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Carbon pricing and the precautionary principle

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  • Quiggin, John

Abstract

The problem of climate change has been described as ‘a unique challenge for economics: it is the greatest and. widest-ranging market failure ever seen’ (Stern 2007, p. i). Among the factors that make climate change a difficult, the most important, arguably, is uncertainty about the future course of climate change, and the effect of policies aimed at mitigating climate change. Although there is a large literature on the economic analysis of choice under uncertainty, many crucial issues are poorly understood by policymakers and the general public. In particular, uncertainty about climate change under ‘business as usual’ policies is commonly seen as a reason for inaction. On the other hand, the widely-used ‘precautionary principle’ is generally interpreted as suggesting that early action is desirable. To resolve the conflict between these intuitions, it is necessary to consider in more detail the principles for choice in the face of environmental uncertainty and, particularly, the interpretation of the precautionary principle.

Suggested Citation

  • Quiggin, John, 2013. "Carbon pricing and the precautionary principle," Risk and Sustainable Management Group Working Papers 152098, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uqsers:152098
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/152098
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John Quiggin, 2012. "Stabilizing the Global Climate: A Simple and Robust Benefit-Cost Analysis," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 94(2), pages 291-300.
    2. Grant, Simon & Quiggin, John, 2013. "Bounded awareness, heuristics and the Precautionary Principle," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 17-31.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Climate change; the precautionary principle; Environmental Economics and Policy; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy; Q54; Q58;

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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