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The Timing of Biological Carbon Sequestration and Carbon Abatement in the Energy Sector Under Optimal Strategies Against Climate Risks

Abstract:
This paper addresses the timing of the use of biological carbon sequestration and its capacity to alleviate the carbon constraint on the energy sector. We constructed a stochastic optimal control model balancing the costs of fossil emission abatement, the opportunity costs of lands allocated to afforestation, and the costs of uncertain climate damages. We show that a minor part of the sequestration potential should start immediately as a "brake", slowing down both the rate of growth of concentrations and the rate of abatement in the energy sector, thus increasing the option value of the emission trajectories. But, most of the potential is put in reserve to be used as a "safety valve" after the resolution of uncertainty, if a higher and faster decarbonization is required: sequestration cuts off the peaks of costs of fossil abatement and postpones the pivoting of the energy system by up to two decades.

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Energy Specializations: Energy Modeling – Other; Energy and the Environment – Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases; Energy and the Environment – Policy and Regulation

JEL Codes:
C59 - Econometric Modeling: Other
Q54 - Climate; Natural Disasters and Their Management; Global Warming
E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General

Keywords: Biological carbon sequestration, climate change CO2 emissions, Response-Sq model

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol27-No3-7


Published in Volume 27, Number 3 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.