Economics, Ethics and Climate Change

20 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2008

See all articles by Simon Dietz

Simon Dietz

London School of Economics - Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and Department of Geography and Environment

Cameron J. Hepburn

London School of Economics, Grantham Research Institute

Nicholas Stern

Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change

Date Written: December 2007

Abstract

Climate change raises challenging questions in the economics of risk, space, time and in broader aspects of human well-being. Many of these are normative questions, which cannot be addressed without engaging with difficult ethical issues. The relationship between economics and ethics cuts both ways: careful, explicit examination of the ethical issues can guide the formulation of relevant economic questions, and economic analysis can provide guidance on ethical issues by clarifying the consequences of particular ethical viewpoints. Climate change demands that a number of ethical perspectives be considered. Welfare economics is just one perspective, and the standard 'workhorse' model, while powerful, has a particularly restrictive structure. Furthermore, it is not enough to simply presume that existing markets can provide a technocratic solution to questions of intergenerational justice. Coherent analysis requires the integration of economics with moral and political philosophy, a theme in much of Amartya Sen's work.

Keywords: change, discounting, ethics, intergenerational equity, risk

JEL Classification: D61, D63, Q01, Q54

Suggested Citation

Dietz, Simon and Hepburn, Cameron J. and Stern, Nicholas, Economics, Ethics and Climate Change (December 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1090572 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1090572

Simon Dietz (Contact Author)

London School of Economics - Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and Department of Geography and Environment ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/dietzs

Cameron J. Hepburn

London School of Economics, Grantham Research Institute ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
Great Britain

HOME PAGE: http://www.cameronhepburn.com

Nicholas Stern

Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change

HM Treasury
1 Horse Guards Road
London SW1A 2HQ
United Kingdom

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