Planetary Economics

Department(s)/ Research Infrastructure
Climate Policy
Project Status
Completed Project
Project Duration
since/from 2009 to 2014
Funded by
Co-funding DIW Berlin
Project Manager
Michael Grubb
Project Team/Contacts at DIW Berlin

Energy prices have varied hugely between countries and over time, yet the share of national income spent on energy has remained surprisingly constant. The foundational theories of economic growth account for only about half the growth observed in practice. Despite escalating warnings for more than two decades about the planetary risks of rising greenhouse gas emissions, most governments have seemed powerless to change course.

The book “Planetary Economics: Energy, Climate Change and the Three Domains of Sustainable Development” shows the surprising links between these seemingly unconnected facts. It argues that tackling the energy and environmental problems of the 21st Century requires three different domains of decision-making to be recognised and connected. Any pillar on its own will fail.

Only by understanding all three, and fitting them together, do we have any hope of changing course. And if we do, the oft-assumed conflict between economy and the environment dissolves – with potential for benefits to both. Planetary Economics charts how.

 A short paper containing the highlights from the book can be found here.