Economic Models and the Real-World Social Costs of Carbon

Economic theory mandates that it is worth reducing CO2 emissions up to the point where the benefits are equal to the cost. The social cost of carbon is an estimate, in dollars, of the economic damages from emitting one additional ton of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This metric is inextricably tied to the Neoliberal Economics and used by the UN and most governments to … Continue reading Economic Models and the Real-World Social Costs of Carbon

The economy of nature and the case for big government

I am an economist. As a professional ecologist I have been trained in the economy of nature. It is only those economists that service the financial industry who treat the human economy as if it is separate from the economy of nature. Since the time of Adam Smith the evidence has been overwhelming that they are tragically wrong. I continue to be impressed by the … Continue reading The economy of nature and the case for big government

A positive vision for Maine: A knowledge-based adaptation economy

Presently the governor of Maine has proposed a tax on nonprofits. This would severely impact the private colleges and universities in the state.  Per my argument below, this is coming at a time when re-investment in higher education is absolutely essential if we are to develop the adaptive capacity to respond to climate change.  Moreover, the state’s public institutions that comprise the University of Maine system are presently in the process of financial meltdown.  The U Maine system requires broad scale systematic foundational restructuring if it is to survive.  
The blog below provides a plan for a better future for Maine.  Leaders in the state are not talking about the kind of foundational change that is needed, and this is my attempt to at least start the conversation.  A version of this will appear in the Maine press in the near future.  A later installment will detail exactly how a knowledge economy will make money for Maine
This morning a new report from the U Maine Climate Institute was released.   This report confirms that natural resources in Maine are under imminent threat from climate change.


A slow motion train wreck is underway in Maine. This collision will play out over the next few decades and leave the state with an increasingly damaged economy and devastated natural resources. An economy with fewer and fewer young workers is running headlong into the effects of climate change on our natural resources. Continue reading “A positive vision for Maine: A knowledge-based adaptation economy”

Generational impacts of climate change: What will it mean for you?

Increasingly dire projections of the impact of climate change within this century are often met with morbid acceptance or dismissed as alarmist.   Dr. Joe Romm argues that first stage of “climate grief” is acceptance, which is the reverse of the Kübler-Ross model of grief that we personally experience when, say, confronted with a conclusive diagnosis of a terminal disease (cf., physicist Saul Griffith).  While Joe notes that what we are accepting is the science, it is my experience that non-scientists often move immediately from acceptance of the science to hopelessness.  After all, the scientific reality is pretty stark.  Here I will argue this is wrong-headed at any stage of the progression of anthropogenic climate change, and I hope to provide a context in which to understand what the science is telling us about what the twenty-something generation will experience. Continue reading “Generational impacts of climate change: What will it mean for you?”