Abstract: In this work we use conceptual mathematical models to explore the role of feedbacks in the coupled climate-economy system under different economic scenarios. We combine different representations of the climate-economy feedback with three scenarios for the global economy: unconstrained background economic growth with slow decoupling of economic production from carbon emissions, economic growth with competition between a high-carbon-intensive and a low-carbon-intensive economy, and the transition to a steady-state economy with a final globally equal distribution of economic production. For each of these scenarios, we explore the implications on climate and its feedback on the economy, how our results are affected by different representations of the climate-economy feedback, and under which conditions the effects of climate change can be kept within acceptable limits. Our results allow not only for a better understanding of the feedbacks between climate and human economic activity, but also provide valuable contributions to research on how the transition to a social and ecological economy might be achieved.
Keywords: Climate change, economic models, environmental limits, steady-state economy