Articles | Volume 9, issue 3
Research article
 | Highlight paper
17 Aug 2018
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 17 Aug 2018

A quantitative approach to evaluating the GWP timescale through implicit discount rates

Marcus C. Sarofim and Michael R. Giordano

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Cited articles

Allen, M. R., Fuglestvedt, J. S., Shine, K. P., Reisinger, A., Pierrehumbert, R. T., and Forster, P. M.: New use of global warming potentials to compare cumulative and short-lived climate pollutants, Nat. Clim. Change, 6, 773–776, 2016.
Alvarez, R. A., Pacala, S. W., Winebrake, J. J., Chameides, W. L., and Hamburg, S. P.: Greater focus needed on methane leakage from natural gas infrastructure, P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 109, 6435–6440,, 2012.
Azar, C. and Johansson, D. J. A.: On the relationship between metrics to compare greenhouse gases – the case of IGTP, GWP and SGTP, Earth Syst. Dynam., 3, 139–147,, 2012.
Böhringer, C., Löschel, A., and Rutherford, T. F.: Efficiency gains from “what”-flexibility in climate policy an integrated CGE assessment, Energ. J., 0, 405–424, 2006.
Boucher, O.: Comparison of physically- and economically-based CO2-equivalences for methane, Earth Syst. Dynam., 3, 49–61,, 2012
Short summary
The 100-year GWP is the most widely used metric for comparing the climate impact of different gases such as methane and carbon dioxide. However, there have been recent arguments for the use of different timescales. This paper uses straightforward estimates of future damages to quantitatively determine the appropriate timescale as a function of how society discounts the future and finds that the 100-year timescale is consistent with commonly used discount rates.
Final-revised paper