WSW: What Is The True Cost Of Climate Change?

Feb 8, 2019

Credit WMUK

Western Michigan University Political Science Professor Paul Clements says he agrees with Nobel Prize winning economist William Nordhaus that a carbon tax is needed to address climate change. But Clements says Nordhaus’ proposal is inadequate. 

Clements will be part of a panel discussion at Western Michigan University – The True Cost of Climate Change and its Policy Implications. It begins at 2:00p.m. Friday afternoon February 15th in Room 3508 of Knauss Hall. Clements says the Yale University professor is an influential climate change economist. But he says Nordhaus has been throwing “cold water” on the urgency needed to address climate change.


Clements, who is a member of Western’s Climate Change Working Group, says the 35 cent per ton carbon tax that Nordhaus proposes is not enough to address the serious problems predicted by climate scientists. Clements says a $250 per ton tax on carbon would probably be required. While he acknowledges that’s a tough political sell, Clements says Nordhaus has helped make it difficult to get done politically by downplaying the severity of the threat from climate change.

WestSouthwest Brief with Paul Clements

A two-time candidate for Congress, Clements ran against Republican Representative Fred Upton in 2014 and 2016, largely on the issue of climate change. Clements says while the politics of climate change are important, so is the scholarship. He says William Nordhaus’ numbers are wrong. Clements says “In a university, I think that we have an obligation to get the correct information out there for policy decisions.”