Spash, Clive L. (1993): Future harm and current obligations: the case of global warming. Published in: Ecological Economics , Vol. 10, No. 1 (1994): pp. 27-36.
Download (9MB) | Preview
There is a time during which aggregate benefits from greenhouse gas emissions dominate costs, but less comfort should be drawn from this situation than current emphasis on double CO2 scenarios suggests. The intertemporal asymmetry of impacts means initial benefits to most regions, from slight global warming, turn into very large economic costs, as warming continues. Economic decisions over what action, if any, to take concerning the greenhouse effect are essentially controlled by the social discount rate. The discount rate chosen implicitly attributes intertemporal weights to welfare and implies a moral stance. Once the future is considered from an ethical perspective a conflict is apparent between the view that the current generation need be unconcerned over the loss or injury caused to future generations, because they will benefit from advances in technology, investments in both man-made and natural capital, and direct bequests, and the requirement to avoid harming the innocent. Changes in units of welfare cannot be viewed as equivalent regardless of their direction. In general, doing harm is not cancelled out by doing good. The result is a rejection of the potential compensation principle and acceptance of the need to carefully consider the moral constraints upon economic activities creating global warming.
|Item Type:||MPRA Paper|
|Original Title:||Future harm and current obligations: the case of global warming|
|Keywords:||cost-benefit analysis; ethics; greenhouse effect; climate change; future generations; pollution; social discount rate|
|Subjects:||D - Microeconomics > D6 - Welfare Economics
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I3 - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty > I31 - General Welfare, Well-Being
O - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O13 - Agriculture ; Natural Resources ; Energy ; Environment ; Other Primary Products
Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics ; Environmental and Ecological Economics > Q5 - Environmental Economics > Q54 - Climate ; Natural Disasters and Their Management ; Global Warming
|Depositing User:||Clive L. Spash|
|Date Deposited:||24 Jun 2012 02:46|
|Last Modified:||16 Apr 2016 16:51|
Abrahamson, P.H. (Editor) (1989), The Challenge of Global Warming. Washington, D.C.: Island Press.
Adams, R.M. (1989), Global Climate Change and Agriculture: An Economic Perspective, American Journal of Agricultural Economics 71, no.5:1272-1279.
Attfield, R, (1983), The Ethics of Environmental Concern, New York: Columbia University Press.
Ayres, R.U. and J. Walter (1991) The Greenhouse Effect: Damages, Costs and Abatement" Environmental and Resource Economics 1 no.3 237-270.
Batie, S.S. and H.H. Shugart (1989), The Biological Consequences of Climate Changes: An Ecological and Economic Assessment. In N.J. Rosenberg, W.E. Easterling, P.R. Crosson, and J. Darmstadter (Editors) Greenhouse Warming: Abatement and Adaptation, Washington, D.C.: Resources for the Future.
Bentham, J, (1843), Reprinted in W. Stark (Editor) TheEconomic Writings of Jeremy Bentham, London: George Allen and Unwin, 1954, iii, p.438-439.
Barry, B. (1983), Intergenerational Justice in Energy Policy. In D. Maclean and P.G. Brown (Editors), Energy and the Future, Totowa, NJ: Rowan and Allanheld.
Boulding, K.E. (1966), The Economics of the Coming Spaceship Earth. In: H.E. Daly (Editor), Economics, Ecology, Ethics, San Francisco: W.H. Freeman and Company, 1980.
Broadus, J.M., J.D. Milliman, S.F. Edwards, D.G. Aubrey and F. Gable, (1986), Rising Sea Level and Damming of Rivers: Possible Effects in Egypt and Bangladesh. In J.G. Titus (Editor), Effects of Changes in Stratospheric Ozone and Global Climate, Vol. IV. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Bromley, D.W. (1991) "Entitlements, Missing Markets, and Environmental Uncertainty: Reply" Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 20 no.3 May 297-302.
Callendar, G.S., (1938). The Artificial Production of Carbon Dioxide. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meterological Society, 64:223-240.
Ciborowski, P., (1989). Sources, Sinks, Trends, and Opportunities. In: D.E. Abrahamson (Editor) The Challenge of Global Warming, Washington, D.C.: Island Press.
Cline, W.R. (1991), "Scientific Basis for the Greenhouse Effect" Economic Journal 101 July:904-919.
Crosson, P.R. (1989), Climate Change: Problems of Limits and Policy Responses. In N.J. Rosenberg, W.E. Easterling, P.R. Crosson, and J. Darmstadter (Editors) Greenhouse Warming: Abatement and Adaptation, Washington, D.C.: Resources for the Future.
Daily, G.C., P.R. Ehrlich, H.A. Mooney, and A.H. Ehrlich, (1991) Greenhouse Economics: Learn Before You Leap Ecological Economics 4:1-10.
d'Arge, R.C. and C.L. Spash (1991), Economic Strategies for Mitigating the Impacts of Climate Change on Future Generations. In R. Costanza (Editor) Ecological Economics: The Science and Management of Sustainability New York: Columbia University Press.
d'Arge, R.C. (Editor) (1975), Economic and Social Measures of Biological and Climatic Change, Vol.6, Climate Impact Assessment Program. U.S. Department of Transport.
d'Arge, R.C. and K.C. Kogiku (1973), Economic Growth and the Environment. Review of Economic Studies, 40:61-78.
d'Arge, R.C. (1971) Essay on Economic Growth and Environmental Quality, The Swedish Journal of Economics, 73, no.1.
Fisher, A.C. (1981) Resource and Environmental Economics, Cambridge: CUP.
Freeman, A.M. (1986) The Ethical Basis of the Economic View of the Environment. In: D. VanDeVeer and C. Pierce (Editors) People, Penguins, and Plastic Trees. Belmont, Ca.: Wadsworth Inc.
Gates, D.M. (1983), An Overview. In: E.R. Lemon (Editor) CO2 and Plants: The Response of Plants to Rising Levels of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Goemans, T. (1986), The Sea Also Rises: The Ongoing Dialogue of the Dutch With the Sea. In: J.G. Titus (Editor), Effects of Changes in Stratospheric Ozone and Global Climate, Vol. IV. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Hansen, J., A. Lacis, D. Rind, G. Russell, I. Furg, P. Ashcroft, S. Lebedeff, R. Ruedy and P. Stone (1986), The Greenhouse Effect: Projections of Global Climate Change. In: J.G. Titus (Editor), Effects of Changes in Stratospheric Ozone and Global Climate, Vol. IV. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Heal, G. (1986), The Intertemporal Problem. In: D.W. Bromley (Editor) Natural Resources Economics Policy Problems and Contemporary Analysis. Boston: Kluwer Nijhoff Publishing.
Hoffman, J.S. (1986), The importance of knowing sooner. In: J.G. Titus (Editor), Effects of Changes in Stratospheric Ozone and Global Climate, Vol. I. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Idso, S.B. (1983), Carbon Dioxide and Global Temperature: What the Data Show. Journal of Environmental Quality. 12(2):159-163.
Jaeger, J. (1989), Developing Policies for Responding to Climate Change. In: D.E. Abrahamson (Editor) The Challenge of Global Warming. Washington, D.C.: Island Press.
Jamieson, D. (1988), Managing the Future: Public Policy, Scientific Uncertainty, and Global Warming. Working Paper, Center for Values and Social Policy, Department of Philosophy, University of Boulder, CO.
Kavka, G. (1978), The Futurity Problem. In: R.I. Sikora and B. Barry (Editors) Obligations to Future Generations. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Lind R.C. (1982), "A Primer on the Major Issues Relating to the Discount Rate for Evaluating National Energy Options" in Discounting for Time and Risk in Energy Policy, ed R C Lind Baltimore: John Hopkins.
Loewenstein, G., and Thaler R. (1989), Anomalies: Intertemporal Choice. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 3, no.4:181-193.
MacDonald, G.J. (1988), Scientific Basis for the Greenhouse Effect. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 7, no.3:425-444.
Marglin, S. (1963) The Social Rate of Discount and the Optimal Rate of Investment. Quaterly Journal of Economics LXXVII February 95-111.
Mlot, C. (1989), Great Lakes Fish and the Greenhouse Effect BioScience 39, no.3:145.
Nordhaus, W. (July 1991), To Slow or Not to Slow: The Economics of the Greenhouse Effect Economic Journal 101 920-938.
Nordhaus W. (May 1991), A Sketch of the Economics of the Greenhouse Effect American Economic Review 81, no.2:146-150.
Nordhaus W. (1982), "How Fast Should We Graze the Global Commons?" American Economic Review Association Papers and Proceedings May, 72(2):242-246.
Page, T. (1988), Intergenerational Equity and the Social Rate of Discount. In: V.K. Smith (Editor) Environmental Resources and Applied Welfare Economics. Washington, D.C.: John Hopkins Press.
Page, T. (1977), Conservation and Economic Efficiency. Baltimore: Resources For The Future, Johns Hopkins Press.
Parry, M. (1990), Climate Change and World Agriculture London: Earthscan.
Pearce, D.W. (1983), Cost-Benefit Analysis, 2nd edition. Basingstoke: Macmillan Education Ltd.
Pojman, L.P. (1989), Ethical Theory: Classical and Contemporary Readings. Belmont, California: Wadsworth.
Quirk, J. and K. Terasawa (1991), Choosing a Government Discount Rate: An Alternative Approach. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 20:16-28.
Roberts, L. (1989), How Fast Can Trees Migrate? Science, 243:735-737.
Routley R., and V. Routley (1980), "Nuclear Energy and Obligations to the Future" in Responsibilities to Future Generations, editor Ernest Partridge, New York: Prometheus Books.
Sen, A.K. (1982), Approaches to the Choice of Discount Rates for Social Benefit-Cost Analysis. In: R.C. Lind (Editor), Discounting for Time and Risk in Energy Policy, Baltimore: Resources For The Future, Johns Hopkins Press.
Seneft, D. (1990), Greenhouse Effect May Not Be All Bad. Agricultural Research. October 38:20-23.
Spash, C.L. and R.C. d'Arge (1989), The Greenhouse Effect and Intergenerational Transfers. Energy Policy, 17, no.2 April:88-96.
Thomas, R.H. (1986), Future Sea Level Rise and its Early Detection by Satellite Remote Sensing. In: J.G. Titus (Editor), Effects of Changes in Stratospheric Ozone and Global Climate, Vol. IV. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Titus, J.G. (1989), The Cause and Effects of Sea Level Rise. In: D.E. Abrahamson (Editor) The Challenge of Global Warming. Washington, D.C.: Island Press.
Turner, R.K. (1988), Wetland Conservation: Economics and Ethics. In: D. Collard, D. Pearce and D. Ulph (Editors), Economics, Growth, and Sustainable Environment. New York: St Martin's Press.
Wuebbles, D.J., K.E. Grant, P.S. Connell and J.E. Penner, (1989), The Role of Atmospheric Chemistry in Climate Change. Journal of Air Pollution Control Association, 39, no1.