HKS Authors

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Teresa and John Heinz Professor of the Practice of Environmental Policy


Our failure to mobilize sufficient effort to fight climate change reflects a combination of political and economic forces, on both the national and the global level. To state the problem in its simplest terms, writes Joseph Aldy, future, unborn generations would enjoy the benefits of policies to reduce carbon emissions whereas the current generation would have to bear the costs. In particular, incumbent firms — politically influential fossil-fuel companies and fossil fuel–intensive industries, which are now reaping substantial returns from a status quo that fails to address climate change — might face significant losses from policies that discourage carbon emissions. On the other hand, insurgent firms — companies that are investing in low- and zero-carbon technologies — stand to gain.


Aldy, Joseph. "Mobilizing Political Action on Behalf of Future Generations." The Future of Children 26.1 (Spring 2016): 157-178.