Economics and the Challenge of Global Warming is a balanced and comprehensive analysis of the role of economics in confronting global warming, the central environmental issue of the twenty-first century. It avoids a technical exposition in order to reach a wide audience and is up to date in its theoretical and empirical underpinnings. It is addressed to all who have some knowledge of economic concepts and a serious interest in how economics can (and cannot) help in crafting climate policy.
The book is organized around three central questions. First, can benefit-cost analysis guide us in setting warming targets? Second, what strategies and policies are cost-effective? Third, and most difficult, can a global agreement be forged between rich and poor, North and South? While economic concepts are foremost in the analysis, they are placed within an accessible ethical and political matrix. The book serves as a primer for the post-Kyoto era.
"The economics of climate change is as complex as it is vital. To understand it, you can read dozens of journal articles and try to make sense of it on your own – or you can read Charles Pearson's brilliant synthesis and interpretation. I strongly recommend that you start with this wonderful new book."
- Scott Barrett, Columbia University
"Charles Pearson's work always sheds light, rather than heat, on complex policy questions. This book is no exception. With his clear and winsome nontechnical approach, Pearson unravels the latest economic research on climate change. Within the context of scientific research and political feasibility, he shows how economics contributes to the development of effective, efficient, and internationally equitable responses to this difficult environmental problem."
- Judith M. Dean, Brandeis University
"Pearson's book gives a thorough treatment of all central topics related to climate policy. It is up-to-date with references to recent research and it is written in a style that is also accessible to non-economists."
- Michael Hoel, University of Oslo
"Climate change is arguably the biggest economic and political challenge of the 21st century. This book provides an excellent survey of the economic literature on global warming with a special emphasis on the contributions of cost-benefit analysis. The author also shows the reasons why political efforts to mitigate global warming have had little success so far. This stimulating, well-written book on a topical issue, by a recognized expert in the field, should attract a wide readership beyond the narrow group of economic specialists."
- Werner E. Neudeck, Vienna School of International Studies
"Just as rapid internationalization of the world's economies made closed-economy approaches to macroeconomic policy obsolete, the economics of climate change are transforming the way we think about applied microeconomic policy. Economics and the Challenge of Global Warming offers an insightful, articulate, rigorous, and comprehensive review of the topic, written in an intuitive and easy-to-follow manner by a crack professor with extensive experience. I would highly recommend it."
- Michael G. Plummer, Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris
"Charles Pearson is a widely respected and senior figure in the international relations field and he has produced an authoritative and up-to-date volume of great relevance to debate on one of today's leading global issues: climate change. He focuses on the role of economics, including cost-benefit analysis and the cost effectiveness of different strategies and policies. His book will be welcomed and widely read."
- John Whalley, University of Western Ontario
Introduction and a roadmap
1. Climate change: background information
2. The role of cost benefit in climate policy
3. Discounting and social weighting (aggregating over time and space)
4. Empirical results: a tasting menu
5. Strategic responses
6. Targets and tools
7. Trade and global warming
8. The challenge of international cooperation
9. Beyond Kyoto
10. A summing up
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Charles S. Pearson is Senior Adjunct Professor of International Economics and Environment at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna and Professor Emeritus at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC. During his tenure at SAIS he directed the International Economics Program for 17 years and taught at all three campuses in Washington, Bologna and Nanjing.
His teaching and research reflect a deep interest in international environmental economics. He pioneered seminars on trade and environment, the role of multinational corporations and environmental cost-benefit analysis. His books reflect these interests, with research on global warming published as early as 1978. They include Environment: North and South; International Marine Environment Policy; and Economics and the Global Environment (Cambridge University Press, 2000). He has been Adjunct Senior Associate at the World Resources Institute and the East West Center and consultant to the U.S. government, international organizations and industrial, financial and legal organizations in the private sector. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Cornell University.