Can We Afford the Future?: The Economics of a Warming World by Frank Ackerman

By Frank Ackerman

It is a transparent, readable first ebook for the non-economist, to begin figuring out the economics round weather swap, and many of the differing arguments via economists.

Unlike weather *science*, the place such a lot genuine scientists agree at the basics, apparently actual economists have a few basic arguments approximately weather *economics*, even if that may be simply because i've got extra publicity to the previous than the latter. it's always tough for a layperson studying a brand new subject to grasp even if disagreements are critical or fairly minor.

In any case, it quite is helping to have an outstanding evaluate of the arguments, ahead of diving into the details.

I've studied the strict assessment, the Nordhaus cube version, Lomborg books, different books, different papers, and different discussions ...
and examining this booklet first will surely have kept me effort.

So, begin the following, then pattern his references for different viewpoints.

I particularly cherished his four bumper stickers, which handily summarize the book:

Your grandchildren's lives are important
We have to purchase coverage for the planet
Climate damages are too worthwhile to have prices
Some bills are greater than others

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Even if the discount rate then falls to a much lower level after 60 years, those initial six decades of high discounting still eliminate 95 percent of the value of all events that will occur farther into the future. It is, above all, the discount rate applied to the first few decades of the future that matters for climate economics. The discount rate is the most important single number in climate economics, but it is not the only thing that matters. In order to clarify the role of discounting, the examples in this chapter have unrealistically assumed that all future costs and benefits are known in advance.

No one knows how to predict next year’s weather, and the year-toyear variation is enormous: there could be many hurricanes next year, or almost none; unusually hot temperatures, or unusually mild; more rain, or less. But scientists now predict that we are headed toward both worsening average conditions and increasing variation around the average. By way of analogy, imagine that you are drawing a card from a standard deck of fifty-two playing cards. You have no way to predict exactly what card you will draw, but you know a lot about the odds.

There is no good answer, but there are plenty of bad ones. In one chapter of the IPCC’s 1995 report, a group of economists proposed that the value of a life should be fifteen times as high in rich countries as in the poorest parts of the world. If you believe that the value of a life depends on willingness to pay for risk reduction, which has some connection with ability to pay, or income, then this is a logical, understandable result. If, on the other hand, you believe in the equal worth of all human beings, the income-based value of a life is absurd and offensive.

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