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Stephen DeCanio's Posts

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Climate policy for conservatives

Ideally, both sides will agree that this is a bad situation.Suppose you believe, as I do, in basic conservative principles (free enterprise and a market economy, limited government, and minimal change in established institutions that work well), but also acknowledge that anthropogenic climate change presents a sufficient danger that something needs to be done about it. The risk is that even as little as 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) of warming might push one of a number of different Earth systems past a tipping point that is both catastrophic and irreversible. In other words, the problem is one of …

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discounting the future

When bad economics and climate science collide

When bad economics is applied to climate change, the result is often at odds with climate science. This tendency was on display at a recent series of panel discussions, "The Bloody Crossroads of Science and Policy," held by the American Enterprise Institute. During the Q&A following the panel on climate, a question from the room about discounting and the time scales of climate change elicited the following responses from two of the economists on the panel, Robert Mendelsohn and David Montgomery (direct quotes): Mendelsohn:   It turns out that this problem with discounting -- this problem with looking into the future …

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