Monday, March 30, 2015

Climate Shock (book) - the "Copenhagen Theory of Change"

Yale economist and Nobel laureate Robert J. Shiller posted to The Upshot, "a New York Times website with analysis
and data visualizations about politics, policy and everyday life."   You can read the entire article at this link. Excerpt
below. A public lecture given by "Climate Shock" author Gernot Wagner at London School of Economics is on YouTube.

"[Concerning the issue of global warming], some individuals with a strong moral compass will take action, and some
nations will do so occasionally, but most people and countries will not do so consistently. In a new book, "Climate Shock:
The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet" (PU Press, 2015), Gernot Wagner of the Environmental Defense Fund
and Martin L. Weitzman, a Harvard economist, question that assumption. In a  proposal that they call the Copenhagen
Theory of Change, they say that we should be asking people to volunteer to save our climate by taking many small, individual actions.

"Copenhagen has motivated half of its inhabitants to commute to work by bicycle every day, the Danish government says.
How did that come about? A half-century ago, the city's inhabitants were becoming almost as reliant on cars as people
anywhere else. But after the oil crisis of the 1970s, the authors point out, many Copenhagen residents made a personal
commitment to ride bicycles rather than drive, out of moral principle, even if that was inconvenient for them.

"That happened in American cities, too, but in Copenhagen there was more social support and, perhaps, social pressure to
join in the movement. The sight of so many others riding bikes motivated the city's inhabitants and appears to have improved
the moral atmosphere enough to surmount the free-rider problem."

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