Green Capital

A New Perspective on Growth

Christian de Perthuis and Pierre-André Jouvet. Translated by Michael Westlake

Columbia University Press

Green Capital

Pub Date: October 2015

ISBN: 9780231171403

288 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $35.00£27.00

Pub Date: October 2015

ISBN: 9780231540360

288 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $34.99£27.00

Green Capital

A New Perspective on Growth

Christian de Perthuis and Pierre-André Jouvet. Translated by Michael Westlake

Columbia University Press

Many believe economic growth is incompatible with ecological preservation. Green Capital challenges this argument by shifting our focus away from the scarcity of raw materials and toward the deterioration of the great natural regulatory functions (such as the climate system, the water cycle, and biodiversity).

Although we can find substitutes for scarce natural resources, we cannot replace a natural regulatory system, which is incredibly complex. It is therefore critical that we introduce a new price into the economy that measures the costs of damage to these regulatory functions. This change in perspective justifies such innovations as the carbon tax, which addresses not the scarcity of carbon but the inability of the atmosphere to absorb large amounts of carbon without upsetting the climate system. Brokering a sustainable peace between ecology and the economy, Green Capital describes a range of valuation schemes and their contribution to the goals of green capitalism, proposing a new approach to natural resources that benefits both businesses and the environment.
Green Capital takes us on a salutary journey through biodiversity, water shortages, the energy transition, and much more to stress the importance of 'natural capital.' The book provides an accessible discussion of the economic value of the environment and of the tragedy of the commons, and it explains why, despite our reluctance to employ them, price signals are necessary to create the right incentives. A call for greater environmental awareness and more common sense, Green Capital is a must-read for all those interested in environmental policy issues. Jean Tirole, Toulouse School of Economics and Nobel Laureate in Economics
In this colorful and creative book, de Perthuis and Jouvet go beyond the usual environment-versus-economics debate to show that the real challenge is to recognize the significant values we are already enjoying (often without paying) from nature's capital, and to incorporate those values efficiently into our market signals and decisions. Emphasizing the need for enterprise and innovation, Green Capital offers an eclectic, imaginative, and pragmatic synthesis of environmental economics and sensible economic policy. Jonathan Wiener, Duke University
Trend is not destiny. For those who want to find a better way to live on the earth, this book is a source of insight and inspiration. Frank J. Convery, chief economist, Environmental Defense Fund
By systematically destroying the natural foundations of our economic and social development, we deprive ourselves of the chance for sustainable growth. Is there a way out? The answers that Christian de Perthuis and Pierre-André Jouvet provide are a model of realism, characterizing in operational terms the radical shifts required to escape the trap we are in. Claude Henry, Sciences Po Paris and Columbia University
Introduction: The Color of Growth
1. Growth: A Historical Accident?
2. The Spaceship Problem: An Optimal Population Size?
3. Degrowth: Good Questions, Bad Answers
4. Introducing the Environment into the Calculation of Wealth
5. "Natural Capital" Revisited
6. Hotelling: Beyond the Wall of Scarcity
7. Nature Has No Price: How Then Is the Cost of Its Degradation to Be Measured?
8. Beyond Hotelling: Natural Capital as a Factor Required for Growth
9. Water, the Shepherd, and the Owner: A Choice of Green Growth Models
10. How Much Is Your Genome Worth?
11. The Enhancement of Biodiversity: Managing Access, Pricing Usage
12. Climate Change: The Challenges of Carbon Pricing
13. International Climate Negotiations
14. The "Energy Transition": Not Enough or Too Much Oil and Gas?
15. The Inescapable Question of the Price of Energy
16. Nuclear Energy: A Rising-Cost Technology
17. Growth-Generating Innovations
18. Planning or the Market: What Are the Catalysts?
19. European Strategy: Jump Out of the Warm Water!
Conclusion: Green Capital, Green Capitalism?
Notes
Index

Read the Introduction:

About the Author

Christian De Perthuis is a professor of economics at University Paris-Dauphine and head of the climate economics department. He is the author of several books, including Economic Choices in a Warming World. As chairman of the Green Tax Committee, he designed the carbon tax that was introduced by the French government in January 2014.

Pierre-André Jouvet is a professor of economics at the University of Paris-Ouest-Nanterre-la Défense and is the scientific director of the climate economics department. His recent book is Global Environmental Commons: Analytical and Political Challenges in Building Governance Mechanisms.