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Saving the Planet Cost-Effectively

February 17, 2021

One-fifth of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions are covered by a carbon pricing program. The range of advocates for a U.S. carbon tax span the political landscape, from economist Arthur Laffer to climate scientist Jim Hansen. As Washington DC delays taking action on climate change, a dozen states have priced carbon emissions through pollution markets. What does it mean to price carbon? What would it mean for our everyday lives? What would it mean for the environment? What are the political opportunities and barriers to moving forward with carbon pricing? Can carbon pricing deliver a Green New Deal, or is it a ploy to undermine ambitious efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions? This presentation draws from the theory and practice of carbon pricing and pollution markets more generally to address these questions and explore the potential design of U.S. climate change policy.

Joseph AldyA Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, economist Joseph E. Aldy is Professor of the Practice of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is a University Fellow at Resources for the Future, a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a Senior Adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. His research focuses on climate change policy, energy policy, and regulatory policy. He also serves as the Faculty Chair of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government Regulatory Policy Program. In 2009-2010, he served as the Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Environment at the White House. Aldy previously served as Co-Director of the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements, Co-Director of the International Energy Workshop, and worked on the staff of the President's Council of Economic Advisers.

Organized with Economics & Accounting and the Phi Beta Kappa Society, this event is sponsored by the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture.