Saturday, April 10, 2010

Climate Change and Economics

I nearly always enjoy reading Paul Krugman's work. Not only is he a brilliant thinker, but he's a very good writer, with a knack for making complex subjects understandable.

So I was most pleased to see his piece today on climate change.

This is a topic near and dear to my heart. It was climate change and what we referred to at the time as the "greenhouse effect" that led me to study environmental science in college and to focus on the public policy aspects of that field. The intersection of science, economics, and politics is a fascinating, complex, and rewarding area, but not without its frustrations.

I recommend that you read Krugman's article. He concludes with what I think is meant to be a hopeful summary:
We know how to limit greenhouse-gas emissions. We have a good sense of the costs — and they’re manageable. All we need now is the political will.
Unfortunately, as he demonstrates earlier in his analysis, political will is hard to come by these days. Recent events haven't demonstrated to me that either the American body politic or its "leaders" have either the understanding or the backbone to make difficult choices. I fear we will dither ourselves into catastrophe.

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