Research questions for a green, inclusive economy

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A presentation held by Cameron Hepburn at the Green Economy Workshop in Stockholm 10-11/2 2014

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Research questions for a green, inclusive economy

  1. 1. Research questions for a green, inclusive economy Green Economy Workshop Cameron Hepburn Professor of Environmental Economics Smith School and INET at Martin School, University of Oxford and New College Professorial Research Fellow, LSE Monday 10 February 2014 1
  2. 2. Agenda 1. 2. 3. Metrics Vision Transition 2
  3. 3. Could wealth accounts realistically complement GDP as the focus of public obsession? Wealth per capita (2005 USD) $1,000,000 $800,000 $600,000 $400,000 $200,000 $0 NOR USA GBR NLD FRA CAN ITA NZL ESP ISR KOR POL ROU -$200,000 Produced capital Natural capital Net foreign assets Human capital Intangible residual Total wealth Source: Hamilton and Hepburn (2014, Oxrep) “Wealth”, forthcoming 3
  4. 4. Then develop a metric of prosperity as the accumulation of solutions to human problems? Source: McLaughlin et al. (2014, Oxrep) “Historical wealth accounts for the Britain”, forthcoming 4
  5. 5. Agenda 1. 2. 3. Metrics Vision Transition 5
  6. 6. Prices are powerful, but systems thinking (resilience, non-marginality, ABIAM) is critical Forests, fisheries, ecosystems, biodiversity is all “renewable” natural capital Often the most valuable assets (coal, oil, gas) are “exhaustible” natural capital 6
  7. 7. The politics of the transition are critical – can we better use leverage points? Rest of the World 25 China As likely as not, CO2 only 30 Land use Likely, CO2 only 35 Likely Aggregate Fossil Fuel CO2 extraction [GtCO2] 40 Atmospheric space Fossil carbon reserves by country 20 Saudi Arabia Canada 15 Russia 10 USA 5 9th – 20th countries by reserves Iran 0 0 Australia India 50 100 Source: Otto, Allen and Hepburn (2014) based on Aurora Energy Research (2014) 150 200 Years of extraction at current rates 7
  8. 8. Agenda 1. 2. 3. Metrics Vision Transition 8
  9. 9. Key research questions on the transition relate to politics and innovation • • • • What drives down costs of clean energy? How have governance mechanisms for the commons emerge? How can we create the institutions that we need for the transition? How can firms use behavioural economics to develop the profitable business models that respect planetary boundaries? 9
  10. 10. Agenda 1. 2. 3. 4. Metrics Vision Transition More broadly…. 10
  11. 11. Brilliant young economists now see career prospects in working on these questions…. 11
  12. 12. What is needed is mutual understanding, even love, between disciplines…. 12
  13. 13. Thank you 13
  14. 14. Nature in the Balance, Jan (2014) The Economics and Politics of Climate Change 14

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