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Thematic Guide to Integrated Assessment Modeling




A Model for Evaluating Regional and Global Effects of GHG reduction policies

Alan Manne
Department of Operations Research, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA

Robert Mendelsohn
School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511, USA

Richard Richels
Electric Power Research Institute, 3412 Hillview Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94303, USA


MERGE provides a framework for thinking about climate change management proposals. The model is designed to be sufficiently flexible to be used to explore alternative views on a wide range of contentious issues, e.g., costs, damages, valuation, and discounting. We begin with a description of the model's individual components and show how they fit together. We then provide an initial application to illustrate how the framework can be used in the assessment of alternative policy options. Given the level of uncertainty which pervades the climate debate, it would be unrealistic to expect cost-benefit analysis to lead to consensus on a bottom line -- at least any time soon. Rather, models such as MERGE should be viewed as research tools capable of providing insights into which aspects of the debate may be most important. In this way, they can help focus the discussion and identify the areas where additional research may have the highest pay-off.

Keywords: Climate change; Integrated assessment; Cost-benefit analysis


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