We study the impact of timing and commitment on adaptation and mitigation policies in the context of international environmental problems. Adaptation policies present the characteristics of a private good and may require a prior investment, while mitigation policies produce a public good. By developing a stylized model, where some countries coordinate their actions while others do not, we evaluate the impact of strategic commitment and leadership considerations on abatement and adaptation levels, global and individual emissions and environmental costs. Crucially, global and individual environmental costs suffered by countries are found to be greater when adaptation measures can be used strategically.
Published January 2016 , 19 pages