Q&A with Frank Wolak, director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI)’s Program on Energy and Sustainable Development(PESD), and Mark Thurber, associate director for research of PESD. Written with Joshua Kenway and originally posted by the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.
According to a recent United Nations report, the world’s temperature will increase 1.5 degrees Celsius — the maximum amount of warming Earth can handle before seeing catastrophic results — in a mere 12 years. To avoid this, countries around the world would need to drastically lower their carbon emissions.
Because the US is deeply divided on what the response to climate change should be, and since President Trump has announced the country’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, current emissions reductions by the US will not be sufficient to avoid exceeding this limit, unless bold policy change is enacted swiftly. Carbon pricing is one of the few methods to reduce climate change that has received support from both sides of the aisle. For instance, former Secretary of State and FSI affiliate George Shultz, along with other leading Republicans, proposed a carbon dividends plan to reduce emissions without creating a financial burden for lower-income Americans. …
About the author: Ognen Stojanovski is a research scholar in the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development which is part of Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.