Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rich Howarth Seminar at ANU: 4th November

Speaker: Richard Howarth, Pat and John Rosenwald Professor, Dartmouth College, Editor-in-Chief, Ecological Economics

Uncertainty, Ethics and the Economics of Climate Change

Climate change is a long-term, complex problem that involves fundamental uncertainties. As such, the evaluation of climate change policies depends critically on the links between time preference, risk aversion, and the perceived rights of future generations. In economics, these issues are often addressed using models that assume high rates of time preference and low risk aversion. Such models support only modest reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. This presentation, in contrast, will argue that aggressive climate stabilization policies are justified on two separate grounds. First, people reveal high rates of risk aversion in real-world market decisions. Accordingly, reducing climate risks provides highly valuable economic benefits. Second, failing to stabilize climate would impose large, uncompensated costs on future generations. This violates the moral premise that future generations are entitled to protection against uncompensated, potentially catastrophic harms.

Time & Place: 4.30pm, Wed 4 Nov, Innovations Building, Eggleston Road.

Drinks and nibbles afterwards, 6.00-6.45pm

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