Matthew Kahn's Climate Change Speech Topic:
1) How Our Cities Will Thrive in the Hotter Future
AKA: Why Capitalism Could Save Us From Climate Change
In the optimistic book Climatopolis: How Our Cities Will Thrive in the Hotter Future, Kahn stresses a fundamental irony. Urban economic growth has caused climate change (think of the billions of people who are achieving the “American Dream”) but it will also help us to adapt to climate change. His optimism about urbanites’ ability to continue to thrive in the face of climate change is based on our ability to migrate and innovate. Free markets play a central role here in determining new investment patterns that will help us to adapt.
Whether consumers are Mr. Spocks — rational planners — or feckless Homer Simpsons, whether they believe in climate change or not, they’re likely to catch on to such innovations and act in their best interest as a market arises. Each advance would likely need to be evaluated case-by-case — for example, some argue that Prius batteries create environmental problems even as the cars emit less. And immediate action for poorer people may be required in the interim, using simpler coping mechanisms for heat, like cooling centers.
About Matthew E. Kahn:
Matthew E. Kahn is a Professor at the UCLA Institute of the Environment, the Department of Economics, and the Department of Public Policy. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Before joining the UCLA faculty in January 2007, he taught at Columbia and the Fletcher School at Tufts University. He has served as a Visiting Professor at Harvard and Stanford. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago. He is the author of Green Cities: Urban Growth and the Environment (Brookings Institution Press 2006) and the co-author of Heroes and Cowards: The Social Face of War (Princeton University Press 2009). In September 2010, Basic Books published his book titled Climatopolis . This book examines the future of cities as climate change unfolds. Unlike any previous book about climate change adaptation, it uses the logic of microeconomics to discuss how diverse self interested urban households and firms will respond to changing climate conditions.
Article: Why Capitalism Could Save Us From Climate Change