Friday, December 29, 2006

Why economists are not worried about global warming

Robert Whaples, Chair of the Department of Economics at Wake Forest University:
The growing literature on this topic suggests that most parts of the economy are not very vulnerable to climate change. Just as importantly, parts of the economy that might be negatively impacted are pretty flexible and adaptable to change. If climate does change, crops can be modified, different crops can be planted and crops can be planted in different places, for example. If sea levels rise, we have the ability and resources to build protective structures or, in a worse case scenario, simply move to higher ground.

Thus, while potential climate changes might be devastating to parts of the environment, most economists don't think that it will affect our economic standard of living much, one way or the other. The bottom line is that recent history has shown economists that the primary cause of economic growth is technological improvement. Climate change cannot staunch the global torrent of new discoveries, processes and products. Human ingenuity is the ultimate resource and - as far as most economists are concerned - rising greenhouse gas levels cannot imperil this.
If you consider that the least developed parts of the world are generally the least adaptable, global warming could increase global income inequality.

Link via Newmark's Door.


Blogger Scott of Hybla said...

This might be a good spot for a real estate ad:

8:45 PM  

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