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"We have to make sacrifices"

News: Oct 31, 2019

How much are we ready to give up in terms of economic growth to improve the lives of future generations? This is one of the main questions Christian Gollier is trying to figure out. Starting this year, he is one of the new Elof Hansson Visiting Professors at the School of Business, Economics and Law.

Christian Gollier is an international top name in economics and co-founder and Director of the Toulouse School of Economics. He is the president-elect of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists and one of the lead authors of the last two IPCC reports. Over the course of the next three years he will spend one month per year at the School of Business, Economics and Law.

“My research is quite diverse. But for the last ten years my focus has been on climate change and climate economics. To summarize my current work, I would say that I am exploring how to value actions today that have visible benefits only in the distant future. My aim is to answer questions like: How do you value an effort made today that has the potential to increase security, availability of goods and services and the quality of the environment one century from now,” says Christian Gollier.

The price decides

According to Christian Gollier, one can summarize the dimension of climate change into one number: the price of carbon. He points out that the price of carbon is the instrument in which to organize society in such a way that the efforts made for the future will have the least impact for the economy of the people today.

“But the question remains: what should be the level of that price? The higher the carbon tax, and the more we decide to do, the higher our sacrifice for our own economic growth will be. The fight for the climate will force us to turn away, in the medium term, from this fossil energy that has given us fortunes for two centuries, and to ask the developing countries to do the same.”

Selfless action is required

Christian Gollier just recently published his first book, Le climat après la fin du mois (The climate after the end of the month), in which he discusses the Yellow Vests movement in France that emerged in October last year.

“The yellow vests were fighting against a higher carbon tax, which ultimately made Macron decide to freeze the planned increase. But the yellow vests are the same people that have expressed anger towards the failure of the international climate summit COP24 in Katowize in Poland. This is the crux of the matter. A lot of people have a misguided conception that climate change is first and foremost an opportunity for our society to create jobs and increase wealth. But at the end of the day – climate change is a catastrophe, and fighting climate change implies sacrifices. People are often very short termed in their minds and need to understand that most of the benefits of our efforts will be not for us, but for future generations.”

During his time at the School he will be initiating and participating in research projects at the Department of Economics, providing advice and talking to PhD students, going to seminars and doing his research.

“I am very happy to be in this department. It is very strong in environmental economics, particularly climate economics, which makes it a great place to exchange ideas. If time permits during my stay here, I would also love to give courses to Master students. I like teaching, it’s a really good way to polish your arguments.”

About the Elof Hansson Visiting Professor Programme in International Business and Trade

Thanks to extensive support from trade and industry the School has been able to recruit internationally leading visiting professors since 2009, within the framework of the international visiting professor programme. The programme contributes to the development of research, improves the quality of the courses, and creates a lasting network for international research collaboration. This time, focus is on international business and trade, and the programme is made possible through generous support from the Elof Hansson Foundation.
 

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Originally published on: www.handels.gu.se

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 11/17/2016
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