Climate Change: Policy, Theory, and Education
Climate change is the central environmental challenge facing the world today. Developing and implementing appropriate global responses is critical to promoting sustainable economies, healthy ecosystems, and enduring human well-being. In the face of this crisis, economic theory and policy are essential, yet standard economic approaches often yield drastically inadequate policy proposals. GDAE’s work is aimed at creating and disseminating a new climate economics that reflects the true scope of the problem and presents needed solutions.
We are especially sensitive to the equity issues involved in climate change. The 20% of the world’s population who live in the world’s richest countries, with 80% of global GNP, have accounted for well over half of carbon emissions to the present. However by far the greatest part of the suffering from sea-level rise, the spread of disease, reduction in access to food and water, and other effects of climate change, will be felt by poor and vulnerable populations. The poorest countries, which have contributed the least to the problem, are also least able to cope with the results.
A broad range of climate-related topics arise in GDAE's policy analysis, economic theory, and development of educational materials. Our two program areas are both addressing these topics:
Policy Research on Land, Energy, and Climate
GDAE’s program in Land, Energy, and Climate, under the direction of GDAE Co-Director Dr. William Moomaw, seeks to apply tools of scientific and economic analysis to pressing problems of the biosphere. These include global atmospheric change that threatens to destabilize the planet’s climate, as well as changes to land and water ecosystems that can undermine the basis for a sustainable human economy. A major research focus is on Sustainable Development Diplomacy to create solutions to these problems through innovative technologies, policies and practices to provide required services by less environmentally damaging means, and implementation of restorative development actions to restore lost ecosystem functions.
Climate Change: Theory and Education
The Theory and Education Program, directed by Dr. Jonathan Harris, has produced educational modules and texts dealing with climate related issues. GDAE has sponsored a conference on macroeconomics and climate change, and is developing several books and articles focusing on the macroeconomic changes necessary for the world economy to respond, and adapt, to climate change. In addition, GDAE staff regularly teach courses at Tufts University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and in the Brown University Watson Institute International Scholars of the Environment Program, focusing on issues related to climate change.