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Sustainability in the Presence of Global Warming: Theory and Empirics

Author

Listed:
  • Humberto Llavador

    () (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona)

  • John E. Roemer

    () (Yale University)

  • Joaquim Silvestre

    () (University of California, Davis)

Abstract

Mankind must cooperate to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to prevent a catastrophic rise in global temperature, with its concomitant effects on sea level, rainfall, drought, storms, agricultural production, and human migration. What is the appropriate way of evaluating how the costs of reducing GHG emissions should be shared across the present and future generations, and within the next few generations, across regions of the world? How should the intergenerational and inter-regional resource allocation be regulated? These are normative questions: their answers depend upon the theory of distributive justice held. We argue, with respect to the intergenerational question, for a theory of justice that is motivated by the concept of sustainability. With respect to the inter-regional issue, we do not take a fundamentally normative approach, but rather a political approach, where we propose what we believe is a politically acceptable solution to the bargaining problem that is at present taking place between major national actors (think: the US and China) concerning the reductions in GHGs that should be implemented. One reason for the difference in our approaches to these two problems is that future generations cannot bargain with us, and so we should take an ethical posture towards them. Major nations of the world, however, are actively engaged in arguing and bargaining over the second problem, and our role with respect to these negotiations is to behave like an arbitrator and propose what (we believe) is a mutually acceptable solution.

Suggested Citation

  • Humberto Llavador & John E. Roemer & Joaquim Silvestre, 2011. "Sustainability in the Presence of Global Warming: Theory and Empirics," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2011-05, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • Handle: RePEc:hdr:papers:hdrp-2011-05
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    File URL: http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2011/papers/HDRP_2011_05.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lant Pritchett, 2010. "Birth Satisfaction Units (BSU): Measuring Cross-National Differences in Human Well-Being," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2010-03, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
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    Cited by:

    1. Valentina Bosetti & Jeffrey Frankel, 2014. "Sustainable Cooperation In Global Climate Policy: Specific Formulas And Emission Targets," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., pages 1-34.
    2. Valentina Bosetti & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 2011. "Sustainable Cooperation in Global Climate Policy: Specific Formulas and Emission Targets to Build on Copenhagen and Cancun," NBER Working Papers 17669, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Humberto Llavador & John E. Roemer & Joaquim Silvestre, 2013. "Should we sustain? And if so, sustain what? Consumption or the quality of life?," Chapters,in: Handbook on Energy and Climate Change, chapter 30, pages 639-665 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Convergence; CO2 emissions; North-South; Climate Change; Sustainability; Growth;

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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