CICERO - Senter for klimaforskning

Conflicts of interests by limiting global warming to +3C

Asbjørn Aaheim, Taoyuan Wei, Bård Romstad

This paper combines available assessments on the impacts of climate change with climate projections from an earth system model to estimate the economic consequences for 15 sectors in 11 world regions. If the standard way of thinking about how economies work, the theory of market equilibrium, applies. The aim is to identify potential sources of conflicts between economic interests if the world succeeds in reducing emissions from a pathway with high emissions, where temperatures increase at around +6 °C in 2100 to a lower emission path, where the temperatures increase by +3 °C. Both pathways are recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as standard descriptions of anthropogenic drivers for climate modelling. It is difficult to identify conflicts between developed and developing regions, but conflicts between sector interests are apparent. Fossil fuel extracting industries lose by mitigation in all regions. Nearly all other sectors gain in all regions. The results also reveal potential conflicts between socioeconomic groups. The main challenges relate to conflicts of interest between generations. The present generation can commence on a transformation to low-carbon economies without notable economic consequences, but the next generation stands to lose, while generations beyond will clearly gain.

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