Michael Toman (Mike) is Lead Economist on Climate Change in the Development Research Group and Manager of the Energy and Environment and Agriculture and Rural Development Teams. His current research interests include alternative energy resources, policies for responding to risks of climate change catastrophes, timing of investments for greenhouse gas reduction, and mechanisms for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions through reduced deforestation. During his career Mike has done extensive research on climate change economics and policy, energy markets and policy, environmental policy instruments, and approaches to achieving sustainable development. Prior to joining the World Bank in fall 2008, he held senior analytical and management positions at RAND Corporation, Inter-American Development Bank, and Resources for the Future. His teaching experience includes adjunct positions at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and the School of the Environment, University of California at Santa Barbara. Mike has a B.A. from Indiana University, a M.Sc. in applied mathematics from Brown University, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in economics from the University of Rochester.
In this talk, Mike Toman describes the task of mitigating global climate change as a "wicked problem," which presents great scientific and economic complexity, very deep uncertainties, profound ethical issues, and even lack of agreement on what the problem is. Economists will generally think about the trade-offs involved. Ecologists will talk about the idea that we’re driving toward the edge of a cliff. He argues that both views are right. The question is, is it possible to reconcile these two views?
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