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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 9, issue 3
Earth Syst. Dynam., 9, 1013–1024, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-9-1013-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Earth Syst. Dynam., 9, 1013–1024, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-9-1013-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 17 Aug 2018

Research article | 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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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, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1202407109, 2012.
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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, https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-3-49-2012, 2012
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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.
The 100-year GWP is the most widely used metric for comparing the climate impact of different...
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