Home > economics of climate change > Climate change – why we can afford to stop it

Climate change – why we can afford to stop it

I haven’t been writing much about the state of economics per se lately, but I am deep into the same issues in another venue: the economics of climate change. The same old mistaken theories are said to have “proved” that the optimal climate policy is to do very little, and do it very slowly.

For a recent round in the struggle against this nonsense, see the report co-authored by a group of 8 economists, “The Economics of 350.” (Yes, we can afford to save the planet; if not, what were saving all that money for?) A short summary with links to the main report can be found in my on-line article at Yale Environment 360, http://e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2200 . The report is sponsored by “Economists for Equity and Environment,” a fairly new, growing organization which is one of the hopeful signs in the U.S. economics profession lately – see http://e3network.org/ . In addition to practical work aplenty that can be found there, be sure to read the group’s manifesto, “Real People, Real Environments, and Realistic Economics.”

– Frank Ackerman

  1. November 5, 2009 at 9:30 am

    There may well be enough earned money to save the planet. The problem lies with LEGAL ACCESS to it, and yes political will of course.

    I think there is a far better, and more advanced approach to such matters. It can be found in my p2pfoundation entry on Transfinancial Economics. It is an evolving project which is not only concerned with climate change but many other issues of great import.

  2. Dave Taylor
    November 7, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    From Frank’s paper, I’m entirely with “Hansen’s scenario, a phaseout of coal use, massive reforestation, and widespread use of carbon capture and storage [to] allow the world to achieve negative net carbon emissions by mid-century and reach 350 ppm by 2100. However, I’m not happy with the science, which seems to be measuring facts and assuming rather than exploring causes and ways of “growing” coastal defences (e.g. artificial reefs deposited by wave-powered electrolysis).

    One of the facts I learned in elementary science was that carbon dioxide is heavier than air, so the only way carbon dioxide can be creating a greenhouse in the upper atmosphere is by its continuous deposition there by airlines in the form of jet exhausts. I also learned about cycles of solar activity, but I can find very little scientific study to back or refute the assertions of sceptics that this is the major cause of the problem. Again, there is more than enough melted polar ice in the atmosphere but very little of it getting into the middle of the Sahara. We could irrigate the Sahara, but if we planted trees there, without bacteria in the soil to supply it would there be enough carbon dioxide there to feed their growth?

    I think we will have to have a Copernican revolution in the understanding of money (i.e. that it represents debt, not value) before Robert will get the legal access and political will that he so rightly sees is required. We have a big debt to pay back to nature.

  3. Norman L. Roth
    December 2, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    Bravo, Paul Davidson, What a pity that the real world doesn’t act “ergodically” !As for the sins of “Climategate”, The academic economics establishment showed them how to “do it”. But those old guys got away with it for sixty years. Google on WEB About. com…Norman L. Roth/Joseph Stiglitz
    Norman L. Roth, author of ‘Telos & Techno:The Teleology of Economic Activity & the Origins of Markets’: Google on WEB, “Norman Roth, Economics” or “Norman Roth, Telos &”

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