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Paul Krugman's introduction to climate economics


Once you filter out the noise generated by special-interest groups, you discover that there is widespread agreement among environmental economists that a market-based program to deal with the threat of climate change — one that limits carbon emissions by putting a price on them — can achieve large results at modest, though not trivial, cost. There is, however, much less agreement on how fast we should move, whether major conservation efforts should start almost immediately or be gradually increased over the course of many decades.

In what follows, I will offer a brief survey of the economics of climate change or, more precisely, the economics of lessening climate change. I’ll try to lay out the areas of broad agreement as well as those that remain in major dispute. First, though, a primer in the basic economics of environmental protection.

That's from Paul Krugman's sweeping overview of the economics of climate change. Highly recommended.

Photo credit: By Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

By Ezra Klein  |  April 7, 2010; 5:33 PM ET
Categories:  Climate Change  
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Short Krugman: Do whatever it takes to get a deal.

My question: Where do we draw the line on accepting regressive solutions to achieve worthy policy goals?

Posted by: bmull | April 7, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Why do I sense a giant, unsustainable carbon credit bubble coming on?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | April 7, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Yes Kevin, so maybe we should ban any activities that lead to bubbles, such as, oh, I don't know, capitalism?

Posted by: Lomillialor | April 7, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse


We need everyone to cut back on carbon emissions, the lower middle class included, so we need to raise the relative price of carbon on them as well as the rich. The proceeds of a carbon tax can be redistributed on a pro rata basis to offset the regressive nature of a carbon tax.

Posted by: justin84 | April 8, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Paul is an economist who seems to think that climate change deserves a lot of words. Why do you write about it so little?

Posted by: SamPenrose | April 8, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

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