Optimal Use of Carbon Sequestration in a Global Climate Change Strategy: Is There a Wooden Bridge to a Clean Energy Future?
27 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016
Date Written: July 17, 2001
Does temporary sequestration of carbon dioxide have a place in a comprehensive policy for mitigating climate change? Does it buy time for technical change in the energy sector?
Carbon sequestration aims at raising the amount of carbon sequestered in biomass and in soils. Whether it should be part of a global climate mitigation strategy, however, remains controversial. One of the key issues is that, contrary to emission abatement, carbon sequestration might not be permanent. But some argue that even temporary sequestration is beneficial as it delays climate change impacts and buys time for technical change in the energy sector. To rigorously assess these arguments, Lecocq and Chomitz build an intertemporal optimization model in which both sequestration and abatement can be used to mitigate climate change. They confirm that permanent sequestration, if feasible, can be an overall part of a climate mitigation strategy. When permanence can be guaranteed, sequestration is equivalent to fossil-fuel emissions abatement. The optimal use of temporary sequestration, on the other hand, depends mostly on marginal damages of climate change. Temporary sequestration projects starting now, in particular, are not attractive if marginal damages of climate change at current concentration levels are assumed to be low.
This paper - a product of Infrastructure and Environment, Development Research Group - is part of a larger effort in the group to assess policies for mitigating climate change.
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