The choice of climate metric is of limited importance when ranking options for abatement of near-term climate forcers
Journal article, 2019

The practice of using climate metrics to estimate carbon dioxide equivalent emissions has long been subject to scientific discussion. One strand of this literature has analysed whether the choice of metric affects the relative cost-effectiveness of options for climate change abatement, but there has been little discussion on the effect of metric choices on cost-effective abatement of near-term climate forcers (NTCFs). These NTCFs are air pollutants primarily regulated by policies outside the climate policy arena and their estimated carbon dioxide equivalent emissions are not typically considered in the evaluation of cost-effective abatement. However, the attention to NTCFs as climate forcers has increased during the last decade. The objective of this paper is to identify whether the relative cost-effectiveness of different NTCF abatement options is robust to climate metric choices. We assess nine plausible NTCF abatement options available in Sweden (with negligible effect on long-lived GHG emissions) and evaluate the robustness of the ranking of these, according to their estimated cost-effectiveness. Different metric designs are considered as well as climate impact uncertainty of NTCFs, with corresponding uncertainty in metric values. The results indicate that the choice of metric has little effect on the ranking of the options according to their cost-effectiveness, with options affecting NO x indicated as an exception. This suggests that the choice of metric utilised when calculating cost-effectiveness of NTCF abatement options is likely to have minor effect on which NTCF abatement options should be targeted for policy interventions (if NO x emissions are not significantly affected).


Stefan Åström

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

Daniel Johansson

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Climatic Change

0165-0009 (ISSN) 1573-1480 (eISSN)

Vol. 154 3-4 401-416

Subject Categories

Other Environmental Engineering

Energy Systems

Climate Research



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