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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Steve DeCanio is Professor of Economics, Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has written about both the contributions and misuse of economics to debates over long-run policy problems such as climate change and stratospheric ozone layer protection. From 1986 to 1987 DeCanio was senior staff economist at the President's Council of Economic Advisers. He has been a member of the U.N. Environment Program's Economic Options Panel and served as co-chair of the Montreal Protocol's Agricultural Economics Task Force of the Technical and Economics Assessment Panel. He participated in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.