The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change Page: 42
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The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change
Economic Benefits of Different Stabilisation Targets
The section above summarises the effects of climate change without further action. It is important to
also assess the benefits of potential stabilisation targets50, expressed either in relation to CO2
concentrations (e.g. 450, 550, and 650 CO2 equivalent ppm concentrations) or to temperature change
such as a limit of a 2'C rise above pre-industrial level. This provides the analysis of the potential
benefits of future mitigation policy. The study has used a number of models to investigate the
potential social costs associated with different stabilisation targets, compared to a business as usual
run. In comparing different analysis, it is important to be specific about the targets considered (see
Specifying Stabilisation Targets
In assessing the benefits of potential targets, it is important to specify a number of assumptions. For example,
whether a target relates to a CO2 concentration in the atmosphere (e.g. 550 CO2 ppmv) or an equivalent CO2
concentration including all greenhouse gases (e.g. 550 CO2equiv ppmv). Likewise, when considering a climate
target that should not exceed 2C above pre-industrial levels, it is important to note if this is based on a specific
climate sensitivity (e.g. 2.5C for a doubling of pre-industrial levels). For this analysis, we have used recent
conversion factors for converting temperature targets into greenhouse gas concentration/radiative forcing targets
as CO2 equivalent concentrations (note these are different from GWP).
Conversion table Stabilisation Target for >2100
CO2 (ppmv) CO2 (ppmv)
350 + other 400
390 + other 450
470 + other 550
550 + other 650
Source: Detlef van Vuuren. Options and Challenges for Post-Kyoto Regimes. Presented at the EC workshop on
Climate Policy Post 2012. 9th November, 2004. Brussels. Based on Meinshausen, 2004.
Knowledge Elicitation of Experts
Recent work51, has undertaken an expert consultation on the importance of main factors driving
climate change valuation and responses to specific scenarios. The scenarios assessed included:
* Three temperature scenarios, including scenarios of surprises;
* Market and non-market damages, and inclusion of socially contingent effects, with and without
* Different discount rates and equity schemes.
The analysis was undertaken with 14 experts. The range of responses to the various scenarios,
expressed as a social cost of carbon in /tC is shown below
50 Note given historical and current emissions, we are already committed to some level of warming and climate change.
51 Tom Downing, at the Stockholm Environment Institute (Oxford office), as part of recent work for Defra in the UK on the
social costs of carbon
AEA Technology Environment, August 2005
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Watkiss, Paul; Downing, Tom; Handley, Claire & Butterfield, Ruth. The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change, text, September 2005; Oxford, England. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29337/m1/53/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .