David Hendry, 27 October 2014

Climate change has been the main driver of mass extinctions over the last 500 million years. This column argues that current evidence provides a stark warning. Human activity is producing greenhouse gases, and as a consequence global temperatures and ocean heat content are rising. Such trends raise the risk of tipping points. Economic analysis offers a number of ideas, but a key problem is that distributions of climate variables can shift, invalidating stationarity-based analyses, and making action to avoid possible future shifts especially urgent.

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.

Stéphane Hallegatte, Geoffrey Heal, Marianne Fay, David Tréguer, 24 March 2012

What can be done to combine the need for growth with environmental constraints? This column argues that what is needed is to reconcile developing countries’ urgent need for rapid growth and poverty alleviation with the need to avoid irreversible and costly environmental damage.

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