Continuing Education... Martin Weitzman on Climate Change
By Amy Willis
Is climate change the ultimate Black Swan? Harvard’s Martin Weitzman joined Russ this week to talk about the potential risks of rising CO2 levels and what policies might be appropriate as a response.
Here are questions for thinking about this week’s episode. We feel to respond in the comments making EconTalk more useful to our audience.
1. What are your top three takeaways from this week’s episode?
2. What does Russ mean when he refers to rising temperatures as “an infra-marginal problem?” What does this suggest about the sorts of solutions that might be best suited to mitigate the externalities of climate change?
3. Weitzman mentions a $40/ton tax on carbon emissions. Try to find out where this estimate comes from. What key assumptions underlie that number?
4. Russ says of Weitzman and Wagner’s book, ” Your book is a breath of fresh air in the sense that you don’t overclaim. You are extremely modest; and yet despite that modesty you still want some dramatic solutions. Which I’m slightly more interested in being in favor of, after reading your book.” To what extent has this episode changed your thinking on climate change. Explain.
5. Most people have very strong views on climate change and whether policies should be put in place to affect carbon dioxide emissions. If you have a strong view on the matter, can you imagine empirical evidence that might change your view or get you to reconsider your position?