The cost of mitigation revisited
Estimates of economic implications of climate policy are important inputs into policy-making. Despite care to contextualize quantitative assessments of mitigation costs, one strong view outside academic climate economics is that achieving Paris Agreement goals implies sizable macroeconomic losses. Here, we argue that this notion results from unwarranted simplification or omission of the complexities of quantifying mitigation costs, which generates ambiguity in communication and interpretation. We synthesize key factors influencing mitigation cost estimates to guide interpretation of estimates, for example from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and suggest ways to improve the underlying models. We propose alternatives for the scenario design framework, the framing of mitigation costs and the methods used to derive them, to better inform public debate and policy.