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Cost-benefit analysis and the greenhouse effect

  • Spash, Clive L.
  • Hanley, Nick

This paper looks at the growing concern over Greenhouse Gas emissions and the resulting human induced climate change. The background to a cost-benefit approach is sketched in terms of the scientific understanding and expected impacts. Then the theory behind a cost-benefit approach is explained and some of the studies and their results are critically presented. In the final section the concern for future generations is raised and a cost-benefit approach is shown to violate a right of the innocent to be free from harm. The conclusion is that economics cannot calculate the damages and the cost-benefit approach cannot therefore answer the question of how much to reduce Greenhouse Gases. Instead a range of no regrets policy actions are recommended along with changing how the deliberate creation of future harm of the innocent is treated both in economics and public policy. This is a paper from the Ecological Economics discussion paper series edited by Clive L. Spash and run from Stirling University from 1994 to 1996. This particular paper was published as: Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Greenhouse Effect. In Nick Hanley and Clive L. Spash (1993) Cost-Benefit Analysis and the Environment. Aldershot, England, Edward Elgar Chapter 13.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 38666.

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Date of creation: Mar 1994
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:38666
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  1. Schelling, Thomas C, 1992. "Some Economics of Global Warming," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 1-14, March.
  2. Cline, William R, 1991. "Scientific Basis for the Greenhouse Effect," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 904-19, July.
  3. Nordhaus, William, 1982. "How Fast Should We Graze the Global Commons?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(2), pages 242-46, May.
  4. Klaus Conrad & Michael Schröder, 1991. "The control of CO 2 emissions and its economic impact: An AGE model for a german state," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 1(3), pages 289-312, September.
  5. Lars Bergman, 1991. "General equilibrium effects of environmental policy: A CGE-modeling approach," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 1(1), pages 43-61, March.
  6. Nordhaus, William D, 1991. "To Slow or Not to Slow: The Economics of the Greenhouse Effect," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 920-37, July.
  7. Bromley, Daniel W., 1989. "Entitlements, missing markets, and environmental uncertainty," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 181-194, September.
  8. Bromley, Daniel W., 1991. "Entitlements, missing markets, and environmental uncertainty: Reply," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 297-302, May.
  9. Daily, Gretchen C. & Ehrlich, Paul R. & Mooney, Harold A. & Ehrlich, Anne H., 1991. "Greenhouse economics: learn before you leap," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 1-10, October.
  10. Costanza, Robert, 1996. "The impact of ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 1-2, October.
  11. Nordhaus, William D, 1991. "A Sketch of the Economics of the Greenhouse Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 146-50, May.
  12. Robert Ayres & Jörg Walter, 1991. "The greenhouse effect: Damages, costs and abatement," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 1(3), pages 237-270, September.
  13. Alan S. Manne & Richard G. Richels, 1991. "Global CO2 Emission Reductions - the Impacts of Rising Energy Costs," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 87-108.
  14. Spash, Clive L. & d'Arge, Ralph C., 1989. "The greenhouse effect and intergenerational transfer," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 88-96, April.
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