Campus News

UW-Madison Q&A session addresses climate change

UW-Madison professor of applied economics Corbett Grainger stressed the importance of a global carbon tax to address climate change.

The 350 Madison Climate Action Team joined with the UW-Madison campus branch of 350 UW in Varsity Hall at Union South to address topics on climate change in a joint Q&A session, called “Rising to the Challenge of the Climate Crisis.”

The event targeted questions surrounding progress made at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Paris and how that progress translates to the United States.
Lauren Peretz, leader of 350 UW and a UW-Madison student, and Erik Anderson, member of 350 Madison and UW-Madison student, relayed questions from the audience to the two expert panelists.

The two panelists were UW-Madison professor of applied economics Corbett Grainger and UW-Madison professor of international and environmental law Sumudu Atapattu.

Grainger gave input on economic approaches to climate change. He said he heavily favors a national carbon tax to incentivize huge cuts on emission levels.

“I think most people would be surprised to know there is bipartisan support on a carbon tax among economists in the U.S.,” Grainger said. 

Grainger added that a global carbon tax had not been discussed at the Paris conference.

Atapattu emphasized the importance of categorizing climate change into a specific type of problem.

“If you had to identify climate change, would you identify it as an environmental problem? A human rights problem? A public health problem? An economic problem? Or all the above?” Atapattu asked the audience, to which they collectively agreed was all of the above.

Atapattu said she was satisfied with the collective effort for countries coming together at the Paris conference, where countries agreed on bottom-up approaches by respective states to address the issue.

Peretz, who was one of the organizers of the event, said she was encouraged with the audience turnout.

“I think it shows how involved students are starting to get,” Peretz said. “They’re realizing how much it is a problem and we need to do something about it.”

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