Difference between revisions of "Van den Berg et al., 2015"

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Publication type: Journal article
Title: Impact of the choice of emission metric on greenhouse gas abatement and costs
Authors: Maarten van den Berg, Andries Hof, Jasper van Vliet, Detlef van Vuuren
Year: 2015
Journal: Environmental Research Letters
Volume: 10
Issue: 2
Link to the PBL-website: http://pblweb10.prolocation.net/en/publications/impact-of-the-choice-of-emission-metric-on-greenhouse-gas-abatement-and-costs
Citation: Maarten van den Berg, Andries Hof, Jasper van Vliet, Detlef van Vuuren (2015). Impact of the choice of emission metric on greenhouse gas abatement and costs. Environmental Research Letters, 10(2).
Link to PBL-website: http://pblweb10.prolocation.net/en/publications/impact-of-the-choice-of-emission-metric-on-greenhouse-gas-abatement-and-costs.


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This paper analyses the effect of different emission metrics and metric values on timing and costs of greenhouse gas mitigation in least-cost emission pathways aimed at a forcing level of 3.5 W m−2 in 2100. Such an assessment is currently relevant in view of UNFCCC's decision to replace the values currently used. An emission metric determines the relative weights of non-CO2 greenhouse gases in obtaining CO2-equivalent emissions. For the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, the UNFCCC has used 100 year global warming potential (GWP) values as reported in IPCC's Second Assessment Report. For the second commitment period, the UNFCCC has decided to use 100 year GWP values from IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report. We find that such a change has only a minor impact on (the optimal timing of) global emission reductions and costs. However, using 20 year or 500 year GWPs to value non-CO2 greenhouse gases does result in a significant change in both costs and emission reductions in our model. CO2 reductions are favored over non-CO2 gases when the time horizon of the GWPs is increased. Application of GWPs with time horizons longer than 100 year can increase abatement costs substantially, by about 20% for 500 year GWPs. Surprisingly, we find that implementation of a metric based on a time-dependent global temperature potential does not necessary lead to lower abatement costs. The crucial factor here is how fast non-CO2 emissions can be reduced; if this is limited, the delay in reducing methane emissions cannot be (fully) compensated for later in the century, which increases total abatement costs.