Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Yale starts center for climate change and energy studies


We were there first, with our Center for Global Change and Sustainability!

Actually, I imagine all serious universities will soon see the connection between these two formerly disparate areas of study and link departments.

Energy and energy policy used to be the province of engineering departments and policy schools. While climate change was in geosciences.

What's missing?

Only ecological economics.

As it stands, most of these departments will come into the world with either conventional economics, a dead duck, or with environmental economics, which can't cope with a global ecological issue because it can only deal with one pollutant at a time: "getting the price right." Only ecological economics has an theory and explanation of what to do when a systemic problem threatens the entire planet. Our global change problems will continue to compound until we find a way to scale down human impacts, and population, across the board.

The Yalies are smart enough. (Some of my mentors actually went there.) I expect they will eventually find a decent ecological economist for this new department soon enough. And they'll probably give him a conventional economist and a Stern-ian environmental economist to argue with.

Who said ideas and theory were not important?

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