Economists and leadership toward low-emission societies

Economists and leadership toward low-emission societies

Published: 2019

Author: Suzi Kerr

Event: Australasian Association of Agricultural and Resource Economics – President’s Address, February 2019

Climate change is the biggest environmental challenge of our time. Because it is so far reaching and multi-faceted, an effective response requires that we draw on all human wisdom, including economics. Economists have already played key roles yet some of our instruments have, so far, been less effective than anticipated – e.g. emissions pricing – and in many circles our advice is misused, challenged, not welcome or ignored. What leadership roles can economists play and how can we do that most effectively?

In this talk I will offer my personal reflections drawing on 25 years working on emissions trading and on mitigation in the land sector. I’ll illustrate them with recent work I’m involved with on a some challenges that require new thinking and analysis:

  • transfers of resources across countries to support climate cooperation;
  • effective reforestation within an emissions trading system; and
  • the role of pricing for mitigating biological emissions from agriculture.