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UC Berkeley Press Release

Top economists support greenhouse gas reductions

– Forty-three top economists from across California are delivering a letter today, Monday, June 26, to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California Legislature urging them to move quickly to control greenhouse gas emissions.

"The risks of climate change to California's economy are significant, especially to our water system," said the letter's lead author, Michael Hanemann, Chancellor's Professor in agricultural and resource economics at the University of California, Berkeley. "Analysis conducted by leading experts in the field concludes that California will face significant economic costs from global warming if we fail to take action."

Taking early action offers the state the greatest economic benefits, according to the economists. "The most expensive thing we can do is nothing," they state in their letter.

The economists' statement arrives at a time when global warming is at the center of state and national attention. Last week, a panel convened by the National Research Council, the nation's premier science policy body, concluded that the Earth is the hottest it has been in at least 400 years, and possibly the last millennium. This week, the California Legislature will take up several climate action proposals, while the California Climate Action Team - an interagency group headed by the California EPA charged with implementing global warming emission reduction programs - is hosting a symposium on clean technology.

The full text of the letter and the names of its 45 signers follow:

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger and California Legislators,

As California economists with expertise in energy and environmental policy, we believe that the State of California should move quickly to control global warming gases.

Californias economy is vulnerable to climate impacts, including changes in water availability, agricultural productivity, electricity demand, health stresses, environmental hazards, and sea level. Action to reduce emissions will lower the costs of adjusting to climate-related disruptions and serve as public insurance against more dramatic damages that can be expected when opportunities to adapt are limited.

While global climate change poses significant risks to the California economy, we believe that well-designed strategies to limit global warming gases can reduce emissions substantially at low or no cost to the state, and could yield economic (as well as climate) benefits. Well-designed strategies can stimulate innovation and efficiency, which could help the state become a technological leader in the global marketplace.

Global warming gases will be best managed through a combination of policy approaches. Emissions caps combined with a range of regulatory and market-based implementation mechanisms offer a particularly potent strategy because they provide clear incentives for changes in business practices and the development of new technologies. Such an approach assures that economic forces are directed to finding the most efficient means of reducing emissions.

We urge you to accelerate climate action policies that will demonstrate political leadership and create economic opportunities in California. The most expensive thing we can do is nothing.

Sincerely,

Anthony C. Fisher, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Lawrence H. Goulder, Ph.D., Stanford University
W. Michael Hanemann, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Charles Kolstad, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
Dennis Aigner, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine
Camille M. Antinori, Ph.D.,University of California, Berkeley
Bevin Ashenmiller, Ph.D., Occidental College
Maximilian Auffhammer, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Kenneth Baerenklau, Ph.D., University of California, Riverside
Peter Berck, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Richard Carson, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
Sudip Chattopadhyay, Ph.D., San Francisco State University
Savvina Chowdhury, Ph.D., California State University, Bakersfield
Christopher Costello, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
Bowman Cutter, Ph.D., University of California, Riverside
Larry Dale, Ph.D., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Robert T. Deacon, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
J.R. DeShazo, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
Hossein Farzin, Ph.D., University of California, Davis
Marvin Feldman, Ph.D., Resource Decisions
Meredith Fowlie, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Theodore Groves, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
Steven Hackett, Ph.D., Humboldt State University
Darwin C. Hall, Ph.D., California State University, Long Beach
Jane V. Hall, Ph.D., California State University, Fullerton
Stephen F. Hamilton, Ph.D., California Polytechnic State University
James Hilger, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Eric E. Houk, Ph.D., California State University, Stanislaus
Greg Hunter, Ph.D., California State University, Pomona
Matthew J Kotchen, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
Douglas M. Larson, Ph.D., University of California, Davis
Wade E. Martin, Ph.D., California State University, Long Beach
David A. Miller, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
Glenn Mitchell, Ph.D., LECG
Georgina Moreno, Ph.D., Scripps College
Nermin Nergis, Ph.D., University of California, Riverside
David Newburn, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Richard B. Norgaard, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Gordon C. Rausser, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Kurt A. Schwabe, Ph.D., University of California, Riverside
Leopoldo E. Soto Arriagada, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
Doug Steigerwald, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
Yuki Takatsuka, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine
Jeffrey Vincent, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
Anthony Westerling, Ph.D., University of California, Merced