Long-Term Mitigation Strategies and Marginal Abatement Cost Curves: A Case Study on Brazil
20 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016
Date Written: March 1, 2014
Decision makers facing abatement targets need to decide which abatement measures to implement, and in which order. This paper investigates the ability of marginal abatement cost (MAC) curves to inform this decision, reanalysing a MAC curve developed by the World Bank on Brazil. Misinterpreting MAC curves and focusing on short-term targets (e.g., for 2020) would lead to under-invest in expensive, long-to-implement and large-potential options, such as clean transportation infrastructure. Meeting short-term targets with marginal energy-efficiency improvements would lead to carbon-intensive lock-ins that make longer-term targets (e.g., for 2030 and beyond) impossible or too expensive to reach. Improvements to existing MAC curves are proposed, based on (1) enhanced data collection and reporting; (2) a simple optimization tool that accounts for constraints on implementation speeds; and (3) new graphical representations of MAC curves. Designing climate mitigation policies can be done through a pragmatic combination of two approaches. The synergy approach is based on MAC curves to identify the cheapest mitigation options and maximize co-benefits. The urgency approach considers the long-term objective (e.g., halving emissions by 2050) and works backward to identify actions that need to be implemented early, such as public support to clean infrastructure and zero-carbon technologies.
Keywords: Climate Change Mitigation and Green House Gases, Climate Change Economics, Energy Production and Transportation, Environment and Energy Efficiency, Energy and Environment
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