Climate Change

For general information on climate change, I would suggest the site of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC.

Below are elements on my own work on climate change. For a synthesis, see my paper in the International Review for Environmental Strategies.

The most important question is how to progressively integrate all countries into climate change mitigation efforts.

  • In 1999, I have suggested the option of "non-binding targets" for developing countries. My first paper was presented at the Fourth OECD Forum on Climate Change. The final version was published in Energy Policy and is available here.
  • In 2001 I published with Jonathan Pershing, head of the Energy and Environment Division at the International Energy Agency an assessment of the diverse options for future commitments by developing countries, in Climate Policy. Here is it.
  • In october 2002 the IEA published a book I wrote together with Jonathan Pershing, head of the Energy and Environment Division, entitled "Beyond Kyoto - Energy Dynamics and Climate Stabilisation". It can be downloaded here (1,7 Mb).
  • This is one of the presentation I made of this book. In December 2003, at the occasion of the Ninth Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change, the IEA has published an updated summary of this book. Here is how I now summarise its lessons.
  • In March 2003, I wrote a short note on the price cap concept with Patrick Criqui (IEPE) for the RFF-IFRI workshop on next steps beyond Kyoto.
  • In June 2003, the Annex I Expert Group to the UNFCCC released an OECD/IEA information paper about the future of the Convention, entitled "Evolution of Mitigation Commitments: Some Key Issues". I wrote it with Jonathan Pershing (IEA), Jan Corfee Morlot and Stephane Willems at the OECD Environment Directorate. Please download it here.
  • A follow-up is this paper I wrote with Julia Reinaud for a discussion in an AIXG seminar open to developing country representatives. All you always wanted to know about emissions trading.  
  • A recent paper, released in June by the so-called "Annex I Expert Group on the UNFCCC" explores the approaches for future international co-operation against climate change. Here is an overview of future possible architectures presented at a meeting in Beijing, in english and chinese. This paper has been followed by two others. One investigates the compatibility of new (quantitative) commitments options with emissions trading, the other how one could think of integrating very different approaches in a single international agreement.
  • I wrote in September 2005 a paper on solar thermal, for low temperature heat, high temperature heat, production of electricity and fuels, at the request of the InterAcademy Council. I further developed the analysis of barriers to technology diffusion with the case of solar thermal technologies.

Another area of research has been discounting. Mitigating climate change would cost today, but the benefits will only appear in the future. Discounting would give these benefits (the avoided climate damages) a low value. How does the theory of discounting confront with the climate change issue - or more generally with future generations and the environment? In 2003 I wrote a review, Discounting the Future, for the Ecological Economics On-line Encyclopedia. A peer-reviewed and updated version is chapter 10 of a new book edited by David J. Pannell and Steven G.M. Schilizzi, Economics and the Future. You can also get my paper in Energy Policy  vol. 27 n15, dated December 1999. And for those who whish to read my unpublished paper referenced in the former (Philibert, 1996), here is this text on the isolation paradox.

The clean development mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol allows crediting investors of "certified emission reductions" from projects in developing countries. But how to compute the reference emissions - what would have happened otherwise? For an economist, the only appropriate method is to calculate what investment would have provided the largest net present value and to compare with the project under the CDM. See here "an economic approach of environmental additionality".

In 2000, I looked at the possible linkages between local and global environmental issues in three countries, China, India and Mexico. Here is this paper.