-run transition to a less carbon intensive world economy.