Browsing articles tagged with " climate change"
May 11, 2018

Political Economy of the Environment: New video series from Econ4

Econ4 is pleased to announce its new video series on the Political Economy of the Environment, produced in partnership with the University of Massachusetts Amherst department of economics.

Part One: Introduction

  1. The economy & the environment. Are people different from pondweed?
  2. Limits to growth – of what? It’s time for a new formula: grow the good, and shrink the bad.
  3. Political economy. Who wins, who loses, who decides?
  4. Safety, efficiency, sustainability, and justice. What should be the goals in environmental policy?

Part Two: Environmental protection – in theory and practice

  1. What is efficiency? There’s more – and less – to neoclassical efficiency than meets the eye.
  2. Discounting the future. Are the lives of our grandchildren worth less than our own?
  3. The value of a statistical life. How do economists put a monetary value on risks of death?
  4. Externalities. External costs and benefits are not the exception – they’re the rule.
  5. The Coase theorem. Why private bargaining can seldom solve environmental externalities.
  6. The tragedy of the commons. More accurately, the tragedies of open access.
  7. Environmental justice. Defending the right to a clean and safe environment.
  8. Power & the environment. Costs and benefits weighted by the power of those to whom they accrue.
  9. Regulation & environmental protection. Rules as a solution to environmental problems.
  10. Incentive-based environmental policies. Prices as another way to solve environmental problems.
  11. Market failure & government failure. Democracy versus oligarchy: beyond the market-versus-government debate.

Part Three: Global dimensions

  1. Globalization & the environment. The globalization of market failure poses new challenges for governance.
  2. The environmental Kuznets curve. What happens to the environment as per capita income goes up?
  3. Population & the environment. What Malthus got wrong.
  4. Tropical deforestation. How transnational alliances can change balances of power.
  5. Building natural assets. How poverty reduction and environmental protection can go hand-in-hand.
  6. Agriculture & the environment. The costs of industrial agriculture and benefits of ecological agriculture.
  7. Cultivated biodiversity. Small farmers sustain some of the world’s most valuable biodiversity.

Part Four: Climate policy

  1. Climate change. The defining environmental challenge of the 21st century.
  2. Carbon pricing: 1. Why & how? Why we need to put price on fossil carbon, and how we can do it.
  3. Carbon pricing: 2. The social cost of carbon. What should be the price on carbon dioxide emissions?
  4. Carbon pricing: 3. Revenue allocation. The trillion dollar question: who will get the money?
  5. International climate negotiations. No-regrets policies can help overcome myopia and the free rider problem.

Check out the whole series here.

 

Jan 29, 2018

The fossil-free future

The clean energy transition has turned a corner, writes Bill McKibben:

The fossil-fuel industry is no longer minting money. It’s been underperforming the rest of the economy—and no wonder. Sun and wind are ultimately free, and that puts remarkable price pressure on the stuff you have to dig up and burn. Every single day, the electric car moves further along the path from novelty to normal… The question now is not whether big oil is going down; the question is how fast—and how we make sure the transition is a just one.

Read more here.

Jul 3, 2017

This changes not much: performance of moral virtue as politics

Naomi Klein’s book This Changes Everything has attracted many admirers on the left. A thought-provoking exception is economist Peter Dorman, who writes:

[R]edefining politics as the performance of moral virtue rather than the contest for power can provide consolation when political avenues appear to be blocked. Activities of this sort are evaluated according to how expressive they are—how good they make us feel—rather than any objective criterion of effectiveness in achieving concrete goals or altering the balance of political forces.

Read his critique of the book here.

Mar 11, 2017

Crazy subsidies

In a stunning display of how political clout trumps (excuse me) common sense, nations of the world spend trillions every year subsidizing fossil fuels. It’s like paying people to drink poison. Check out one of the latest estimates:

A fossil fuel subsidy is any government policy that lowers the cost of fossil fuel production, raises prices received by producers, or lowers prices paid by consumers: they can consist of tax breaks and direct funding for fossil fuel companies. But subsidies can also consist of loans, price controls, or giveaways in the form of land or water at below market-rates, and many other actions.

They have been so high across the world, finds Dr. Radek Stefanski—an economist at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland— that they are nearly four and a half times higher than previously believed.

So what’s the damage? It’s pretty colossal. For the last year in his model, 2010, Stefanski found that the total global direct and indirect financial costs of all fossil fuel subsidies was $1.82 trillion, or 3.8 percent of global GDP. He also found that the subsidies meant much higher carbon emissions released into our atmosphere.

Remarkably, the International Monetary Fund puts the price tag even higher:

In 2015, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) calculated that global fossil fuel subsidies amounted to a monumental $5.3 trillion, which is 6.5% of global GDP—up from $4.9 trillion in 2013. The IMF even had to revise its old figure for 2011, which originally estimated the global subsidies at 2 trillion dollars. The real figure for 2011, the fund concluded, was $4.2 trillion.

Read more here.

 

Sep 7, 2016

Selling the free market

A “Grassroots Leadership Academy” bankrolled by the Koch brothers seeks to spread the free-market gospel:

One of the sessions, called the “Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” teaches attendees to argue that “a turn away from fossil fuel use would ultimately be disastrous to humanity — especially the poorest of the poor.”

Read more here.

Mar 10, 2016

Common wealth dividends

Peter Barnes explains how protecting the environment and sharing the fruits of our economy more broadly can – and should – go hand-in-hand:

The failure to charge for common wealth — for example, letting polluters dump freely into our atmosphere — leads to what economists call “nega­tive externalities.”  The costs of pollution aren’t paid by polluters; they are shifted to pollutees, nature and future generations.  And this mar­ket failure persists because no living individuals or companies would finan­cially bene­fit from fixing it.
But imagine a system in which everyone benefits from fixing this tragic flaw.  In this system, polluters would pay and all living citizens, as joint benefi­ci­aries and trus­tees of nature’s gifts, would get dividends.  The higher the price for using the commons, the larger the dividends and the lower the externalities.  The health of nature’s gifts would be directly linked to greater income for everyone.

Read more here.

Nov 25, 2015

Another energy future is possible

A new study by Stanford University scientist Mark Jacobson and colleagues offers a blueprint for a fossil-free energy future in the 50 U.S. states and across the globe:

Globally, the transition to clean, renewable energy would create more than 20 million more jobs than would be lost in the transition. It would also stabilize energy costs, thanks to free fuels such as wind, water and the sun; reduce terrorism risk by distributing electricity generation; and eliminate the overwhelming majority of heat-trapping emissions that contribute to climate change.

See an interactive world map here – and read more here.

Jun 17, 2015

Neil Young: Who’s Gonna Stand Up?

Neil Young asks, “Who’s Gonna Stand Up and Save the Earth?”

Source: www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkiRR3T_3NY

Apr 19, 2015

Innovation for the future economy: solar roadways

A century ago, cities were “drowning in horse manure.” Today we are drowning in fossil fuel emissions. It’s time for the transportation revolution of the 21st century. Maybe this will be part of it:

 

Source: http://paksc.org/video/documentaries/246-solar-roadways-the-prototype

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