The Economics of Climate Change
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.
Published: Blume, Lawrence and Steven Durlauf (eds.) The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Palgrave MacMillan, Ltd., May 2008.