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New book on the economics of climate change

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Sunday, 25 January 2009 18:05

SEI US researcher Frank Ackerman looks at the economics of climate change, explaining how the arbitrary assumptions of conventional theories get in the way of understanding the urgency of climate change.

According to many scientists, climate change is a growing threat to life as we know it, requiring a large-scale, immediate response. According to many economists, climate change is a moderately important problem; the best policy is a slow, gradual start, to avoid spending too much. They can't both be right.

Ackerman argues that the solutions are affordable and the alternative is unthinkable. The benefits of climate protection are vital but priceless, and hence often devalued in cost-benefit calculations.

Preparation for the most predictable outcomes of global warming is less important than protection against the growing risk of catastrophic change; massive investment in new, low carbon technologies and industries should be thought of as life insurance for the planet.

Book details
Can We Afford the Future? The Economics of a Warming World
By Frank Ackerman
Zed Books, 2009 (distributed in the U.S. by Palgrave Macmillan)
160 pages, paperback: $20.95

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