March 28 , 2008
This week we consider the role of economics in combating climate change, inspired by a recent World Bank colloquium featuring Harvard economist Marty Weitzman. In The Dismal (Climate) Science: On Marty Weitzman, Fat Tails, and How Economists Could Better Help Us to Overcome Global Warming, CGD research assistant Kevin Ummel explains how Weitzman's latest work and the fundamental nature of Earth's climate lead to serious uncertainties when modeling the economics of global climate change. Instead of continuing down this dead-end path, Ummel argues, economists should recognize the risks involved, accept that climate change demands immediate and serious action, and "get down to the business of finding the least-cost applications of solutions."
For real-life examples of the need for financially feasible alternatives to coal and other CO2-spewing technologies, read on: Inside CARMA tells the story of Virginia residents' fight against a planned coal plant. And a blog post by CGD outreach and policy assistant Joel Meister looks at the renewable-energy focus of a recent congressional delegation visit to India.
As always, below is a selection of important articles on climate and development from the past two weeks. My thanks to Robin Kraft for his help in preparing this letter.
Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
Climate and Development in the News
Nigeria: 30m Citizens Threatened By Climate Change - Yar'Adua (AllAfrica.com)
Vietnam must improve sea defence in climate change fight (Agence France-Presse)
Insurers braced to weather climate change (Victoria Times Colonist)
Germany: $1.3 trillion climate change bill (United Press International)
Biofuels will speed climate change, chief scientist says (The Scotsman)
US hearing to focus on developing countries (Press Trust of India)