Energy is an essential component of economic growth. At the same time, rising worldwide demand for inexpensive, reliable energy runs up against evidence of the social costs of energy use. The broad consensus of scientific research shows that continued dependence on carbon-based fuels and their associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions create risks of substantial change to the earth’s climate, along with harm to the welfare of future generations. While this evidence has spurred domestic and international responses to regulate GHG emissions, there are daunting challenges to the successful design and implementation of a useful energy-climate policy.
Drawing from his research in this area, Robert Topel, the Isidore Brown and Gladys J. Brown Distinguished Service Professor at the Booth School of Business, delivered the spring Becker Brown Bag lecture on “Some Dismal Economics of Climate Policy.”