Climate Shock: The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet

Princeton University Press

If you had a 10 percent chance of having a fatal car accident, you'd take necessary precautions. If your finances had a 10 percent chance of suffering a severe loss, you'd reevaluate your assets. So if we know the world is warming and there's a 10 percent chance this might eventually lead to a catastrophe beyond anything we could imagine, why aren't we doing more about climate change right now? We insure our lives against an uncertain future--why not our planet?

In Climate Shock, Gernot Wagner and Martin Weitzman explore in lively, clear terms the likely repercussions of a hotter planet, drawing on and expanding from work previously unavailable to general audiences. They show that the longer we wait to act, the more likely an extreme event will happen. A city might go underwater. A rogue nation might shoot particles into the Earth's atmosphere, geoengineering cooler temperatures. Zeroing in on the unknown extreme risks that may yet dwarf all else, the authors look at how economic forces that make sensible climate policies difficult to enact, make radical would-be fixes like geoengineering all the more probable. What we know about climate change is alarming enough. What we don't know about the extreme risks could be far more dangerous. Wagner and Weitzman help readers understand that we need to think about climate change in the same way that we think about insurance--as a risk management problem, only here on a global scale.

Demonstrating that climate change can and should be dealt with--and what could happen if we don't do so--Climate Shock tackles the defining environmental and public policy issue of our time.

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About the author

Gernot Wagner is lead senior economist at the Environmental Defense Fund. He is the author of But Will the Planet Notice? (Hill & Wang). Martin L. Weitzman is professor of economics at Harvard University. His books include Income, Wealth, and the Maximum Principle. For more, see www.gwagner.com and scholar.harvard.edu/weitzman.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Feb 22, 2015
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Pages
264
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ISBN
9781400865475
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Development / Sustainable Development
Business & Economics / Environmental Economics
Nature / Ecology
Political Science / Public Policy / Environmental Policy
Science / Global Warming & Climate Change
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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If you had a 10 percent chance of having a fatal car accident, you'd take necessary precautions. If your finances had a 10 percent chance of suffering a severe loss, you'd reevaluate your assets. So if we know the world is warming and there's a 10 percent chance this might eventually lead to a catastrophe beyond anything we could imagine, why aren't we doing more about climate change right now? We insure our lives against an uncertain future--why not our planet?

In Climate Shock, Gernot Wagner and Martin Weitzman explore in lively, clear terms the likely repercussions of a hotter planet, drawing on and expanding from work previously unavailable to general audiences. They show that the longer we wait to act, the more likely an extreme event will happen. A city might go underwater. A rogue nation might shoot particles into the Earth's atmosphere, geoengineering cooler temperatures. Zeroing in on the unknown extreme risks that may yet dwarf all else, the authors look at how economic forces that make sensible climate policies difficult to enact, make radical would-be fixes like geoengineering all the more probable. What we know about climate change is alarming enough. What we don't know about the extreme risks could be far more dangerous. Wagner and Weitzman help readers understand that we need to think about climate change in the same way that we think about insurance--as a risk management problem, only here on a global scale.

With a new preface addressing recent developments Wagner and Weitzman demonstrate that climate change can and should be dealt with--and what could happen if we don't do so--tackling the defining environmental and public policy issue of our time.

This compact and original exposition of optimal control theory and applications is designed for graduate and advanced undergraduate students in economics. It presents a new elementary yet rigorous proof of the maximum principle and a new way of applying the principle that will enable students to solve any one-dimensional problem routinely. Its unified framework illuminates many famous economic examples and models.

This work also emphasizes the connection between optimal control theory and the classical themes of capital theory. It offers a fresh approach to fundamental questions such as: What is income? How should it be measured? What is its relation to wealth?

The book will be valuable to students who want to formulate and solve dynamic allocation problems. It will also be of interest to any economist who wants to understand results of the latest research on the relationship between comprehensive income accounting and wealth or welfare.

Table of Contents:

Preface
Introduction

Part I. Introduction to the Maximum Principle
1. The Calculus of Variations and the Stationary Rate of Return on Capital
2. The Prototype-Economic Control Problem
3. The Maximum Principle in One Dimension
4. Applications of the Maximum Principle in One Dimension

Part II. Comprehensive Accounting and the Maximum Principle
5. Optimal Multisector Growth and Dynamic Competitive Equilibrium
6. The Pure Theory of Perfectly Complete National Income Accounting
7. The Stochastic Wealth and Income Version of the Maximum Principle

References
Index

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