chapter 9. International environmental problems. Learning objectives. How do international environmental problems differ from national (or sub-national) problems? What additional issues are raised by virtue of an environmental problem being international?
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International environmental problems
The payoff matrix here has a structure of payoffs known as a Prisoners’ Dilemma
X and Y are two countries, each of which faces a choice of whether to abate pollution or not to abate pollution (labelled ‘Pollute’). Pollution abatement is assumed to be a public good so that abatement by either country benefits both. Abatement comes at a cost of 7 to the abater, but confers benefits of 5 to both countries. If both abate both experience benefits of 10 (and each experiences a cost of 7).
Figure 9.3 The two-player pollution abatement Prisoners’ Dilemma game: ordinal form
NBP = a + bK;
NBA = c + dK
where a, b, c and d are parameters.
NBP = a + bK;
NBA = c + dK
Figure 10.7 The payoffs to one country from abating and from not abating as the number of other countries abating varies.
Figure 9.8 The payoffs to one country from abating and from not abating as
the number of other countries abating varies: alternative set of parameter values
Figure 9.9 The payoffs to one country from abating and from not abating as the number of other countries abating varies: third set of parameter values (a = 0, b =5, c = 3 and d = 3)
Figure 9.10 A comparison of the non-cooperative and full cooperative solutions to an environmental public good problem
Three assertions about the effectiveness of IEAs seem to emerge from the theoretical literature, all of which imply somewhat pessimistic results:
Role of commitment
Transfers and side-payments
Linkage benefits and costs and reciprocity
Figure 9.13 Estimate of the Earth’s annual and global mean energy balance
Over the long term, the amount of incoming solar radiation absorbed by the Earth and atmosphere is balanced by the Earth and atmosphere releasing the same amount of outgoing longwave radiation. About half of the incoming solar radiation is absorbed by the Earth’s surface. This energy is transferred to the atmosphere by warming the air in contact with the surface (thermals), by evapotranspiration and by longwave radiation that is absorbed by clouds and greenhouse gases. The atmosphere in turn radiates longwave energy back to Earth as well as out to space. Source: FAQ 1.1, Figure 1. http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-faqs.pdf.
Fig 9.14Global GHG emissions (in GtCO2-eq per year) in the absence of additional climate policies.
The figure shows six illustrative SRES marker scenarios (coloured lines) and 80th percentile range of recent scenarios published since SRES (post-SRES) (gray shaded area). Dashed lines show the full range of post- SRES scenarios. The emissions include CO2, CH4, N2O and F-gases.
Source: Figure 3.1, IPCC AR4 Synthesis Report, available online at: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr.pdf
Figure 9.15 Multi model averages and assessed ranges for surface warming
There are two ways to move towards a goal of reducing the rate of growth of atmospheric greenhouse-gas concentrations:
Figure 9.16 Global GHG emissions for 2000 and projected baseline emissions for 2030 and 2100 from IPCC SRES and the post-SRES literature
The figure provides the emissions from the six illustrative SRES scenarios. It also provides the frequency distribution of the emissions in the post-SRES scenarios (5th, 25th, median, 75th, 95th percentile), as covered in Chapter 3. F-gases cover HFCs, PFCs and SF6.
Numerical estimates of mitigation potential and mitigation costs Short to medium term GHG mitigation: estimated mitigation costs for the period to 2030
Figure 9.17 Emissions pathways of mitigation scenarios for alternative groups of stabilization targets
The pink area gives the projected CO2 emissions for the recent mitigation scenarios developed post-TAR. Green shaded areas depict the range of more than 80 TAR stabilization scenarios (Morita et al., 2001). Category I and II scenarios explore stabilization targets below the lowest target of the TAR.
Source: IPCC (2007), WGIII. (Based on Nakicenovic et al., 2006, and Hanaoka et al., 2006)
Figure 9.18 The level of carbon prices (or taxes) through time for various mitigation strategies