Richard Tol, 23 January 2010

Most feel the Copenhagen summit on climate change failed. This column argues for a “plan B” – to go back to Kyoto. The Kyoto Protocol has the tools needed for international policy. Future negotiations should focus on refining existing agreements instead of trying to impress voters at home.

Massimo Tavoni, Richard Tol, 19 December 2009

A review of the estimates of climate policy costs produces biased estimates for the more ambitious objectives – such as those compatible with the 2°C of the EU and the G8 – since only the most optimistic results are reported for such targets. This column shows that unbiased estimates predict highly variable costs for the most difficult scenarios.

John Bluedorn, Akos Valentinyi, Michael Vlassopoulos, 15 December 2009

Hot countries tend to be poorer. This column uses the cross-century, cross-country variation in climatic temperatures to estimate the effects of historic temperature upon current incomes. The negative relationship between current temperature and income appears due to temperature variations in the 18th and 19th centuries. That suggests that the consequences of climate change may be felt for a very long time.

Nancy Birdsall, Arvind Subramanian, Dan Hammer, 14 December 2009

Over a billion people live without basic electricity. This column calculates the emissions required to make basic energy services available to all and to grant developing countries’ citizens future access to energy services equal to those enjoyed by rich countries’ citizens at comparable stages of development. These calculations imply some very stark, very different implications for burden sharing. Moreover, they mean that meeting aggregate global emissions targets without sacrificing developing countries basic energy needs will require revolutionary improvements in the technology.

Reinhilde Veugelers, Philippe Aghion, David Hemous, 09 December 2009

Mitigating climate change while maintaining economic growth will require a wide portfolio of technologies. This column says too little has been done to turn on the “green innovation machine”. It says governments in developed economies should price carbon, subsidise research, and facilitate technology transfer to developing countries.

Daniel Gros, 09 December 2009

The costs and benefits of carbon tariffs have been extensively discussed in terms of competitiveness and carbon leakage. This column says global welfare should be the focus. EU tariffs against developing country exports would increase global welfare and the proceeds from the tariff could help poorer exporting countries reduce the carbon intensity of their economies.

Carlo Carraro, Valentina Bosetti, Massimo Tavoni, Thomas Rutherford, Richard Richels, Geoffrey Blanford, 07 December 2009

China and other key developing countries must participate for any global carbon deal to succeed, but they make a strong case for a free pass. What can be done? This column says that they could commit now to accept pre-specified future emission reduction targets in order to effectively address these concerns.

Daniel Gros, 05 December 2009

The purpose of a cap-and-trade system is to help in the fight against global climate change. This column warns that a unilateral approach could increase global emissions by shifting production to more carbon-intensive methods abroad. Acting alone, the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme may be doing more harm than good.

Richard Tol, Thomas Rutherford, Christoph Böhringer, 04 December 2009

The EU is committed to limiting the rise in global average temperature to 2°C above pre-industrial levels and aims to achieve this through a range of policy instruments. This column warns that climate policy need not cost a lot, but imperfect implementation could cause hundreds of billions of euros’ worth of unnecessary welfare losses.

David Popp, 26 November 2009

How will proposed increases in energy R&D funding affect other types of R&D spending? This column provides evidence that should dampen concerns about crowding out – increased R&D in response to policies designed to enhance clean-energy innovation most likely comes at the expense of R&D in dirty-energy technologies.

Richard Tol, 23 November 2009

Climate change will have widespread negative effects of uncertain magnitude. But this column argues that climate change is not humanity’s biggest challenge and needs to be solved without impeding economic development. It calls for a measured policy of greenhouse gas emission reduction.

Jean Tirole, 16 November 2009

The Copenhagen Summit could be crucial for the future of climate change. This column says negotiators should aim to agree on a global emissions target for 2050, the rapid deployment of a satellite system to measure country emissions, a worldwide cap-and-trade system, governance providing incentives to join the agreement, and a subsidiarity principle with permits allocated domestically by the countries themselves. The negotiation for 2015 could then focus on the worldwide allocation of free permits.

Vijay Joshi, 06 November 2009

Governments are bitterly divided about how advanced and developing economies should share the burdens of aggressive climate change mitigation. This column suggests a “do no harm” principle by which developing countries would be enabled to reduce their cost of mitigation to zero until they have eliminated abject poverty.

Geoffrey Heal, 29 October 2009

Can renewable energy save the world from climate change, and do so at a reasonable cost? This column says we can replace some fossil fuel power with renewable power without a major cost increase, but we cannot hope to replace a major fraction of our fossil power with intermittent power sources such as wind and solar energy unless we can develop energy storage technologies.

Michael Spence, 11 September 2009

In fifty years, 3.4 billion people in developing countries will approach advanced country income levels with consumption, energy use, and emissions patterns to match. In this column, Nobel Laureate Michael Spence argues that advanced countries should lead the way with technology and a global strategy to reduce the carbon intensity of their economies. That will lay the groundwork for developing economies to follow a sustainable path as they graduate to higher income levels.

Carlo Carraro, Emanuele Massetti, 03 September 2009

Mitigating global warning is a pressing and daunting task for the world’s major economies. This column says that the 2°C target set by G8 leaders is both politically and technologically unrealistic. It argues they must adopt more realistic targets and long-term commitments to adaptation plans.

Charles Kolstad, Corbett Grainger, 29 August 2009

Opponents of US climate change legislation voice concerns about its effect on consumers in coal-reliant states, industries’ competitiveness, and regressive distributional consequences. This column argues that these concerns are either unfounded or have been addressed fairly. It says the conflict is more about ideology than distributional issues.

Declan Costello, Gert Koopman, Kieran Mc Morrow , Gilles Mourre, István Székely, Alexandr Hobza, 15 July 2009

The crisis may reduce the EU’s potential output by 5% of GDP or more. This column warns that the crisis may permanently reduce the EU’s supply-side capacity unless policymakers respond with reforms. It outlines measures to address the crisis and address long-run concerns about demographic shifts, public finances, and climate change.

Matthew Kahn, Michael Cragg, 10 June 2009

What influences climate change policy? This column shows that a congressional district’s per capita carbon emissions and conservative ideology lower the probability that a representative votes in favour of a pro-environment bill, while county per capita income increases it.

Benjamin Jones, Benjamin Olken , Melissa Dell, 06 June 2009

Hot countries tend to be poorer, but debate continues over whether the temperature-income relationship is simply a happenstance association. This column uses within-country estimates to show that higher temperatures have large, negative effects on economic growth – but only in poor countries. The findings are big news for future global inequality.

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