The structure of the climate debate

Richard S.J. Tol*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

First-best climate policy is a uniform carbon tax which gradually rises over time. Civil servants have complicated climate policy to expand bureaucracies, politicians to create rents. Environmentalists have exaggerated climate change to gain influence, other activists have joined the climate bandwagon. Opponents to climate policy have attacked the weaknesses in climate research. The climate debate is convoluted and polarized as a result, and climate policy complex. Climate policy should become easier and more rational as the Paris Agreement has shifted climate policy back towards national governments. Changing political priorities, austerity, and a maturing bureaucracy should lead to a more constructive climate debate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-438
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy Policy
Volume104
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Climate policy
  • Political economy

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