Graham Sustainability Institute

Climate Economics and Policy

EAS 575

Climate change is sometimes called the greatest challenge humanity as a whole has ever faced. It is a truly global collective action problem, whose social costs will be massive, widespread, unpredictable, and inequitably distributed. Economic analysis of the climate problem is valuable for a number of reasons: economics provides a framework for understanding incentives for human behavior; it facilitates the measurement of costs and benefits; and it is a language to which people listen, from the highest levels of government down to the individual household. In this course, we will use the lens of economics to clarify the challenge of climate change, understand market function in emissions-intensive industries, and evaluate the theoretical and empirical impacts of the climate policies at our disposal. We will start by reviewing some foundational economic concepts and studying the impacts of climate change. From there, we will set our sights on the general policy problem and assess the performance of different policy instruments along a variety of dimensions. In the second half of the course, we will focus on specific sectors: electricity, transportation, and agriculture and industry.

Environment and Sustainability
Winter 2021