Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Kristen Sheeran's Posts


Pollution is not the secret to job creation

Pollution is not the solution.Cross-posted from Real Climate Economics. Paul Krugman's column in The New York Times Thursday laments one of the many ironies of our time: Politicians in Washington are finally talking about job creation, but Republicans (and some Democrats, I'm sure) pin their hopes for employment on environmental deregulation. As Krugman points out, "Serious economic analysis actually says that we need more protection, not less." By serious economic analysis, Krugman means peer-reviewed articles published in academic journals over the last few decades that have probed the relationship between environmental regulations, employment, and economic growth. He doesn't mean the …


Building the economic case for climate action

The Economics for Equity and the Environment Network convened a recent meeting of economists [PDF] at the Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to discuss the role of economics in building support for climate action in the U.S. The economists who convened view climate change as a civilizational challenge that demands immediate action to protect the quality of human life today and in the future. They recognize that conventional economic thinking has failed to envision a way through the climate crisis, but believe firmly that economics can and must provide critical skills and insights. These economists take as their …


food doesn't grow on trees. oh, wait ... yes it does.

Why your money can’t protect you from climate change

It's hard to see how the West will benefit from, say, more floods.Photo: NZRicoIn a recent article in Newsweek, Nobel laureate economist Thomas Schelling argues that one of the greatest obstacles to addressing climate change is persuading the non-poor in the developed world to take the problem seriously. As he states: Estimates of lost world product due to climate change are moderate because the poor have so little to lose. More than a billion people, maybe 2 billion, are estimated to live on less than the equivalent of $2 per day. If a billion of those poorest people lost half …


... But I still love technology

Can a technology-first approach to climate change work?

Might large-scale investment in clean energy have the same levelling effect as taxes on fossil fuels?Photo: Kevin DooleyThe demise of cap-and-trade legislation in Congress has left many feeling despondent. Given the weight of the money and political capital invested in cap-and-trade proposals, the expectant eyes of the international community waiting on U.S. climate action, the hopes of unemployed Americans riding on promises of green jobs, and the public's expectations that political leaders would heed their calls for action -- the stakes for passing cap-and-trade legislation could not have been any higher, nor could the defeat have been any more bitter. …


scheme of californiacation

California's landmark climate law: Job killer or creator?

With the nation's unemployment hovering near 10 percent, can we afford aggressive measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Proponents of Proposition 23 in California claim no. They claim that California should suspend its landmark climate and energy policy (AB 32) until its unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent. Setting aside scientists' warnings that we're running out of time to address climate change, and setting aside the fact that the oil company funders of Proposition 23 also opposed AB 32 when it was passed in 2006, when California's unemployment rate was lower than 5.5 percent, is there anything to be said …


Can we still afford to save the planet? Yes

The economics of 350

There is good news on the climate policy front. The Europeans have ratcheted down their emission targets; the Chinese are getting serious about solar power and energy efficiency; and Washington, after opening a multi-billion dollar stimulus spicket for clean energy, is lumbering towards a carbon cap.  This is progress-inadequate, but still important progress -- towards what many of us used to think we had to do: cut global warming pollution 80 percent by 2050. These cuts would stabilize the thickness of the heat-trapping carbon dioxide blanket surrounding the earth at 450 ppm (parts per million) and, we thought, provide insurance …