Steep Cuts to Carbon Emissions Gain Stronger Economic Backing

As a growing number of global leaders pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions ahead of this week’s climate conference in Glasgow, an awkward question hovered in the background: Is it worth it? That is as much an economic as a scientific question, and the economics of climate are far less settled than the science.

Until recently, economic models, including one developed by the world’s best known climate economist, Nobel laureate William Nordhaus, concluded climate change would hurt economic growth, but not by enough to justify the steep cost of holding the rise in global temperatures to below 2 degrees celsius or achieving net zero emissions.