Sunday, June 7, 2009

Real Climate Economics -- a new website

A website that’s worth a look: The Real Climate Economics website offers a reader’s guide to the real economics of climate change, an emerging body of scholarship that is consistent with the urgency of the problem as seen from a climate science perspective.

As the climate policy debate intensifies, economic analysis is playing an increasingly central role. The case for inaction is no longer argued on the grounds of skepticism about the science; instead, some have claimed that it will be too expensive to take more than token initiatives. There is now extensive economic analysis that challenges and refutes this idea. The peer-reviewed literature demonstrates that there is rigorous economic support for immediate, large-scale policy responses to the climate crisis.

The articles included here generally reflect and build on the following principles:

  • Risk and uncertainty are fundamental to the climate problem; the magnitude and the irreversibility of uncertain, but possible, worst-case climate impacts dominate the analysis of policy options.
  • Ethics and equity are inseparable from economic analysis; there are deep questions of fairness between rich and poor today, and between present and future generations, at stake in the debate.
  • The severity of the problem and the scope of the required response are so great that marginal analysis of small changes and modest adjustments of market-based instruments are inadequate to the task of understanding and protecting the earth’s climate….
Sand dunes encroaching on Nouakchott, capital of Mauritania, shot by Georg Gerster, NASA

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