Climate shock: The economic consequences of a hotter planet

10 March 2015, 7.30 PM - 10 March 2015, 8.30 PM

Gernot Wagner

At-Bristol, Anchor Road, Bristol, BS1 5DB

If you had a ten percent chance of having a fatal car accident, you'd take necessary precautions. If your finances had a ten percent chance of suffering a severe loss, you'd reevaluate your assets. So if we know the world is warming and there's a ten percent chance this might eventually lead to a catastrophe beyond anything we could imagine, why aren't we doing more about climate change right now? We insure our lives against an uncertain future -- why not our planet?
In his new book Climate Shock (written with Martin Weitzman), Gernot Wagner explores in lively, clear terms the likely repercussions of a hotter planet, drawing on and expanding from work previously unavailable to general audiences. In this event, Wagner, senior economist at the Environmental Defense Fund, argues that the longer we wait to act, the more likely an extreme event will happen. A city might go underwater. A rogue nation might shoot particles into the Earth's atmosphere, geoengineering cooler temperatures. Zeroing in on the unknown extreme risks that may yet dwarf all else, Wagner looks at how economic forces that make sensible climate policies difficult to enact, make radical would-be fixes like geoengineering all the more probable. What we know about climate change is alarming enough. What we don't know about the extreme risks could be far more dangerous. Wagner helps us to understand that we need to think about climate change in the same way that we think about insurance -- as a risk-management problem, only here on a global scale.

About Gernot Wagner

Gernot Wagner serves as lead senior economist at the Environmental Defense Fund. He teaches energy economics as adjunct associate professor at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. His books include But Will the Planet Notice? (Hill & Wang/Farrar Strauss & Giroux, 2011) and Climate Shock, written with Harvard’s Martin Weitzman (Princeton University Press, 2015). Wagner served on the editorial board of the Financial Times as a Peter Martin Fellow, where he covered economics, energy, and the environment. He holds a joint bachelor’s magna cum laude with highest honors in environmental science, public policy, and economics, and a master’s and PhD. in political economy and government from Harvard, as well as a master’s in economics from Stanford. He is also a research associate at the Harvard Kennedy School and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


This event is free to attend and open to all but you must register for a ticket as places are limited.
This event is being run by Bristol Festival of Ideas in association with the Univeristy of Bristol's Cabot Institute and Bristol 2015.
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Contact the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership if you have any queries.

Gernot Wagner

Gernot Wagner

Culture Shock book

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