Implementing an effective climate policy is one of the main challenges for the future. Curbing greenhouse gas emissions can prevent future irreversible impacts of climate change. Climate policy is therefore crucial for present and future generations. Nonetheless, one may wonder whether future economic and social development could be harmed by climate policy. This paper addresses this question by examining recent developments in international climate policy and considering different levels of cooperation that may arise in light of the outcomes of the Conference of the Parties held in Doha. The paper analyses how various climate policy scenarios would enhance sustainability and whether there is a trade-off between climate policy and economic development and social cohesion. This is done by using a new comprehensive indicator, the FEEM Sustainability Index (FEEM SI), which aggregates several economic, social, and environmental indicators. The FEEM SI is built into a recursive-dynamic computable general equilibrium model of the world economy, thus offering the possibility of projecting all indicators into the future and of delivering a perspective assessment of sustainability under different future climate policy scenarios. We find that the environmental component of sustainability improves at the regional and world level thanks to the implementation of climate policies. Overall sustainability increases in all scenarios since the economic and social components are affected negatively yet marginally. This analysis does not include explicitly climate change damages and this may lead to underestimating the benefits of policy actions. If the USA, Canada, Japan and Russia did not contribute to mitigating emissions, sustainability in these countries would decrease and the overall effectiveness of climate policy in enhancing global sustainability would be offset.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
We sent questionnaires to 60 experts. Among all responses we selected only those complete and non-contradictory.
The analysis considers only CO2 as the main source of GHGs emissions from fossil fuels combustion.
The decision to phase out nuclear power, undertaken by the Japanese government after the Fukushima disaster in 2011, will likely make future emission reduction more challenging without a large deployment of renewable energy technologies (IGES 2012).
Rest of the World includes all countries not joining the Convention and few countries which are a part of the Convention but are included in a macro-region because of modelling purposes.
In the Low pledges ( global ITS ) scenario the CO2 emission price is 89 US$ per Tons of CO2 for all countries participating in the Kyoto Protocol (excluding China and India); in the High pledges ( global ITS ) scenario, it increases to 109 US$. When introducing the ETS for the sole European market and considering only the low pledges ( Low pledges , EU ETS ), the carbon price remains high (98 US$/T CO2). In the Post-Doha scenario, the price decreases to 73 US$/T CO2.
Elaboration from LIMITS Scenario database (public) (Version 1.0.0) https://tntcat.iiasa.ac.at/LIMITSPUBLICDB
Including these costs in the present analysis is difficult because the methodology requires an ensemble of several models contributing to an integrated assessment which is out of scope of the paper. The alternative would be to use impact and damage functions related to global warming but these stylised reduced forms are not available yet for the sectors, countries and macro-regions considered in this study.
This overall result depends on the subjective weights used in aggregating each component of the sustainability pillars. We acknowledge that aggregating such a heterogeneous set of indicators can be a questionable approach (Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (2009). However, our framework aims at capturing the essence of the concepts of sustainability as a synthesis of different dimensions and subjectivity.
Boehringer C, Loeschel A (2004) Measuring Sustainable Development: The Use of Computable General Equilibrium Models. Discussion Paper No. 04-14. Center for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim
Bosello F, Parrado R (2014) Climate Change Impacts and Market Driven Adaptation: the Costs of Inaction Including Market Rigidities. FEEM Working Paper No. 64.2014
Carraro C, Campagnolo L, Cruciani C, Eboli F, Giove S, Lanzi E, Parrado R, Pinar M, Portale E (2011) FEEM SI Methodological report 2011. Available on line at: http://www.feemsi.org/documents/FEEM%20SI%202011%20Methodological%20Report%202011.pdf
Carraro C, Campagnolo L, Eboli F, Giove S, Lanzi E, Parrado R, Pinar M, Portale E (2013) The FEEM sustainability index: an integrated tool for sustainability assessment. In: Erechtchoukova M G et al. (eds.) Sustainability appraisal: quantitative methods and mathematical techniques for environmental performance evaluation. Springer-Verlag Berlin, Heidelberg
Clarke L, Jiang K, Akimoto K, Babiker M, Blanford G, Fisher-Vanden K, Hourcade J-C, Krey V, Kriegler E, Löschel A, McCollum D, Paltsev S, Rose S, Shukla P R, Tavoni M, van der Zwaan B C C, van Vuuren D P (2014) Assessing transformation pathways. In: Climate change 2014: mitigation of climate change. Contribution of working group III to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change [Edenhofer O, Pichs-Madruga R, Sokona Y, Farahani E, Kadner S, Seyboth K, Adler A, Baum I, Brunner S, Eickemeier P, Kriemann B, Savolainen J, Schlömer S, von Stechow C, Zwickel T, Minx J C (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (2009) Report of the commission on the economic and social progress. Available on line at: http://www.stiglitz-sen-fitoussi.fr/documents/rapport_anglais.pdf
Cruciani C, Giove S, Pinar M, Sostero M (2014) Constructing the FEEM sustainability index: a Choquet-integral application. Ecol Indic 39:189–202
De Waegenaere A, Wakker PP (2001) Nonmonotonic Choquet integrals. J Math Econ 36(1):45–60
Dellink R, Lanzi E, Chateau J, Bosello F, Parrado R, De Bruin K (2014) Consequences of Climate Change Damages for Economic Growth: A Dynamic Quantitative Assessment. OECD Economics Department Working Papers No. 1135. OECD Publishing, Paris, doi: 10.1787/5jz2bxb8kmf3-en
Eboli F, Parrado R, Roson R (2010) Climate change feedback on economic growth: explorations with a dynamic general equilibrium model. Environment and Development Economics Volume 15(5):515–533
Hsu A et al. (2016) 2016 environmental performance index. Yale University, New Haven Available: www.epi.yale.edu
IEA (2010) World energy outlook 2010. OECD/IEA, Paris
IGES (2012) Lessons learnt from the triple disaster in East Japan. IGES Policy Report No.2012-01. Institute for Global Environmental Strategies.
IMF (2010) Wold economic outlook 2010. International Monetary Found
IPCC (2014) Climate change 2014: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Part A: global and sectoral aspects, contribution of working group II to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change [Field, C B, Barros, V R, Dokken, DJ, Mach, K J, Mastrandrea, M D, Bilir, T E, Chatterjee M, Ebi, K L, Estrada, Y O, Genova, R C, Girma, B, Kissel, E S, Levy, A N, MacCracken, S, Mastrandrea, P R, White, L L (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1132 pp.
Kates RW, Parris T, Leiserowitz A (2005) What is sustainable development? Goals, indicators, values and practice. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development 47(3):8–21
Kriegler E, Tavoni M, Aboumahboub T, Luderer G, Calvin K, De Maere G, Krey V, Riahi K, Rosler H, Schaeffer M, van Vuuren D (2013) What does the 2C target imply for a global climate agreement in 2020? The LIMITS study on Durban platform scenarios. Climate Change Economics 4(4)
Murofushi T, Sugeno M, Machida M (1994) Non-monotonic fuzzy measures and the Choquet integral. Fuzzy Sets Syst 64(1):73–86
OECD (2014) How's life? 2015: measuring well-being. OECD Publishing, Paris
OECD (2015) The economic consequences of climate change. OECD Publishing, Paris
Parrado R, De Cian E (2014) Technology spillovers embodied in international trade: intertemporal, regional and sectoral effects in a global CGE framework. Energy Econ 41(2014):76–89
Parris TM, Kates RW (2003) Characterizing and measuring sustainable development. Annu Rev Environ Resour 28(1):559–586
Prescott-Allen R (2001) The well-being of nations. Island Press, Washington, DC
Riahi K, Kriegler E, Johnson N, Bertram C, den Elzen M, Eom J, Schaeffer M, Edmonds J, Isaac M, Krey V, Longden T, Luderer G, Méjean A, McCollum D L, Mima S, Turton H, Van Vuuren D P, Wada K, Bosetti V, Capros P, Criqui P, Hamdi-Cherif M, Kainuma M, Edenhofer O. (2015) Locked into Copenhagen pledges — implications of short-term emission targets for the cost and feasibility of long-term climate goals. Tech. For. Soc. Chang. 90 (PA) (2015) 8–23
Singh M, Gupta D (2009) An overview of sustainability assessment methodologies. Ecol Indic 9:189–212
UN (2015) Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development United Nations 2015. United Nations. Available at https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld/publication
UNDP (2015) Human Development Report 2015. United Nations Development Programme. Available at: http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/2015_human_development_report.pdf
UNFCCC (2008) The Kyoto Protocol, Unfccc.int. 2008–05-14. http://unfccc.int/kyoto_protocol/background/items/3145.php. Retrieved 2009–05-21
UNFCCC (2009) Draft decision −/CP.15 Proposal by the President. Copenhagen Accord. Available at http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2009/cop15/eng/l07.pdf
UNFCCC (2011a) Compilation of economy-wide emission reduction targets to be implemented by Parties included in Annex I to the Convention. Available at http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2011/sb/eng/inf01r01.pdf
UNFCCC (2011b) Compilation of information on nationally appropriate mitigation actions to be implemented by Parties not included in Annex I to the Convention. Available at: http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2011/awglca14/eng/inf01.pdf
World Bank (2010) World development indicators – population, total. Available on line at: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOT
World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) (1987) Our common future. Published as annex to general assembly document a/42/427, development and international Co-operation: environment August 2, 1987. Retrieved, 2007.11.14
World Economic Forum (2013) The global gender gap report 2013. World Economic Forum
This paper is part of the research of the Climate Change Economic Impacts and Adaptation of the Fondazione Eni EnricoMattei. We would like to thank the reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions.
Electronic Supplementary Material
About this article
Cite this article
Campagnolo, L., Carraro, C., Davide, M. et al. Can climate policy enhance sustainability?. Climatic Change 137, 639–653 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-016-1701-6