Atkinson Memorial Lecture 2023: The economics of discounting and carbon valuation under deep uncertainties

This event will be in-person and also streamed online. In either case, please register for this event - online participants will receive a link for viewing after registering. The in person event will be followed by a drinks reception, 5-6pm at the Manor Road Building. If you would like to meet with the speaker or to attend the lecture dinner, please email (spaces are limited).

The energy transition will be costly, but it will reduce much larger climate damages in the future without it. In order to compare these immediate costs with their future benefits, one must estimate the “carbon value”, which is ideally equal to the discounted value of the flow of marginal climate damages. This raises the issue of the rate at which very distant climate damages should be discounted. I will explore the economic and moral issues behind our discounting systems in relation to our responsibilities towards future generations, and how they translate into a climate discount rate. I will be particularly interested in the role of the deep uncertainties surrounding the fate of our civilization on this Planet, the intensity of climate change, and the speed of green technological progress.