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Social Welfare and Climate Change Political Advice from Economics in the Light of Normativity and Uncertainty

What are the reasons for a climate protection policy? Several economists argue that the impacts of climate change will reduce the social welfare much stronger than greenhouse gases mitigation policies would do. The book discusses whether this argument is sober. It focuses on two main questions. Firstly: what do we know about the impacts of climate change on social welfare? Secondly: is the main normative presupposition well justified which claims that politics ought to maximize social welfare.

Our foreknowledge about the impacts of climate change on the wellbeing of future generations is highly uncertain. Therefore, the book also addresses the question whether we can justify a climate protection policy if we accept the epistemic situation of uncertainty about the impacts of climate change. The discussion disembogues into a specification of the precautionary principle and an argument justifying the claim that we ought to reduce greenhouse gases concentrations below the pre-industrial level despite the uncertainties about climate impacts.