Żebrowski, P., Dieckmann, U., Brännström, Å., Franklin, O., & Rovenskaya, E. (2022). Sharing the Burdens of Climate Mitigation and Adaptation: Incorporating Fairness Perspectives into Policy Optimization Models. In Sustainability (Vol. 14, Issue 7). https://doi.org/10.3390/su140737372
Mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change can be addressed only through the collective action of multiple agents. The engagement of involved agents critically depends on their perception that the burdens and benefits of collective action are distributed fairly. Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs), which inform climate policies, focus on the minimization of costs and the maximization of overall utility, but they rarely pay sufficient attention to how costs and benefits are distributed among agents. Consequently, some agents may perceive the resultant model-based policy recommendations as unfair. In this paper, the authors propose how to adjust the objectives optimized within IAMs so as to derive policy recommendations that can plausibly be presented to agents as fair. They review approaches to aggregating the utilities of multiple agents into fairness-relevant social rankings of outcomes, analyze features of these rankings, and associate with them collections of properties that a model’s objective function must have to operationalize each of these rankings within the model. Moreover, for each considered ranking, the authors propose a selection of specific objective functions that can conveniently be used for generating this ranking in a model. Maximizing these objective functions within existing IAMs allows exploring and identifying climate polices to which multiple agents may be willing to commit.