Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/87345
Authors: 
van Wijnbergen, Sweder
Willems, Tim
Year of Publication: 
2012
Series/Report no.: 
Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 12-085/2
Abstract: 
Climate skeptics argue that the possibility that global warming is exogenous implies that we should not take additional action towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions until we know more. However this paper shows that even climate skeptics have an incentive to reduce emissions: such a change of direction facilitates their learning process on the causes of global warming. Since the optimal policy action depends on these causes, they are valuable to know. Although an increase in emissions would also ease learning, that option is shown to be inferior because emitting greenhouse gases is irreversible. Consequently the policy implications of the different positions in the global warming debate turn out to coincide - thereby diminishing the relevance of this debate from a policy perspective. Uncertainty is no reason for inaction.
Subjects: 
climate policy
global warming
climate skepticism
active learning
irreversibilities
JEL: 
D83
Q54
Q58
Persistent Identifier of the first edition: 
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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