"System change is now inevitable. Either because we do something about it, or because we will be hit by climate change. '...

"We need to develop economic models that are fit for purpose. The current economic frameworks, the ones that dominate our governments, these frameworks... the current economic frameworks, the neoclassical, the market frameworks, can deal with small changes. It can tell you the difference, if a sock company puts up the price of socks, what the demand for socks will be. It cannot tell you about the sorts of system level changes we are talking about here. We would not use an understanding of laminar flow in fluid dynamics to understand turbulent flow. So why is it we are using marginal economics, small incremental change economics, to understand system level changes?"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Jeffrey Sachs vs U of C Law Profs

Jeffrey Sachs has an interesting short article about Climate Change and the Law at Scientific American.

While it was a great (and I am sure they would agree, undeserved) honor to be associated with the geophysics deprtment at the University of Chicago, some other departments at the place spook me. In particular, Sachs refers to a couple of unnamed
distinguished professors of law at the University of Chicago, who argued in the Financial Times on August 5 that the U.S. has no obligations to control greenhouse gases, and that if other countries don’t like how the U.S. behaves and how that behavior affects them, they might think about paying the U.S. to cut its emissions. In other words, the U.S. should behave as it likes. It is up to the others to induce the U.S. to change course.
Sachs isn't buying this, and goes on to try to refute it, discussing in particular the recent Supreme Court ruling that greenhouse gases constitute pollution under American law.

I hope he's right. If he's wrong, if the laws of people and the laws of nature are in conflict, then it's human law that has to change.

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