Back in 2010, I published my book Climatopolis. This book presents a free markets approach for thinking about how we will adapt to the very real threat of climate change. I argue that urbanization, innovation, migration, competition and economic growth will play crucial roles in protecting us from a scary emerging challenge. I discuss cases when government policy will aid adaptation and other cases when it will unintentionally impede adaptation. I sketch a research agenda for environmental lawyers seeking to create “new rules of the game” that facilitate adaptation. Many environmental lawyers (and most of the UCLA faculty outside of the economics department) implicitly embrace a behavioral economics mindset. My book challenges such pessimism as it nudges readers to think through the consequences of what happens to a diverse society that is a mixture of Mr. Spocks and Homer Simpsons.
While nobody read the book, it enraged everyone. Fast forward to 2013 and it is now possible to calmly discuss climate adaptation. So, permit me to re-introduce my book’s main themes. For a broad (and free) overview read this. For readers who embrace the Freakonomics worldview, read my thoughts here and here.
Matthew E. Kahn is a Professor at the UCLA Institute of the Environment, the Department of Economics, and the Department of Public Policy. He is a research associate at t…READ more