The Impact of Uncertainty in Climate Targets and CO 2 Storage Availability on Long-Term Emissions Abatement

Ilkka Keppo*, Bob van der Zwaan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


A major characteristic of our global interactive climate-energy system is the large uncertainty that exists with respect to both future environmental requirements and the means available for fulfilling these. Potentially, a key technology for leading the transition from the current fossil fuel-dominated energy system to a more sustainable one is carbon dioxide capture and storage. Uncertainties exist, however, concerning the large-scale implementability of this technology, such as related to the regional availability of storage sites for the captured CO 2. We analyze these uncertainties from an integrated assessment perspective by using the bottom-up model TIAM-ECN and by studying a set of scenarios that cover a range of different climate targets and technology futures. Our study consists of two main approaches: (1) a sensitivity analysis through the investigation of a number of scenarios under perfect foresight decision making and (2) a stochastic programming exercise that allows for simultaneously considering a set of potential future states-of-the-world. We find that, if a stringent climate (forcing) target is a possibility, it dominates the solution: if deep CO 2 emission reductions are not started as soon as possible, the target may become unreachable. Attaining a stringent climate target comes in any case at a disproportionally high price, which indicates that adaptation measures or climate damages might be preferable to the high mitigation costs such a target implies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-191
Number of pages15
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS)
  • Climate change
  • Energy system modeling
  • Mitigation target
  • Storage potential
  • Uncertainty

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