Economists, Uncertainty and Climate Change

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Speaker: Professor John Quiggin (School of Economics, UQ)
Date: 8th April 2011

The problem of climate change raises problems for many different disciplines. Economic analysis of climate change must begin with estimates of the likely rate of climate change under ‘business as usual’ policies and under feasible mitigation strategies.  Such estimates involve inherent uncertainty, which has been exacerbated by a political debate characterized by sustained attacks on science and scientists. One aspect of this debate has been disputes over whether the global temperature record does in fact exhibit an upward trend attributable to human influences. The issues here turn largely on the interpretation of time series statistics, an issue in which economists have considerable experience. In this talk I will discuss how economists deal with uncertainty about climate change.