Leading in a Global Market : Economics Assistant Professor Derek Lemoine Weighs Options for Climate Management
By Liz Warren-Pederson
Combining policies aimed at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere with those aimed at reducing emissions could decrease CO2 concentrations faster than natural processes alone, according to a new paper co-authored by assistant professor of economics Derek Lemoine and published in Climatic Change.
“There are a lot of levers that we can pull to manage atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration in the long term,” explained Lemoine. “What this paper does is consider the interplay between some of those levers.”
Lemoine and his co-authors modeled a mix of options for achieving long-term climate goals. These options include emission reductions, research and development (R&D) into low-emitting technologies, and negative emission policies that can remove previously emitted carbon from the atmosphere. “We’re looking for the portfolio of policies that minimizes the cost of reaching each long-term climate target,” he said.
“We found a few things that seem intuitive in retrospect,” he continued. “One is that the ability to fund R&D and develop new technologies can greatly lower the cost of attaining the overall target. But that is not a substitute for reducing emissions if we have ambitious targets. These targets don’t leave us time to delay while we wait for new technologies.”