Benefits & Costs of Kyoto

27 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2000

Date Written: May 1999


The 1998 Kyoto protocol signalled a new earnestness of international intent toward addressing the perceived risk of climate change. Kyoto demands that developed nations turn their economies so as to hit differentiated, sub-1990 level carbon emission targets within the next decade or so. But when thinking of the Kyoto protocol imagine trying to turn a battleship on a dime with a third of the crew on-board. Improbable, but doable...but for what benefit...and at what cost? The magnitude depends on what you choose to believe about the answer to these questions: Are we on the cusp of a catastrophe? Will developing countries ever participate? What will we do with any revenues that are raised in a trading system? Should nations be forced to reduce some fixed percentage of emissions at home? Can carbon sinks reduce costs? Will people adopt new energy-efficient technologies without a price hike in energy? The answers to these questions from economic analysis say that the catastrophes have to be exceedingly likely for Kyoto to make sense.

JEL Classification: H4, Q0

Suggested Citation

Shogren, Jason F., Benefits & Costs of Kyoto (May 1999). Available at SSRN: or

Jason F. Shogren (Contact Author)

University of Wyoming ( email )

Department of Economics
Laramie, WY 82071-3985
United States
307-766-5430 (Phone)
307-766-5090 (Fax)

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