There was an interesting panel discussion (Climate and energy policy after the Paris Agreement) at the excellent EAERE 2016 conference in Zurich with Scott Barrett (Columbia University), Lucas Bretschger (ETH Zurich), Thomas Sterner (University of Gothenburg) and Herman Vollebergh (Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and Tinbergen University), all four of whom have been widely involved in climate negotiations or research thereof. So I chased them up in order to get their views on what economists should do, or prepare for, to help make COP22 in Marrakesh successful.

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Just before the summer break I get this nice news in my mailbox:

Dear Prof. Ingmar Schumacher,

I am pleased to inform you that your paper has been accepted for publication in the European Journal of Operational Research.

So what is this paper about? It is a theoretical contribution together with Professor Georg Müller-Fürstenberger from the University of Trier on how inter-regional externalities can become overwhelmingly crucial if one considers a dynamic setting.

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#MeetTopEnvEcon – Anil Markandya

Anil Markandya

Current position: Former Scientific Director/ Distinguished Ikerbasque Professor

Year of birth:  1945

Homepage: http://www.bc3research.org/anil_markandya.html


I am very happy to present Anil Markandya in the Meet Top Environmental Economist series. He is currently the Distinguished Ikerbasque Professor and Scientific Director of the Basque Centre for Climate Change, Bilbao, in Spain (since 2008), was the Director of  Sustainable Indicators and Environmental Valuation and Applied Research at Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, Milan, Italy (2005-2008); lead economist at the World Bank (2000-2004); and held various positions at top universities (University of Bath, London School of Economics, Harvard University, Berkeley, Princeton).

Anil Markandya is a researcher who has been working all of his life on the interaction between (mostly applied) environmental economics and policy advise. In terms of research he has published more than 290 scientific articles and several books, among which the `Blueprint for a Green Economy‘, co-authored with  Edward Barbier (and the first version with the late David Pearce), certainly stands out. In this book the authors were among the first to take a serious step towards understanding how economic growth and environmental constraints should be approached together to achieve a green economy. He has also been extremely influential on the policy side and has been an advisor or consultant for nearly all major world institutions (like the OECD, World Bank, IPCC, FAO, UN, European Environmental Agency) and countries. Anil Markandya has also been a lead author on influential IPCC reports (WG3, 3rd and 4th AR, and WG2 on 5th AR).

This is clearly an impressive record that one can only achieve with a level of dedication and effort which only a selected few have. Thus I am grateful that Anil Markandya took some time off for this interview and kindly answered these questions. I hope you enjoy this interview and if you do then do not hesitate to let me know!


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I have a new working paper which is joint work with Fabien Prieur (see further information below) who just accepted a professor position at the University of Nanterre in Paris, France. Our paper is entitled “[t]he role of conflict for optimal climate and immigration policy”, and we show the following:

In this article we investigate the role that internal and external conflict plays for optimal climate and immigration policy. Reviewing the empirical literature, we put forward five theses regarding the link between climate change, migration, and conflict. Based on these theses, we then develop a theoretical model in which we take the perspective of the North who unilaterally chooses the number of immigrants from a pool of potential migrants that is endogenously determined by the extent of climate change. Accepting these migrants allows increases in local production which not only increases climate change but also gives rise to internal conflicts. In addition, those potential migrants that want to move due to climate change but that are not allowed to immigrate may induce external conflict. While we show that the external and internal conflict play a significant yet decisively different role, it is the co-existence of both conflicts that makes policy making difficult. Considering only one conflict induces significant immigration but no mitigation. Allowing for both types of conflict, then depending on parameters, either a steady state without immigration but with mitigation will be optimal, or a steady state with a larger number of immigrants but less mitigation. Furthermore, we find the possibility of Skiba points, signaling that optimal policy depends on initial conditions, too. During transition we examine the substitutability and complementarity between the mitigation and immigration policy.

You can find the full paper HERE. In a post during the next days I hope to write a more policy-oriented view of this topic.


Some information on my co-author:

Fabien Prieur held a professor position at the University of Montpellier but has now accepted a professor position at the University of Nanterre. Fabien also holds a visiting position at Toulouse School of Economics. He is a researcher in environmental and resource economics and has published, among others, in journals such as the European Economic Review, Economic Theory,  and Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control. If you google his images then he is the guy with the beard and glasses, not the one with the gold chain and the beers…

#MeetTopEnvEcon – Partha Dasgupta

Partha Dasgupta

Current position: Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Cambridge

Year of birth: 1942



It is my great honor to present Partha Dasgupta in the #MeetTopEnvEcon series. I had previously met Partha only briefly at various conferences, and thus it was a pleasure to talk to him more extensively during the Climate Ethics and Climate Economics: Discounting the Future conference in Oxford this year. Once you discuss with him you easily understand why it was he who pioneered the nexus on environment, development and economics; his works with Geoffrey Heal on the optimal extraction of non-renewables are the foundation stone for any resource economist these days; together with the likes of Kenneth Arrow he urges governments to cease regarding GDP as a measure of prosperity to more holistic measures like inclusive wealth; and he is one of only a handful of economists who dares to address the problem of the optimal population size.

During the years, Partha published more than 270 scientific articles and books like An Inquiry into Well-Being and Destitution, Economic Theory and Exhaustible Resources, or the beautiful little Economics: A Very Short Introduction. For these contributions he was awarded a wealth of honors and awards, from several honorary doctor titles over to fellowships in the most prestigious societies, and was furthermore bestowed the knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002. These honors are clearly well-deserved.

One meets few people in life that quickly leave a lasting impression, and I feel that Partha is one of them. Not only because of his vast knowledge that he readily shares and his quick wit, but also because of his character. I have found him to be extremely kind, modest and down-to-earth, which tend to be character traits that too often disappear quickly in most people that reach Partha’s standing. Not so with Partha, which makes it that much more enjoyable to discuss with him.

Finally, I would like to deeply thank Partha for investing such an extensive amount of time on the interview. I hope the readers will appreciate the insights gained here.

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