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Position Note on Economic Aspects of Climate Change

Jun 5, 2020

Global climate change is materializing. It can reach catastrophic levels unless consumption, production and investment behavior patterns change in the coming years.

The UN has focused on quantity targets in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to reduce GHG emissions so far. These point in the right direction, although they could usefully be made more ambitious. However, they are not enough to mitigate climate change, since they are contradicted by micro-level signals stemming from carbon pricing (which currently fails to fully reflect all costs of using fossil fuels) and regulatory gaps.

​This position note explains the need to align macro-level and micro-level policies to avoid massive climate change and explores specific policy instruments to do so. It stresses that a globally stable solution requires a critical mass of actors and “changing the rules of the game”. It notes that the choice we face is whether we take action at still relatively low cost and while the severe effects are still reversible, or act only later at much higher cost and when room for maneuver is severely diminished.

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