Climate Change Economics


Here is the last set of slides for the course. Also, here are the answers to the second midterm. 


Here is  all the information about the final exam. The final exam is on Tuesday May 21 in KY258 11am to 1pm.


There is no class on Thursday May 9. I have to attend a meeting I cannot get out of. See the pages of information about the exam.


There was a mix-up with the midterm exam, so everyone will have another chance. The midterm is now a take-home exam, to hand in on Tuesday May 7 in class. Here is the exam; circle the correct answers and write your name at the top of the paper.


The midterm will have mostly definitional questions on:

  • the social discount rate; you need to know the formula for the social discount rate and what each term means; and why we need a social discount rate (and what hyperbolic discounting is). 

  • the three economic metrics are (%GDP, social cost of carbon, optimal temperature limits

  • the dose-response function

  • energy-switching, adaptation, cultural change,  geo-engineering

  • the criteria for evaluating drawdown solutions

  • not much at all on carbon tax, cap and trade, green subsidies

Check the slide sets 4, 5, 6, and 7  for definitions.

Attached here are two readings (chapter and report) on carbon taxes and 'cap+trade'.


We are going to have another midterm exam - same format as the first one. Your highest score between the two midterms will count. The date of the midterm is Tuesday April 30. 

The midterm will cover economic metrics, discounting, five solutions to climate change, and the mechanisms (taxes, permits, subsidies - we have not covered these yet).


Here are the next two sets of slides: slide set 7 and slide set 8. We are going to go through climate change solutions over the next two weeks as well.


We are going to be discussing solutions posted at this drawdown website. You will need to be able to discuss one of these solutions in class. Get into groups together of 1, 2, 3, or 4 students; choose one of the 80 solutions and we can discuss it.


Here is the text of the Green New Deal


There are two interesting talks coming up:

  • Wed. April 10 at 12:15pm: Climate Change: Where are we today? And what can we do about it? John Pershing - Program Director, Environment, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Former State Dept., and UN Climate Change negotiator for US Former Secretary of Energy 

  • Wed. April 17 at 12:15pm: Young People's World: Making Your Future Energy, Climate & Human Rights. Jim Hansen, Columbia University, Director, Program on Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions, The Earth Institute at Columbia University

Professor Hansen is probably the world's most prominent climate scientist


Try again with the reading below (3/13/19). After this reading we are going to be moving on to solutions to climate change. See slide set 6.


No students got the hyperbolic discounting question correct, so there is no extra credit for that. Check revised slide set 4 for the answers.


We have finished discounting. Here is slide set 5. There is also a reading; we will probably discuss this on 3/26.


Here are the answers to the midterm (answer set A and answer set D). The average grade was around 60. If you got above 70 you are doing fine. If you got below 50, you need to increase your effort somehow (readings, class participation, review slides).


Reading 5 (This week we are going to talk about the present and the future).

Here is slide set 4 (revised above).


Reading 4 (There are a lot of chapters here so we will go slowly over them; try the first 3 chapters then take a break; we will discuss these next week).


Reading 3  (This is very difficult, so read the one-page summary first. In class 2/19 I will go through the main ideas, then we can discuss it in class 2/21 and 2/26)

Slide set 3 (These slides will be covered over a lot of lectures, so read them one part at a time)


Midterm exam: our midterm exam will be on Thursday March 7. It will be a set of 40 multiple choice questions on the material on slide sets 1 and 2. It will be definitions but will require understanding of Harberger triangles. We will prep on Tuesday March 5.


Slide set 2

Reading 2 (for discussion on 2/14)


Slide set 1

Reading 1 (only sections A and B for discussion on 2/5)


Room change: we are now going to be in Kiely Hall, room KY258.


Welcome to this class. We start on Tuesday Jan 29th.

Here is the syllabus.

There are some immediate guidelines:

  • Class participation - you will not pass unless you participate

  • Attendance - you will not pass if you do not attend regularly

  • Reading - if you do not like reading a lot, you will not enjoy this course