Economics at your fingertips  

Closed-loop and congestion control of the global carbon-climate system

Carlos A. Sierra (), Holger Metzler, Markus Müller and Eurika Kaiser ()
Additional contact information
Carlos A. Sierra: Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
Holger Metzler: Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
Markus Müller: Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
Eurika Kaiser: University of Washington

Climatic Change, 2021, vol. 165, issue 1, No 15, 24 pages

Abstract: Abstract The global carbon-climate system is a complex dynamical system with multiple feedbacks among components, and to steer this system away from dangerous climate change, it may not be enough to prescribe action according to long-term scenarios of fossil fuel emissions. We introduce here concepts from control theory, a branch of applied mathematics that is effective at steering complex dynamical systems to desired states, and distinguish between open- and closed-loop control. We attempt (1) to show that current scientific work on carbon-climate feedbacks and climate policy more closely resembles the conceptual model of open- than closed-loop control, (2) to introduce a mathematical generalization of the carbon-climate system as a compartmental dynamical system that can facilitate the formal treatment of the closed-loop control problem, and (3) to formulate carbon-climate control as a congestion control problem, discussing important concepts such as observability and controllability. We also show that most previous discussions on climate change mitigation and policy development have relied on an implicit assumption of open-loop control that does not consider frequent corrections due to deviations of goals from observations. Using a reduced complexity model, we illustrate that the problem of managing the global carbon cycle can be abstracted as a network congestion problem, accounting for nonlinear behavior and feedback from a global carbon monitoring system. As opposed to scenarios, the goal of closed-loop control is to develop rules for continuously steering the global carbon-climate system away from dangerous climate change.

Keywords: Global carbon cycle; Nonlinear control; Climate policy; Dynamical systems; Earth system dynamics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) Abstract (text/html)
Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from

DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03040-0

Access Statistics for this article

Climatic Change is currently edited by M. Oppenheimer and G. Yohe

More articles in Climatic Change from Springer
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Sonal Shukla () and Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing ().

Page updated 2023-05-18
Handle: RePEc:spr:climat:v:165:y:2021:i:1:d:10.1007_s10584-021-03040-0