Summary of Climate Shock

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Rating

9

Qualities

  • Innovative

Recommendation

Even those in passionate pursuit of information on the economic impact of climate change won’t be neutral about this volume’s structure and style. The odd mix of an opening quiz and cute chapter titles – like “911” to indicate that climate change is an emergency and “411” for the chapter with informative descriptions of key concepts – will either draw you in or irritate you. Still, Gernot Wagner and Martin L. Weitzman, professors and experts on the economic impact of climate change, provide a clear, level headed discussion of how much climate change will cost. They address possible solutions, from policy changes that can be made now – carbon taxes and cap-and-trade – to more speculative concepts like geoengineering. They present, as the subtitle says, a well-informed economic perspective on climate change. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends their solid investigation to everyone, especially those interested in climate change, fiscal reasoning and credible forecasts about economic change. As Wagner notes, “It's not (just) what we know that ought to prompt climate action; it's what we don't know.”

About the Authors

Environmental Defense Fund lead senior economist Gernot Wagner teaches at Columbia and wrote But Will the Planet Notice? How Smart Economics Can Save the World. Harvard economics professor Martin L. Weitzman writes on the economic issues of climate change.

 

Summary

Thinking About Climate Change

Climate change is the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced. It will last for centuries, and fighting it will be hard. To address climate change, policy makers must deal with a complex array of players, make difficult trade-offs and think in new ways. People often ask economists to help with these sorts of decisions, because considering trade-offs is central to economics. However, economists need to think with particular care in this case, because the reasoning that worked thus far may not work in the face of extensive global change. The changes are too pervasive, and too many unknowns complicate forecasting the future and comprehending the present.

Crucial scientific questions about climate change remain unsettled. However, the best current understanding points to several sobering realities. Extreme weather will become more likely. As temperatures rise, the atmosphere and the oceans will gain increasing energy. Storms will become more powerful. Major storms, droughts and heatwaves will become more common.

“Four Factors”

Thinking about climate change is difficult for four reasons. First, it’s global rather than local. ...


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    S. R. 4 years ago
    This book is more climate non-sense.  Every climate prediction from these alarmists has been wrong.  In the 80's the world was going to be too cold.  In the late 90's it was going to get too hot.  The ice caps were going to melt and flood the world.  Well, the ice caps are bigger than ever.  Notice the subtle change in rhetorical language.  It's no longer "global warming."  It's "climate change."  Spend your time elsewhere...in reality.