Connecting Climate Science and Economics, Part 3

In this post I am going to give a summary of the third part of Climate Economics: The State of the Art by Frank Ackerman and Elizabeth Stanton of the Stockholm Environment Institute, concerning recent research in the economics of mitigation and adaptation. Part 1, with a discussion of newest results from the climate science, can be found here. Part 2, summarizing the report’s findings about the economics of climate change, here. Continue reading

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Connecting Climate Science and Economics, Part 2

In this post I am going to give a summary of the second part of Climate Economics: The State of the Art by Frank Ackerman and Elizabeth Stanton of the Stockholm Environment Institute, which deals with recent advances in the economics of climate change. Part 1, with a discussion of newest results from the climate science, can be found here. A summary of the above report’s overview of research in the economics of mitigation and adaptation will follow. Continue reading

Connecting Climate Science and Economics, Part 1

2007 and 2006 marked two important milestones in the climate science and the economics of climate change, respectively. The former was the highly authoritative 4th Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the latter the more controversial Stern Review. Since then, a lot changed in both fields, as the understanding of the climate dynamics improved, and, on the other hand, the debate triggered by the Stern Review brought a number of new, innovative approaches to the economics of climate change. An important issue was to restore the connection between climate science and economics that appears to have been lost some time in the late 90’s (on which I commented here). Now, a comprehensive review of the improvements in both fields has been prepared by Frank Ackerman and Elizabeth Stanton of the Stockholm Environment Institute (Climate Economics: The State of the Art). In the following I am going to summarize the report’s most important and interesting findings in the area of climate science. Overviews of advances in climate economics in general, and in the economics of mitigation and adaptation will follow. Continue reading

GM Food: Another Case for the Economics of Uncertainty

Here you can find my updated standpoint toward genetically engineered crops.

The discussion about the use of genetically modified organisms in agriculture is one of the most heated environmental debates of the present. While some claim that Europe’s opposition to GM crops is “arrogant hypocrisy” and dooms Africa to hunger, others answer that the so-called green biotechnology only promotes superweeds, food insecurity and pesticides. It is indeed a very complicated subject where the treatment of uncertain hazards plays a significant role – similar to the nuclear power or climate change debates. I already once wrote a piece about the socio-economic aspects of GMO, but it was, admittedly, rather superficial. After having discussed uncertainty aspects more broadly and in the field of climate change in more recent entries, today I am going to try to give a broader, more balanced look on GMO with the focus on decision-making under uncertainty. Continue reading

Climate Change and Uncertainty

Probably the main reason why we cannot agree on what to do about anthropogenic climate change is that we seem not to understand the inherent, deep uncertainty of the problem. A few days ago I wrote a more general post about the importance of uncertainty in decision-making, so I won’t repeat the argumentation here. I just would like to focus on the specific problem of uncertainty in climate policy, and present a possible approach. Continue reading

Uncertainty and Decision-Making

How long can an ecosystem endure pressures without collapsing? How high is the climate sensitivity? What are the long-term consequences of growing and consuming GMO? How much renewable energy is feasible? How many species can get extinct without destabilizing an ecosystem? What is the (future expected) value of biodiversity? How long will oil, coal and uranium last? How large are the dangers from nuclear power? These are a few important questions that are highly uncertain. We probably cannot answer them exactly – at least not ex ante. So, how to deal with uncertainty when it comes to decision-making? Continue reading