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The Economics of Climate Change

  • Lawrence H. Goulder
  • William A. Pizer

Global climate change poses a threat to the well-being of humans and other living things through impacts on ecosystem functioning, biodiversity, capital productivity, and human health. This paper briefly surveys recent research on the economics of climate change, including theoretical insights and empirical findings that offer guidance to policy makers. Section 1 frames the climate change problem and indicates the ways that economic research can address it. Section 2 describes approaches to measuring the benefits and costs associated with reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In Section 3 we discuss the implications of uncertainty for the timing and stringency of policies to address possible climate change. We then present issues related to policy design, including instrument choice (Section 4), flexibility (Section 5), and international coordination (Section 6). The final section offers general conclusions.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11923.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11923.

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Date of creation: Jan 2006
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Publication status: published as Blume, Lawrence and Steven Durlauf (eds.) The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Palgrave MacMillan, Ltd., May 2008.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11923
Note: PE EEE
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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Web page: http://www.nber.org
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  1. Carlo Carraro & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2000. "Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy: Introduction," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0011, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  2. Parry, Ian & Goulder, Lawrence & Williams III, Roberton, 1997. "When Can Carbon Abatement Policies Increase Welfare? The Fundamental Role of Distorted Factor Markets," Discussion Papers dp-97-18-rev, Resources For the Future.
  3. Newell, Richard G. & Pizer, William A., 2003. "Regulating stock externalities under uncertainty," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(2, Supple), pages 416-432, March.
  4. A. Lans Bovenberg & Lawrence H. Goulder, 2000. "Neutralizing the Adverse Industry Impacts of CO2 Abatement Policies: What Does it Cost?," NBER Working Papers 7654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Newell, Richard & Anderson, Soren, 2003. "Prospects for Carbon Capture and Storage Technologies," Discussion Papers dp-02-68, Resources For the Future.
  6. Mendelsohn, Robert & Nordhaus, William D & Shaw, Daigee, 1994. "The Impact of Global Warming on Agriculture: A Ricardian Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 753-71, September.
  7. Joseph E. Aldy & Scott Barrett & Robert N. Stavins, 2003. "Thirteen Plus One: A Comparison of Global Climate Policy Architectures," Working Papers 2003.64, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  8. Popp, David, 2004. "ENTICE: endogenous technological change in the DICE model of global warming," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 742-768, July.
  9. Buonanno, Paolo & Carraro, Carlo & Galeotti, Marzio, 2003. "Endogenous induced technical change and the costs of Kyoto," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 11-34, February.
  10. Kolstad, Charles D., 1996. "Learning and Stock Effects in Environmental Regulation: The Case of Greenhouse Gas Emissions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-18, July.
  11. Fischer, Carolyn, 2004. "Project-Based Mechanisms for Emissions Reductions: Balancing Trade-offs with Baselines," Discussion Papers dp-04-32, Resources For the Future.
  12. Michael Hoel & Kerstin Schneider, 1997. "Incentives to participate in an international environmental agreement," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 9(2), pages 153-170, March.
  13. Richard Schmalensee, 1993. "Comparing Greenhouse Gases for Policy Purposes," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 245-256.
  14. Pindyck, Robert S., 2000. "Irreversibilities and the timing of environmental policy," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 233-259, July.
  15. Fischer, Carolyn & Newell, Richard G., 2008. "Environmental and technology policies for climate mitigation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 142-162, March.
  16. Kling, Catherine & Rubin, Jonathan, 1997. "Bankable permits for the control of environmental pollution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 101-115, April.
  17. Lawrence H. Goulder & Ian W. H. Parry & Roberton C. Williams III & Dallas Burtraw, 1998. "The Cost-Effectiveness of Alternative Instruments for Environmental Protection in a Second-Best Setting," NBER Working Papers 6464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Pizer, William, 1997. "Optimal Choice of Policy Instrument and Stringency Under Uncertainty: The Case of Climate Change," Discussion Papers dp-97-17, Resources For the Future.
  19. Newell, Richard G. & Pizer, William A., 2003. "Discounting the distant future: how much do uncertain rates increase valuations?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 52-71, July.
  20. William D. Nordhaus, 1982. "How Fast Should We Graze the Global Commons?," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 615, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  21. Wolfram Schlenker & W. Michael Hanemann & Anthony C. Fisher, 2005. "Will U.S. Agriculture Really Benefit from Global Warming? Accounting for Irrigation in the Hedonic Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 395-406, March.
  22. Pizer, William A., 2002. "Combining price and quantity controls to mitigate global climate change," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 409-434, September.
  23. Roberton Williams, 2002. "Prices vs. Quantities vs. Tradable Quantities," NBER Working Papers 9283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. TULKENS, Henry, 1997. "Cooperation vs. free riding in international environmental affairs: two approaches," CORE Discussion Papers 1997052, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  25. Roger Sedjo & Joe Wisniewski & Alaric Sample & John Kinsman, 1995. "The economics of managing carbon via forestry: Assessment of existing studies," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 6(2), pages 139-165, September.
  26. Jorgenson, Dale W. & Wilcoxen, Peter J., 1993. "Reducing US carbon emissions: an econometric general equilibrium assessment," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 7-25, March.
  27. Ian W.H. Parry & Wallace E. Oates, 2000. "Policy analysis in the presence of distorting taxes," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 603-613.
  28. Manne, Alan & Richels, Richard, 2004. "The impact of learning-by-doing on the timing and costs of CO2 abatement," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 603-619, July.
  29. Jacoby, Henry D. & Ellerman, A. Denny, 2004. "The safety valve and climate policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 481-491, March.
  30. McFarland, J. R. & Reilly, J. M. & Herzog, H. J., 2004. "Representing energy technologies in top-down economic models using bottom-up information," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 685-707, July.
  31. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Schneider, Stephen H., 1999. "Induced technological change and the attractiveness of CO2 abatement policies," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3-4), pages 211-253, August.
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