Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Marty Weitzman, 1942-2019

For many years, Marty and I both had offices on the third floor of the Littauer building at Harvard.  I didn't know him well, but he was a big thinker,  who thought unflinchingly about the tail-end dangers of climate change.

His obit in the NY Times suggests that he was despondent about the future.

Martin Weitzman, Virtuoso Climate Change Economist, Dies at 77
A pathfinder in environmental economics who insisted on factoring in the worst-case scenarios of global warming

"In “Climate Shock: The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet” (2015), Professor Weitzman and his co-author, Gernot Wagner, an economist at New York University, wrote: “One thing we know for sure is that a greater than 10 percent chance of the earth’s eventual warming of 11 degrees Fahrenheit or more — the end of the human adventure on this planet as we now know it — is too high. And that’s the path the planet is on at the moment.”

“Most everything we know tells us climate change is bad,” the authors concluded. “Most everything we don’t know tells us it’s probably much worse.”

"His analysis of the economics of climate change became known as the Dismal Theorem."

Update: here's the Washington Post's obit:

Martin Weitzman, environmental economist who emphasized uncertainty, dies at 77

No comments: