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Philosophers and economists agree on climate policy paths but for different reasons

Nesje, Frikk, Drupp, Moritz A., Freeman, Mark C. and Groom, Ben ORCID: 0000-0003-0729-143X (2023) Philosophers and economists agree on climate policy paths but for different reasons. Nature Climate Change, 13 (6). 515 - 522. ISSN 1758-678X

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Identification Number: 10.1038/s41558-023-01681-w


The estimated value to society from climate change mitigation is highly sensitive to the long-term social discount rate. Governmental discounting guidance has almost exclusively been influenced by economists, although it is not clear that they possess any special expertise on intergenerational ethics. Here, by contrast, we report the views of philosophers, who are the most trained in ethical matters. We show that, as a group, these experts offer strong support for a real social discount rate of 2%, a value that is also predominantly backed by economists. We find multidisciplinary support for climate policy paths in line with the United Nations climate targets when views on discounting determinants are applied within a recent update of the DICE integrated assessment model. However, this apparent agreement hides important differences in views on how the ethics of intergenerational welfare can be better incorporated into climate policy evaluation.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors, under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2023 09:00
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2024 20:06

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