Climate shock The economic consequences of a hotter planet

Gernot Wagner, 1980-

Book - 2015

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Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press [2015]
Physical Description
xi, 250 pages ; 23 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Main Author
Gernot Wagner, 1980- (author)
Other Authors
Martin L. Weitzman, 1942- (author)
Review by Choice Reviews

In their attempt at tackling a defining environmental and public policy issue of our time, Wagner (senior economist, Environmental Defense Fund) and Weitzman (Harvard Univ.) seem to be writing three separate books.  The introductory section, on the global implications of climate change, is exceptionally well done and the most valuable part of the book.  A section on the need to price carbon as the economic solution to climate change follows, and in a third section (stuck in the middle of the book), the authors discuss the benefits and costs of geoengineering.  The first two sections are well integrated, identifying carbon pricing as the most efficient way to internalize negative externalities associated with pollution production; they are written for a general audience and extremely easy to read.  The third section, however, seems out of place; geoengineering is identified as a short-term solution that "cures the symptom, not the disease," but the authors fall short of providing a coherent explanation for why this is preferable to other economic arguments.  The authors would have been better off leaving out the geoengineering material or finding a better way of integrating it into their economic arguments. Summing Up: Optional. General readers. --B. J. Peterson, Central College Brian J. Peterson Central College Copyright 2014 American Library Association.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

How knowing the extreme risks of climate change can help us prepare for an uncertain futureIf you had a 10 percent chance of having a fatal car accident, you'd take necessary precautions. If your finances had a 10 percent chance of suffering a severe loss, you'd reevaluate your assets. So if we know the world is warming and there's a 10 percent chance this might eventually lead to a catastrophe beyond anything we could imagine, why aren't we doing more about climate change right now? We insure our lives against an uncertain future--why not our planet?In Climate Shock, Gernot Wagner and Martin Weitzman explore in lively, clear terms the likely repercussions of a hotter planet, drawing on and expanding from work previously unavailable to general audiences. They show that the longer we wait to act, the more likely an extreme event will happen. A city might go underwater. A rogue nation might shoot particles into the Earth's atmosphere, geoengineering cooler temperatures. Zeroing in on the unknown extreme risks that may yet dwarf all else, the authors look at how economic forces that make sensible climate policies difficult to enact, make radical would-be fixes like geoengineering all the more probable. What we know about climate change is alarming enough. What we don't know about the extreme risks could be far more dangerous. Wagner and Weitzman help readers understand that we need to think about climate change in the same way that we think about insurance--as a risk management problem, only here on a global scale.Demonstrating that climate change can and should be dealt with--and what could happen if we don't do so--Climate Shock tackles the defining environmental and public policy issue of our time.