Averting global catastrophe

Tuesday 16 February 2010

Concerned about climate change, but unsure how our policy options stack up? A new book has been published which cuts through the confusion and explains the basic science of climate change and the main policies required to promote sustainability and avert a global catastrophe.

An Introduction to Climate Change Economics and Policy, written by Felix FitzRoy, Professor of economics at the University of St Andrews, and Elissaios Papyrakis, lecturer in Economics at the University of East Anglia, highlights where economists and policy-makers generally misunderstand the science of climate change, underestimate the risks of runaway warming and exaggerate the costs of radical measures to stabilise the climate.

The book begins by explaining the impact of climate change on world agriculture, the world’s most important activity. The authors provide a critical examination of how current policies that promote poor water usage and soil erosion are risking a catastrophic collapse of agriculture in the poorest and most populous countries. They look at the solutions such as no-till, conservation farming, third generation bio-fuels from waste land, alternative energy, and bio-char production.

The book then moves on to provide a critical examination of the dynamics of rich countries driving climate change and some of the economic measures to control climate change, such as switching taxes from labour to carbon and subsidies from fossil and nuclear energy to renewable alternatives as well as demand management and energy saving.

Professor Felix FitzRoy said:

“Much of this material has been taught in various courses in St Andrews and other universities over a number of years, and we have greatly benefited from student feedback and discussion with colleagues.”

The University of St Andrews is committed to promoting sustainable development. The St Andrews Sustainability Institute (SASI) is working towards a sustainable future through teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students, research, and knowledge transfer as well as trying to be sustainable ourselves. Indeed the University of St Andrews won the first ever award for Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development in the Times Higher Awards. What’s more, only last year St Andrews was awarded a Green Gown Award in recognition of its Sustainable Development programme, which is now becoming a model for other courses across Europe.

Issued by the University of St Andrews

Contact: Emma Shea, Communications Manager on 01334 462 109 or email [email protected].

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