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A Smart Energy PolicyAn Economist's Rx for Balancing Cheap, Clean, and Secure Energy$
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James M. Griffin

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780300149852

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300149852.001.0001

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Climate Change and the Search for Clean Energy

Climate Change and the Search for Clean Energy

(p.103) Chapter 4 Climate Change and the Search for Clean Energy
A Smart Energy Policy

James M. Griffin

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on the science, economics, and engineering aspects of reducing CO2 emissions. Carbon dioxide poses a different problem than other pollutants because it remains suspended in the atmosphere for very long periods of time and its effects are not limited to the emitting country's borders. Even if emissions were stabilized at current rates, CO2 concentrations would continue to rise for a number of years. Increased economic development will only accelerate the rate of increase in CO2 concentrations. The benefits from carbon abatement, although small today, are likely to increase significantly in the future as CO2 concentrations reach much higher levels. Even though the benefit–cost paradigm gives a clear conceptual framework for finding the optimal combination of strategies, solving the problem mathematically is fraught with practical difficulties.

Keywords:   CO2 emissions, carbon dioxide, CO2 concentrations, carbon abatement

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