Professor Stavins will begin by arguing that an economic perspective is essential for full understanding – and hence the best action – on the problem of global climate change. He will review how the natural science of climate change leads to the economics of climate change and how that leads to the key geopolitical challenges presented by this global commons problem. He will describe why policy analysts around the world have focused on carbon pricing as a key policy instrument to address climate change, will describe the worldwide status of carbon pricing, including both carbon taxes and cap-and-trade policies, and will examine the basic consequences of explicit and implicit carbon pricing. This will lead to a discussion of the international dimensions of climate change policy. Professor Stavins will describe the Paris Agreement and emphasize how it is a departure from twenty years of climate negotiations. Given that national policies are key, he will turn his attention to the types of policies that countries have put in place and may launch in the future. This raises the question of how the Trump administration will affect global progress. First, Stavins will examine the path the administration has taken and is likely to take in the future with domestic climate policy, and then he will look at the Trump administration’s approach in the international domain. He will conclude with reflections on the path ahead for the Paris Agreement.
About the Speaker
Robert N. Stavins is the A. J. Meyer Professor of Energy & Economic Development at the Harvard Kennedy School, Director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, Director of Graduate Studies for the Doctoral Programs in Public Policy and Political Economy & Government, Co Chair of the Harvard Business School Kennedy School Joint Degree Programs, and Director of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements. He is a University Fellow of Resources for the Future, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, Co-Editor of the Review of Environmental Economics and Policy and the Journal of Wine Economics, and a member of the Board of Directors of Resources for the Future and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei. He is an elected Fellow of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. He was formerly Chairman of the Environmental Economics Advisory Committee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board. He has been a Lead Author of the Second, Third, and Fifth Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. His research has focused on diverse areas of environmental economics and policy, and has appeared in leading economics, law, and policy journals, as well as a dozen books. He has been a consultant to the several Administrations, Members of Congress, environmental advocacy groups, the World Bank, the United Nations, state and national governments, and private foundations and firms. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Northwestern University, an M.S. in agricultural economics from Cornell, and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard.