Archive for June, 2007


Thursday, June 21st, 2007

In any discussion about climate change, you will almost certainly hear the claim that reducing our greenhouse gas emissions will harm the economy. Even proponents of climate policy seem to take this as a given when they argue that environmental protection justifies the economic costs that could result.

The view seems to make intuitive sense: greenhouse gas emissions result from energy use, efforts to reduce emissions will make energy more expensive, higher energy prices will hinder economic activity and thereby harm the overall economy. For all its intuitive certainty, however, the view that increasing energy prices must necessarily harm the economy is patently false. Basic economic principles instead suggest that including a price on pollution would lead to an overall economic improvement. In this post, I’ll explain why. (more…)

Climate Management 101 — 2. Externalities and Evaluation of Connectivity.

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

Climate Management 101 — 2. Externalities and Evaluation of Connectivity.

In the first blog of this series, I posed that addressing the climate change problem required a sustained diligence of management. In setting the foundation for that management, I maintained it was important to embrace a portfolio of approaches to the problems and the development of a portfolio of policies and practices that comprise the “solution” to the problem. There are both short-term and long-term considerations, and policies and practices that are part of the short-term may or may not be sustained in the long term.

The climate change problem does not reside in isolation. Concerns about climate change follow from easy consumption of fossil fuels. The climate change problem is tightly correlated with energy use and, therefore, economic success. Energy demand and energy policy are controversial issues independent of any concerns about climate change. Because the time scales of the energy problem are short and because the economic implications are large and tangible, it is natural for energy issues to take prominence over the climate issues. Alternatively, because many of our approaches to address the energy problem are also beneficial to the climate problem, it is easy to fall into the comfort that the climate problem will be solved as a residue of our addressing the energy problem. Energy policy and energy security sit along with climate change as major national and international issues, and solutions to the energy problem do not necessarily address the climate problem. (more…)