Julien Chevallier, on topic of "Emissions trading: lessons from the theory and empirics"
University Paris 8
The EU ETS provides for the first time the possibility of contrasting our theoretical understanding with empirical findings that draw on modern econometric work. The session covers the issues driving the work in this field as well as of the evolvement of theory and empirics.
Steve Polasky, on topic of "The Challenge of Valuing Natural Capital"
University of Minnesota
The vast expansion of economic activity has transformed human society and the planet, with both beneficial and detrimental consequences. Average standards of living have increased simultaneous with declines in biodiversity, climate change, and environmental degradation in some areas. This leads to the question whether rising standards of living are sustainable. Are we living well only by depleting natural capital with an inevitable decline in future well-being, or are we saving and investing in various forms of capital that more than offset any decline in natural capital? Answering this question requires assessing the value of natural capital, along with other forms of capital, to see whether “inclusive wealth,” the total value of capital assets, is increasing or decreasing. One approach to addressing the sustainability question involves integrated economic-ecological models that track provision and value of ecosystem services through time. This approach generates information on the links between changes in ecosystems and changes in welfare but at present is not comprehensive. A second approach involves building from national wealth accounts to assess changes in the value of natural capital along with other forms of capital. This approach provides a comprehensive framing but currently lacks empirical estimates for virtually all non-market goods and services that constitute a large fraction of the value of ecosystem services and natural capital. This talk concludes with a set of challenges that remain in valuing natural capital to provide a more complete answer to the sustainable development question.
Thomas F. Rutherford, on topic of "Climate Change: An Integrated Assessment"
University of Wisconsin-Madison