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Reality Check: Society Pays for Carbon Pollution and That's no Benefit

This open letter, co-authored by Jeremy Proville and first published on EDF Voices, was written in response to a New York Times article citing Dr. Roger Bezdek’s report on “The Social Costs of Carbon? No, The Social Benefits...

Posted February 5, 2014    

The Silver Bullet Of Climate Change Policy

By Bob Litterman and Gernot WagnerWhenever the conversation turns to climate change, someone is sure to opine that there’s no silver bullet. The issue is simply too complex to have one solution. When you focus on all the changes that need to occur...

Posted January 29, 2014    

Why the Cost of Carbon Pollution is Both too High and too Low

Tell someone you are a “climate economist,” and the first thing you hear after the slightly puzzled looks subside is, “How much?” Show me the money: “How much is climate change really costing us?”Here it is: at least $40.That, of course, isn’t the...

Posted January 27, 2014    

Correcting the Math of the '50 to 1 Project'

A nine-minute video, released earlier this fall, argues that climate mitigation is 50 times more expensive than adaptation. The claims are based on calculations done by Christopher Monckton. We analyzed the accompanying “sources and maths” document...

Posted November 5, 2013    

Uncovering the Real Cost of Carbon

Last week, the Obama administration released new energy efficiency standards for microwaves, along with an update to the government’s official Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) figure. What do those two things have to do with each other? Well,...

Posted June 5, 2013    

Grossly Incomplete: Redefining GDP for Climate Change

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is broken. Robert F. Kennedy said as much in his first major presidential campaign speech. Simon Kuznets, the father of GDP, acknowledged its shortcomings. GDP is an imperfect indicator of human well-being at best, and...

Posted May 20, 2013    

Benefits of Clean Air and Water Dwarf Costs 10 to 1

The Office of Management and Budget is nerd heaven: a bunch of people getting their professional kicks from analyzing federal regulation. This bean counting may sound painfully lacking in glamour, but it’s incredibly important. OMB’s annual report...

Posted May 9, 2013    

In Need of a Nudge? Carbon Tax and Making Polluters Pay

Nudge is the best kind of book. It presents the type of head-slappingly obvious solutions to public policy problems that make you wonder why you needed a book to tell you about them in the first place. Place the veggies before the French fries in...

Posted May 2, 2013    

Thailand: Where Environmentalism Rules, Sort Of

 As an economist, I travel with a lot of intellectual baggage. It's tough, wherever I am, not to look around and wonder if people are behaving in an economically rational way.Recently, I spent a month in Thailand. While there, I was struck...

Posted March 20, 2013    

Energy Efficiency and Energy Use: The Rebound Effect is Overplayed

Trying to put the rebound effect for energy efficiency in its rightful place is like playing a game of wack-a-mole. Predictably every couple of years, someone new discovers the counter-intuitive appeal of showing how more efficient energy policies...

Posted January 24, 2013    

Foreign Policy: Why Bloomberg Endorsed Obama

When it rains, it pours. First came Sandy, the incarnation of the Rumsfeldian “unknown unknowns.” Then came the political hurricane, with three-term New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsing Barack Obama for his second....

Posted November 2, 2012    

326 consecutive months of above average global temperatures

Paul Volcker may have $3 billion of “I told you so” J.P. Morgan Chase losses to point to. Al Gore has 326 months, and counting. Somehow I doubt either feels gleeful, although I wouldn’t blame them:April was the 326th month in a row the global...

Posted May 25, 2012