Optimal Learning on Climate Change: Why Climate Skeptics should reduce Emissions
AbstractClimate skeptics argue that the possibility that global warming is exogenous implies that we should not take additional action towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions until we know more. However this paper shows that even climate skeptics have an incentive to reduce emissions: such a change of direction facilitates their learning process on the causes of global warming. Since the optimal policy action depends on these causes, they are valuable to know. Although an increase in emissions would also ease learning, that option is shown to be inferior because emitting greenhouse gases is irreversible. Consequently the policy implications of the different positions in the global warming debate turn out to coincide - thereby diminishing the relevance of this debate from a policy perspective. Uncertainty is no reason for inaction.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 12-085/2.
Date of creation: 20 Aug 2012
Date of revision:
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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl
climate policy; global warming; climate skepticism; active learning; irreversibilities;
Other versions of this item:
- Sweder van Wijnbergen & Tim Willems, 2013. "Optimal Learning on Climate Change: Why climate skeptics should reduce emissions," OxCarre Working Papers 111, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
- D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search, Learning, and Information
- Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters
- Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-09-03 (All new papers)
- NEP-ENE-2012-09-03 (Energy Economics)
- NEP-ENV-2012-09-03 (Environmental Economics)
- NEP-PKE-2012-09-03 (Post Keynesian Economics)
- NEP-RES-2012-09-03 (Resource Economics)
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