What role should economists play in climate policy? That’s a crucial question for James K. Boyce, professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, director of the environment program at the Political Economy Research Institute, and author of the forthcoming book, The Case for Carbon Dividends (Polity Press, 2018).
Boyce suggests that economists can bring important insights into the choices we face in climate policy. In particular, economics can shed light on the crucial role of carbon pricing, how a pricing scheme should be instituted, and what distributional impacts it would have. He also points out that there are important questions that economics should not try to answer. In particular, economics cannot be relied upon to tell us what limit we should put on the quantity of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that we add to the atmosphere.