Friday the 15th of March 2019 marked a new beginning, or so they say. Kids all around the world took the future in their own hands and marched onwards in a desperate attempt to make their voices heard. “The future is ours, don’t take it away from us,” they shouted. “Time to wake up,” was written in big print. “We have no planet B,” was a common reminder. The enthusiasm was really overwhelming. Nobody expected close to 10,000 students demonstrating in Luxembourg alone. Hundreds of thousands of German students marched the streets, the biggest number of young kids demonstrating since the sixties. Even the politicians came to show, one would guess, their support. In France, a sizable number of the gilet jaune, for some reason, joined the Friday strikes. What next? An assessment and suggestions.
This Friday, the 15th of March 2019, the students across the world are going on a strike. The goal is to wake up their politicians to the tasks ahead: we aren’t doing enough for our future, our world’s sustainability is not ensured, the climate is changing and we are simply not putting in enough effort to sufficiently minimize that change.
In my opinion, this grassroot movement, where our young kids are finally taking interest in something else but Fortnite, namely to secure their own future, could be a game changer. In order to support this movement, I was invited yesterday to one of the schools in Luxembourg, Lycee Technique Joseph Bech in Grevenmacher, and spent two hours presenting the climate change problem, why actions are too limited, what can and should be done, and why it is of utmost importance to especially strike in countries such as Luxembourg, and I took some time to discuss with the students. On Thursday I will do the same in Fieldgen, another school in the city of Luxembourg. So far the response has been very encouraging and the students are now far more motivated to go out and take their future in their own hands. Thus, I can only motivate everyone out there to explain their students the reasons for the strike, and the need of going out to show that even if the politicians don’t think this is an important enough problem, the young generation knows it is one.
According to the latest scientific research, the current climate action of all countries combined would imply a warming of around 3.4°C (above the pre-industrial level) by the end of the century. However, 1.5°C warming is what is currently considered to be a safe, acceptable level of warming. Without a significant change in the politicians’ attitude towards climate change and without a substantial change in their willingness to act, we are likely to see temperature increases that lead to unforeseeable consequences for life on planet Earth.
I can only reiterate a quote that has been attributed to the Dalai Lama: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in the same room with a mosquito.” Thus, students across the world, do not believe you are too small to make a change. Go and be that mosquito in the eyes of your politicians.
There are a couple of conferences that you should definitely try to attend if you are an environmental economist.
Firstly, there is EAERE in Manchester, UK, 26-29 June 2019. That’s going to be the place to be if you want to meet everyone in environmental economics and drink good UK beer before Brexit destroys that opportunity.
Then you should go to ISEFI in Paris, France, 23-24 May 2019, which, apart from blatant advertising as I am one of the co-organizers, is also a great event if you are into finance, energy, and environmental economics. Plus you get the added value of a lovely weekend in Paris, and who could say no to that. Submit your papers asap.
Then there is IRMBAM held in Nice, France, 8-10 July 2019. If you are an environmental economist, send your papers to the sub-conference in environmental economics. I am a co-organizer of that together with Cees Withagen and Eric Strobl. Nice, needless to say, is nice. If you are drawn between the PET conference and our sub-conference at IRMBAM, then that’s already a mistake. Keynote speakers in our subconference are Carolyn Fischer and Anthony Millner. Submit asap.
Then there is the LEEPin2019: LEEP Institute’s Meeting of International Excellence in Environmental and Resource Economics, 24-25 June 2019, at the University of Exeter, which promises to be an excellent conference. It’s just preceeding EAERE, so you can basically city-hop from one great event to the next. Reduces shoe leather costs and minimizes your carbon footprint.
Then you should attend the environmental economics workshop in St Petersburg, May 31 – June 1, 2019, which is the 5th International Workshop on Economic Growth, Environment and Natural Resources. Unfortunately submissions are closed but you can still attend. I am also one of the co-organizers, and judging by the papers we selected this is going to be a classy event!
In addition there is FAERE held in Rennes, France, 29-30 August 2019. It’s the conference of the French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. If you are into environmental economists, surprise surprise, or cathedrals, that’s the place to be at the end of August.
Now that you are up to date, carpe diem!
#MeetTopEnvEcon – Karine Nyborg
Current position: Professor of economics, University of Oslo
Year of birth: 1962
IDEAS profile: https://ideas.repec.org/e/pny7.html
I am very happy that Karine Nyborg, Professor of Economics at the University of Oslo, took the time to answer my questions for the Meet Top Environmental Economics (#MeetTopEnvEcon) series. Karine Nyborg is one of the main researchers that brought social norms into environmental economics. There are few others who have pushed this line of literature further than her and her co-authors. One article that you may want to read to get some insights into her views of and contributions to social norms in environmental economics is her recent publication Social Norms and the Environment. Karine Nyborg was also, up to now, the only female president of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (2012-2013), is a member of the Academia Europaea, and is on the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Beijer Institute for Ecological Econonomics.
I can strongly advise you to not miss her presentations or keynotes. Karine Nyborg gave this fantastic keynote speech at the EAERE conference in Athens in 2017. Also, it is not entirely clear to me whether, if asked, she would view herself primarily as an economist, or as a fiction writer. I have been told that her books are a charm.
I am happy to announce that I am working on a series of what I call Express Views. These are very short interviews of environmental economics that are giving interesting insights into their thoughts. Here is my interview with Karine.
I have just come across the article “An Economist’s Guide to Climate Change Science“, written by Solomon Hsiang and Robert Kopp, published recently in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, Fall 2018. They mainly summarize the recent literature on climate change and provide some insights from economists on this topic. Should you read their article? What is missing from it?
I am happy to announce the 5th International Workshop on Economic Growth, Environment and Natural Resources which will be held on May 31 – June 1, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Russia. Kirill Borissov (EUSP) is the main organizer of this event, and I am on the scientific committee with Stefano Bosi (Université Paris Saclay), Thierry Bréchet (UCLouvain and CORE), Lucas Bretschger (ETH Zurich) and Mikhail Pakhnin (EUSP). Rick van der Ploeg will be the keynote speaker. This is going to be a very interesting workshop, in a great place, if you can make it then don’t miss it!
For more information follow this Link. If you need further information, do not hesitate to contact me.
Important Dates (2019)
• Submission deadline: February 8
• Notification of acceptance: February 13
• Final paper deadline: May 24
• Workshop dates: May 31 – June 1
#MeetTopEnvEcon – Thomas Sterner
Current position: Professor of environmental economics, University of Gothenburg
Year of birth: 1952
IDEAS profile: https://ideas.repec.org/f/pst389.html
Thomas Sterner’s CV reads like a book. In fact, it is a book, it has a table of contents, it is 64 pages long, 40 of which are only listing his publications. He wrote over 100 publications in journals, 21 books or monographs, over a 100 articles in books or reports, and over 200 journalistic articles or speeches. He is extremely active on the policy side, both having participated at COP meetings and helped write an IPCC report, and is advising various governments around the world. In order to achieve this one has to not only show a huge commitment and dedication, but one must also be able to easily transition between fundamental research and talking to policy makers alike. This is clearly a very difficult task that few can manage to this degree.
Thomas comes across as a very relaxed, even casual person. And it is definitely fun and interesting to talk to him. So, if you meet him at the next conference, don’t worry about approaching him and asking him the questions about discounting or policy that you had always wanted to ask. Until then, I hope this interview gives you some further insights into his thoughts and research.
Edit 5. January: I now included an Express Views interview with Thomas:
A new highlight, which I from now on hope to be able to add to these series, is a short video summary of the interview.