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25 - When technology and climate policy meet: energy technology in an international policy context

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Joseph E. Aldy
Affiliation:
Resources for the Future
Robert N. Stavins
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
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Summary

Introduction

International efforts to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations will ultimately rest on two pillars of climate policy: (1) the architecture and stringency of international agreements to reduce emissions and (2) efforts to speed the development and diffusion of climate-friendly technology. Although emissions mitigation writ large is the central focus of international climate negotiations, technology deployment is a primary means of achieving emissions reductions. The development of cheaper and more effective technologies will be critical for reducing costs and increasing the social and political viability of deep and widespread emissions reductions. Hence, it is important to understand the international context in which new technologies might be used to achieve mitigation and the implications of technological improvements for policy-relevant issues such as regional mitigation costs, the evolution of regional energy systems, and the associated likelihood and extent of national and international mitigation actions.

One avenue for exploring these issues is to conduct experiments using long-term, global, energy-economy-climate models. This is the approach used in this chapter. Although there is an extensive literature that explores international policy issues and technology issues individually using these models, efforts to explore these issues in tandem are more recent. One set of authors has focused on the interaction between international policy and the rate or direction of technological change, building on a recent tradition of incorporating stylistic representations of technological change in formal energy-economy models (see, for example, Goulder and Schneider 1999; Goulder and Mathai 2000; Nordhaus 2002; Popp 2004; Manne and Richels 2002; Messner 1997).

Type
Chapter
Information
Post-Kyoto International Climate Policy
Implementing Architectures for Agreement
, pp. 786 - 821
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009

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