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Carbon pricing and the precautionary principle

John Quiggin ()

No 152098, Risk and Sustainable Management Group Working Papers from University of Queensland, School of Economics

Abstract: The problem of climate change has been described as ‘a unique challenge for economics: it is the greatest and. widest-ranging market failure ever seen’ (Stern 2007, p. i). Among the factors that make climate change a difficult, the most important, arguably, is uncertainty about the future course of climate change, and the effect of policies aimed at mitigating climate change. Although there is a large literature on the economic analysis of choice under uncertainty, many crucial issues are poorly understood by policymakers and the general public. In particular, uncertainty about climate change under ‘business as usual’ policies is commonly seen as a reason for inaction. On the other hand, the widely-used ‘precautionary principle’ is generally interpreted as suggesting that early action is desirable. To resolve the conflict between these intuitions, it is necessary to consider in more detail the principles for choice in the face of environmental uncertainty and, particularly, the interpretation of the precautionary principle.

Keywords: Environmental Economics and Policy; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 16
Date: 2013-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ene, nep-env and nep-res
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ags:uqsers:152098

DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.152098

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