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EEthics, Equity and the Economics of Climate Change. Paper 1: Science and Philosophy

  • Nicholas Stern
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    This paper examines a broad range of ethical perspectives and principles relevant to the analysis of issues raised by the science of climate change and explores their implications. A second and companion paper extends this analysis to the contribution of ethics, economics and politics in understanding policy towards climate change. These tasks must start with the science which tells us that this is a problem of risk management on an immense scale. Risks on this scale take us far outside the familiar policy questions and standard, largely marginal, techniques commonly used by economists; this is a subject that requires the full breadth and depth of what economics has to offer and a much more thoughtful view of ethics than economists usually bring to bear. Different philosophical approaches bring different perspectives on understanding and policy, yet they generally point to the case for strong action to manage climate change.

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    Paper provided by Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment in its series GRI Working Papers with number 84a.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:lsg:lsgwps:wp84a
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    1. Dreze, Jean & Stern, Nicholas, 1987. "The theory of cost-benefit analysis," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 14, pages 909-989 Elsevier.
    2. Greaker, Mads & Stoknes, Per Espen & Alfsen, Knut H. & Ericson, Torgeir, 2013. "A Kantian approach to sustainable development indicators for climate change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 10-18.
    3. Robert S. Pindyck, 2013. "Climate Change Policy: What Do the Models Tell Us?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(3), pages 860-72, September.
    4. Nicholas Stern, 2010. "Presidential Address Imperfections in the Economics of Public Policy, Imperfections in Markets, and Climate Change," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(2-3), pages 253-288, 04-05.
    5. Kaushik Basu & Tapan Mitra, 2003. "Aggregating Infinite Utility Streams with InterGenerational Equity: The Impossibility of Being Paretian," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1557-1563, 09.
    6. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Kenneth J. Arrow & Partha Dasgupta & Lawrence H. Goulder & Kevin J. Mumford & Kirsten Oleson, 2010. "Sustainability and the Measurement of Wealth," NBER Working Papers 16599, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Broome, John, 2006. "Weighing Lives," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199297702.
    9. Nicholas Stern & Jean-Jacques Dethier & F. Halsey Rogers, 2006. "Growth and Empowerment: Making Development Happen," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262693461, June.
    10. Dreze, Jean & Stern, Nicholas, 1990. "Policy reform, shadow prices, and market prices," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-45, June.
    11. Nicholas Stern, 2013. "The Structure of Economic Modeling of the Potential Impacts of Climate Change: Grafting Gross Underestimation of Risk onto Already Narrow Science Models," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(3), pages 838-59, September.
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