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 Climate Economics
The Research and Policy Program, directed by Dr. Frank Ackerman, is conducting a series of applied studies on the true economic costs of inaction on climate change, along with critiques of standard approaches to modeling climate economics. GDAE researchers, in collaboration with researchers from the Stockholm Environment Institute, are developing improved modeling tools and new analyses of the long-run effects of climate policy. Past research has addressed the climate impacts of waste management, and the carbon content of U.S.- Japan trade.
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.