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Carbon emissions

The economic benefits of the Kyoto Protocol


The third Conference of the Parties in Kyoto set the target of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by an average of 5.3% with respect to 1990 values by 2008–2012. One of the main objections to the protocol's ratification is that compliance would pose an unbearable economic burden on the countries involved1. But we show here that this is not the case if costs apart from the direct costs of energy production are also considered. Costs are also incurred in rectifying damage to human health, material goods, agriculture and the environment related to greenhouse-gas emissions.

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Figure 1: Annual costs of one kilowatt-hour of electricity in Italy and the shares of technologies for three different cost situations (see text).


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Correspondence to Giulio A. De Leo.

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De Leo, G., Rizzi, L., Caizzi, A. et al. The economic benefits of the Kyoto Protocol. Nature 413, 478–479 (2001).

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