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Optimal Learning on Climate Change: Why climate skeptics should reduce emissions

Sweder van Wijnbergen () and Tim Willems

No 111, OxCarre Working Papers from Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford

Abstract: Climate skeptics typically argue that the possibility that global warming is exogenous, implies that we should not take additional action towards reducing emissions until we know what drives warming. This paper however shows that even climate skeptics have an incentive to reduce emissions: such a directional change generates information on the causes of global warming. Since the optimal policy depends upon these causes, they are valuable to know. Although increasing emissions would also generate information, that option is inferior due to its irreversibility. We show that optimality can even imply that climate skeptics should actually argue for lower emissions than believers.

Keywords: climate policy; global warming; climate skepticism; active learning; irreversibilities (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D83 Q54 Q58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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Related works:
Journal Article: Optimal learning on climate change: Why climate skeptics should reduce emissions (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: Optimal Learning on Climate Change: Why Climate Skeptics should reduce Emissions (2012) Downloads
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