Greenhouse Economics: Value and Ethics (book)

Clive L. Spash (2002) Greenhouse Economics: Value and Ethics. ISBN 0-415-127181 London: Routledge. xvi+298 pages. Order from publisher.

Greenhouse Economics: Value and EthicsThis book examines one of the most crucial issues in the modern world: human induced climate change.  Spash takes an interdisciplinary perspective on a rapidly expanding field  of  knowledge that has remained divided by monodisciplinary dogmatism. Pulling together strands of natural science, economics and ethics he creates a coherent picture of a complex reality.  Described by Professor John Gowdy as “the best exposition to date on the political economy of climate policy”, this work places the economic debate over the costs and benefits of greenhouse gas mitigation in context for the first time.  It poses serious questions  about the relevance of economic thought and gives intelligent answers about the alternatives. Questions raised include:

  •  Why does policy fail to address the most fundamental understanding of uncertainty and ignorance?
  •  How does economics fail to guide necessary action and mislead the formation of public policy?
  • On what basis should the failure to act today be considered as ethically wrong?
  • Why does human induced climate change pose the single most challenging issue of our age?

This book rigorously examines international and governmental sources, and key contemporary issues, and provides an informative analysis of the complex issues at stake.


1. Climate Change: Introducing Some of the Issues (PDF)
2. Scientific Understanding of the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect
3. Impacts of Global Climate Change
4. Weak Uncertainty: Risk and Imperfect Information (PDF)
5. Strong Uncertainty: Ignorance and Indeterminacy (PDF)
6. Calculating the Cost and Benefits of GHG Control (PDF)
7. Loading the Dice? Values, Opinions and Ethics (PDF)
8. Dividing Time and Discounting the Future
9. Economics, Ethics and Future Generations (PDF)
10. Science, Economics and Policy


(These are all pdf documents.)

Gowdy, J. (2003) Greenhouse Economics: Value and Ethics. Ecological Economics 46(2): 307-308.

Savage, V. (2005) Greenhouse Economics: Value and Ethics. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 23(4): 631-632.

Thomas-Pellicer, R. (2004) Greenhouse Economics: Value and Ethics. Environmental Politics 13(4): 804-805.