Klaus Desmet, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 16 January 2013

There are two ways to deal with climate change: mitigation and adaptation. This column argues that in order to adapt, we need to take another look at an age-old coping mechanism: migration. Indeed, if overall hotter temperatures lower productivity in hot regions but raise productivity in what are currently cooler regions, the negative economic effects of climate change are likely to stem from frictions preventing the movement of people and goods. Without these frictions, adapting to climate change becomes that much easier. Climate change policy ought to aim at alleviating mobility frictions.

Corrado Di Maria, Ian Lange, Edwin van der Werf, 06 January 2013

By promising to reduce fossil fuel demand in the future, some claim that climate policies will induce supply side responses today; firms will pump out emissions now before demand restrictions tighten. However, this column argues that the ‘green paradox’ is a red herring. Evidence from US coal prices suggests that, in industrialised countries, there is little danger of an increase in domestic emissions in response to imperfect climate policies.

Simon Dietz, Carmen Marchiori, Alessandro Tavoni, 05 December 2012

In keeping with expectations, recent multilateral climate change talks in Doha have achieved very little. Yet, the good news is that unilateral action is on the up. This column argues that the existing literature explaining unilateral action on climate change by and large neglects the influence of lobbying. Recent research shows that the combined presence of national interests and increased lobbying pressure -- from both business groups and environmentalists -- may create much more scope for unilateral action than previously thought. Yes, getting a ‘broad and deep‘ international treaty remains difficult, but we can look forward to increased unilateral action on climate change, spurred on by lobby groups.

Richard Tol, 27 November 2012

The 18th UN Conference on climate change negotiations has just started in Doha. This column suggests that the probability of success is a mere 2.3%. Recently, over $100 million per year was spent on fruitless negotiations. Having flogged, ever harder for 18 years, the dead horse of legally binding emission targets, the UN should close that chapter and try something new.

Harun Onder, 12 September 2012

As multilateral attempts for climate-change mitigation stall, the two-way relationship between trade and climate change is likely to come under further scrutiny. This column explains how liberalised trade has several climate-related consequences. It argues that trade policy could enforce mitigation policies but that multilateral conventions are crucial in preventing undesired protectionist consequences.

Ilan Noy, 05 September 2012

Over the last decade we have witnessed increasingly devastating natural disasters: south-east Asia, Katrina, Haiti, New Zealand, and Japan to name a few. While much of the focus is understandably on the immediate impact, this column argues that the long-term economic costs are often underestimated or even overlooked.

Robert Stavins, Gabriel Chan, Robert Stowe, Richard Sweeney, 12 August 2012

The US sulphur dioxide cap-and-trade programme, aimed at the acid rain problem, has been hailed as a great success in almost all areas. This column argues that the programme’s success may tell us something about whether cap and trade can be applied more widely in climate policy.

Robin Burgess, Peter Potapov, Stefanie Sieber, Matthew Hansen, Benjamin Olken, 22 June 2012

Tropical deforestation accounts for almost one-fifth of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide and threatens the world's most diverse ecosystems. Failure to take into account (and adjust) the extraction incentives of local politicians and bureaucrats is likely to render ineffective efforts to conserve the last great areas of tropical forest in the world.

Carlo Carraro, Emanuele Massetti, 25 April 2012

In 2006 China became the world’s largest carbon dioxide polluter. This column argues that China is not rich enough to start reducing emissions immediately, but it is far too big not to do anything. The question is when and at what rate it is reasonable to call on China to start cutting back.

Valentina Bosetti, Carlo Carraro, Enrica De Cian, Emanuele Massetti, Massimo Tavoni, 23 April 2012

International agreements on ways to tackle climate change are in a depressing deadlock. This column argues that part of the problem is aiming too high. It suggests that slow and gradual progress towards controlling climate change is the only way forward. But this is at least better than waiting for an ideal solution that may never come.

Brandon Fuller, Matthew Kahn, 06 March 2012

In early 2010, two similar earthquakes struck Haiti and later, Chile. The difference in loss of life was stark. This column points to the importance of well-governed and economically developed cities for coping with natural disasters and climate change. The authors propose a novel idea – charter cities built from scratch in the world’s poorest countries with their own rules and, hopefully, their own fast track to development.

John Whalley, 23 December 2011

In terms of new emissions reductions, little materialised at the climate-change negotiations in Durban in November. This column argues that trade policy could widen the range of jointly beneficial potential outcomes and in this sense be a potential facilitator of an agreed global climate regime. Moreover, trade provides a mechanism for achieving an internalisation outcome for the global externality that climate change represents.

Dennis Snower, 29 July 2011

The first Global Economic Symposium (GES) took place in the early autumn of 2008. Dennis Snower, President of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and GES Director, talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about its continuing efforts to bring together people from many professions, nations and cultures to develop solutions to a wide range of global challenges, including financial crises, climate change, poverty and such ‘tragedy of the commons’ phenomena as deforestation and overfishing. The interview was recorded in July 2011.

Thomas Hertel, Stephanie Rosch, 17 March 2011

Those who rely on agriculture for their livelihoods are among the most vulnerable to climate change – they also happen to be among the world’s poorest. This column argues that policymakers have a duty to help them adapt. It adds that the near-term poverty effects of climate-mitigation policies could even be more significant than climate change itself.

Open Letters, 16 January 2011

In October 2010, a group of leading thinkers on environmental policy met at the Sustainable Consumption Institute at the University of Manchester for a conference in honour of Nobel Laureate Tom Schelling. This column presents a 10-point guideline for climate change policy co-authored by 26 attendees that focuses on designing policies that are credible, easily monitored, and easily enforced.

David Anthoff, Richard Tol, 29 November 2010

An international agreement on tackling climate change is still a long way off. One barrier often cited is that sovereign states will fail to cooperate and among the challenges is how countries would measure the impact of climate change on others. This column presents new insights in this area.

Philippe Aghion, 19 November 2010

Philippe Aghion of Harvard University talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his research on how government interventions can encourage firms to shift from ‘dirty’ to ‘clean’ innovation, thereby sustaining growth while mitigating climate change. He describes the microeconometrics of climate change as virgin territory, where research can make a real difference to the green policy agenda. The interview was recorded at the annual congress of the European Economic Association in Glasgow in August 2010. [Also read the transcript]

Bronwyn Hall, Christian Helmers, 24 October 2010

Technology is often hailed as one of the best tools to ease the challenge of coordinating a global climate policy. This column examines existing evidence on the role of intellectual property rights in the development and transfer of green technologies, calling for much more research in this area.

Richard Tol, 04 October 2010

Policymakers are increasingly referring to panels of experts to inform their decisions on a broad range of issues. This column uses the example of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to argue that relying too heavily on just one panel of experts allows the experts to behave like monopolists of the truth. It says that, like any monopolist, they should be regulated.

Matthew Kahn, 11 September 2010

Most scientists agree that climate change is underway or at least on the horizon. This column introduces the author's book 'Climatopolis: How Our Cities will Thrive in Our Hotter Future.' It outlines an optimism and an irony: Urban economic growth may have caused climate change, but through the free market, it will also help us to adapt to it.

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