The Copenhagen Accord: abatement costs and carbon prices resulting from the submissions

As part of the Copenhagen Accord, individual countries have submitted greenhouse gas reduction proposals for the year 2020. This paper analyses the implications for emission reductions, the carbon price, and abatement costs of these submissions.

The submissions of the Annex I (industrialised) countries are estimated to lead to a total reduction target of 12–18% below 1990 levels. The submissions of the seven major emerging economies are estimated to lead to an 11–14% reduction below baseline emissions, depending on international (financial) support. Global abatement costs in 2020 are estimated at about USD 60–100 billion, assuming that at least two-thirds of Annex I emission reduction targets need to be achieved domestically.

The largest share of these costs are incurred by Annex I countries, although the costs as share of GDP are similar for Annex I as a group and the seven emerging economies as a group, even when assuming substantial international transfers from Annex I countries to the emerging economies to finance their abatement costs. If the restriction of achieving two-thirds of the emission reduction target domestically is abandoned, it would more than double the international carbon price and at the same time reduce global abatement costs by almost 25%.


Michel G.J. den Elzen, Andries F. Hof, Angelica Mendoza Beltran, Giacomo Grassi, Mark Roelfsema, Bas van Ruijven, Jasper van Vliet, Detlef P. van Vuuren


Publication title
The Copenhagen Accord: abatement costs and carbon prices resulting from the submissions
Publication date
3 January 2011
Publication type
Environmental Science & Policy, Volume 14, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 28-39
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