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EMF OP 47: The IPCC Energy Assessment

These papers provide many policyrelevant analytic insights, and good discussions of a number of keypolicy issues, but in line with my assignment to comment on thebroadest conceptual pieces I will discuss only three major policyinsights: timing of emissions reductions, international cooperation incontrolling emissions, and hedging against low probability highconsequences climate events; and three important underlying technicalissues – top down versus bottom up modeling, revenue recycling and therole of R&D as a climate change policy option. However, I wouldlike to start with an observation about how the policy guidanceproffered in this issue and what has actually been proposed thus far inthe international negotiation process, and that is that there is atpresent little connection between the two. The analyses presented heresuggest the comprehensiveness and flexibility in the design of climatechange policies, with frequent modifications based on new informationand analyses, whereas the policy proposals put forward thus far havetended to be fairly rigid and permanent. It is almost as if the policyprocess as unwittingly framed the climate change problem as an all ornothing choice concerning whether not substantial reductions in carbonemissions should be undertaken immediately, whereas most analysessuggest that we ought to process incrementally toward a long-runtransition to a less carbon intensive world economy.