Photo: AP For the first time ever, an economist studying the impacts of climate change has been honored with a Nobel prize. William Nordhaus, a Yale economist and Paul Romer, the former head of the World Bank, are this year’s recipients of the Nobel prize in economics for their pioneering work on climate change and technological innovation. The two fields are intimately related, as we’ll need to innovate the hell out of our economy and energy system to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. What makes the spotlight on Nordhaus so intriguing is that it comes on the heels of a major new climate report on limiting global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius. Advertisement Many of the assumptions in this new report are built on Nordhaus’s work, which began in the 1970s at a time when scientists were coming to grips with just how much human carbon pollution was altering the climate. But while the physics was clear—greenhouse gases trap heat—the economic impacts were still waiting to be untangled. While the relationship between climate change and economics may seem obvious today, the web of connections and feedbacks wasn’t always well-understood. What Nordhaus did was basically build a bridge […]

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