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The Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World Hardcover – October 22, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (October 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030018977X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300189773
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The Climate Casino is one of the most important books ever written about global warming....it deals with the problem (climate change and its consequences including economic) and with the solution (primarily a suitable price for carbon). It does so with wonderful clarity.”—Thomas E. Lovejoy, George Mason University and The H. John Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment
(Thomas Lovejoy 2013-05-03)

The Climate Casino is a tour de force and will make a real impact in the popular literature on climate change…it brings together all of the important strands of the debate…the book is without peer.”—Charles Kolstad, Stanford University
(Charles Kolstad 2013-05-23)

"Nordhaus is the world’s clearest, best informed and most serious thinker on climate change policy. There is more insight and good sense advice in this volume than in many libraries. This book should be as central to climate policy debates as climate change is to humanity’s future."—Lawrence H. Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus at Harvard University
(Lawrence H. Summers 2013-06-04)

"Bill Nordhaus is one of the world’s pioneers in applying economic reasoning to the harrowing problem of climate change.  Before there was the UN climate treaty, the recent rounds of IPCC reports, and the Stern Review, there was Nordhaus’ path-breaking thinking, modeling, and research on the subject.  His new book, The Climate Casino, marks a long-awaited update and synthesis of this work for the public and students everywhere.  His core conclusion – that we must act and act now – is carefully explained with Nordhaus’ trademark vigor, clarity, and thoughtfulness."—Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University
(Jeffrey D. Sachs 2013-06-26)

 “The power of intelligent economics permeates William Nordhaus’s The Climate Casino. …the book convincingly makes the economic case for changing governmental policy, and our production and consumption habits, by offering economic incentives for low-carbon choices.”—Gail Whiteman, Nature
(Gail Whiteman Nature 2013-10-24)

“A one-stop source on global warming, seen through the prism of a brilliant economist.” —Fred Andrews, The New York Times
(Fred Andrews The New York Times)

Selected as one of the best books of 2013 in the Financial Times
(Financial Times 2013-11-30)

Won an Honorable Mention for the 2013 New England Book Festival given by the JM Northern Media Family of Festivals, in the General Non-Fiction Category.
(New England Book Festival JM Northern Media 2013-12-27)

“Nordhaus is arguably the world’s leading thinker on the economics of global warming. . . His conclusion is clear: Acting to stop climate change costs money. Ignoring the problem costs more. . . Ultimately, this message, delivered by a number-crunching economist rather than a morally outraged environmentalist, may prove far more effective in making the case for action.”—Coral Davenport, The New York Times Book Review
(Coral Davenport New York Times Book Review)

“When we have a disjunction between scientific consensus and popular perception—that should light a fire under those of us in the news media. An excellent basis for discussion is the new book The Climate Casino by William Nordhaus.”—Nicholas Kristof, New York Times
(Nicholas Kristof New York Times)

“Provides a comprehensive stocktaking of the possibilities and consequences of global climate change, all of which can be summed up in one sentence: ‘Global warming is a trillion-dollar problem requiring a trillion-dollar solution.’”—Sheridan Jobbins, World Economic Forum
(Sheridan Jobbins World Economic Forum)

Winner of the 2013 American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE), in the Economics category.
(PROSE Awards American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence 2014-02-07)

“An evenhanded volume [that] will educate undergraduate students and general readers about climate change economics. Essential.”—Choice
(Choice)

About the Author

William Nordhaus is Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale University. He has studied and written extensively about global warming for four decades and is author of the award-winning A Question of Balance: Weighing the Options on Global Warming Policies, published by Yale University Press. He lives in New Haven, CT.

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Customer Reviews

We must do the right thing for them.
Richard Subber
Overall, I found this book to be clear, well organized, generally well written, and thoughtful.
R. Albin
Very good treatment of climate change economics.
Maxedvard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Gerald R. North on November 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have been a climate scientist for more than 30 years, always staying away from voicing my opinion about policy issues. This book among other recent events has caused me to speak out more. The case for coal being the dominant cause of AGW is made convincingly in this book. Most other fixes are inconsequential. The various alternative approaches to dealing with the problem are explained clearly. Taxation of carbon via cap and trade or a direct tax is covered nicely. Another key principle often misunderstood by the public is discounting, again explained and illustrated well. This is a great book, clearly written and accessible to all who want to know more about the subject. I hope it is read by millions of caring citizens.
Gerald R. North
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By DavidMills on November 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Includes lots of good subject matter not covered thoroughly in his 2008 book, and elaborates on his earlier report of the DICE model projections (as far as I can tell).

Notes and Quotes:

(p. 10) "current low-carbon technologies cannot substitute for fossil fuels without a substantial penalty on carbon emissions," proof of this is in Chapter 23.

(p. 18) explains meaning of externality = "public good" (actually bad in this case, so he doesn't use this common econ lingo in book.)

(p. 21) Good log-linear plot (he calls it "ratio" scale) of global CO2 emissions since 1900, shows trend of 2.6% per year.

(p. 22) Nice plot of emissions/unit output, trend in US is -1.8% per year (from peak in 1920).

For US, says real output is 3.4% per year, so net emissions currently increasing at 1.6% per year.
For world, real is 3.7% BUT emissions only -1.1%, so for planet, emissions increasing at 2.6% per year (as Fig 2 showed).

(p. 71) Definition managed system. "From an economic point of view, decline and collapse (of some civilizations) came from narrowly based economic structures heavily dependent on unmanaged or mismanaged systems, with poor trade linkages to enable provisioning from other regions." (i.e., Anazazi, Easter Island).

(p. 82) "paradox" that "People will have substantially higher living standards in the growth world even after subtracting the damages from the changing climate." See Fig. 13. But note in unrestrained growth case temperature reaches nearly 6 C by 2200!

(p. 83-84) He states that food production can increase for local temps to +3 C (from now?) based on fourth IPCC report.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Richard Tol on November 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is Nordhaus' second attempt (after Question of Balance 2008) to write a popular book about the economics of climate change. The core message is the same: Climate change is a problem worth solving, but climate policy requires careful thought. Nordhaus has been saying this for 30 odd years. The book is not aimed at me but I enjoyed reading it. I think it is a good introduction to the intricacies of efficient and effective climate policy.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a useful survey of global warming from the very distinguished environmental economist William Nordhaus. To some extent, this book is a summary, aimed at a broad audience, of Nordhaus' extensive work on the economics of global warming. Nordhaus provides a "soup to nuts" survey. The book is divided into 5 sections. He opens with a solid section on the basic features of global warming, followed by a description of likely short-term impacts (short-term being essentially this century). The next two sections, and the heart of the book, are devoted to the economics of global warming. Part 3 looks at strategies for and costs of slowing global warming and Part 4 at the institutional changes needed to implement the required policies. The final section looks at the politics of global warming.

Nordhaus is particularly interested in introducing and explaining basic concepts of economics and data from what is now a large body of economically informed analysis. The co-author of a highly successful basic textbook, he is generally quite successful in this objective. Overall, I found this book to be clear, well organized, generally well written, and thoughtful. Its definitely superior to Nordhaus' last effort at public education.

Nordhaus presents global warming as a very serious but manageable problem, if appropriate actions are taken. Nordhaus argues well that, assuming economically efficient policies are implemented, major impacts of global warming can be reduced without enormous worldwide costs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By George on April 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This an easy to read introduction to climate change. Norhaus reviews the technical aspects and the policy history well. He makes a good case for some kind of carbon pricing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The book suffers from the tendency, perhaps common among economists, to discount the role of power in society. He comes to it near the end of the book, but it is unsatisfying. Also, he dismisses any role for government aside from the institution of a carbon tax. I agree this is an effective mechanism for fighting climate change, but other regulations and incentives are given short shrift in the discussion. Indeed, he can be so dismissive that his analysis suffers. Still, I use Climate Casino in a college classroom to discuss climate change and it is valuable as long as other readings or discussion can fill in the gaps and provide a more complete context.
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