The economics of atmosphere monitoring systems: Theory and applications

  • Sassone P
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In recent years there has been increasing concern with the possibility that man's terrestrial economic activities of production, distribution, and con- sumption contribute pollutants to the environment in sufficient quantities to up- set naturally existing chemical equilibria in the atmosphere. Such inadvertent anthropogenic phenomena have become associated with possible changes in climate (temperature, precipitation, and ultraviolet radiation) whose long term consequences may be serious, if not disastrous. Among other societal reactions to this problem, proposals for various environment monitoring systems have been proffered. Such systems, often envisioned as satellite-based, are costly and their benefits often appear largely intangible. In this research we develop a general methodology for identifying and estimating the economic benefits of environ- ment monitoring systems, and we apply the methodology to the cases of strato- spheric ozone depletion and aerosol accumulation. The research synthesizes numerous recent efforts in atmospheric chemistry, climatology, engineering, policy analysis, and primarily economic cost benefit analysis. We find that over a broad range of alternative assumptions and parameter choices, the present value of the economic benefits of an ozone/aerosol monitoring system in the range of $0.5 to $2,0 billion. Somewhat surprisingly, the higher values are associated with the smaller deleterious ozone/aerosol atmospheric trends.

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  • P.G. Sassone

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