The trickle-down theory of renewable energy

By Fran Sussman

Andrew Revkin’s column in DOT Earth about Harvard’s decision not to divest its investments in fossil fuels included some observations by Robert Stavins, a noted Harvard economist. One was particularly provocative:

“If divestment were to reduce the financial resources of coal, oil, and gas companies (which it would NOT do), this would only reduce research and development at those same companies of: carbon capture and storage technologies; other key technological breakthroughs; and renewable sources of energy (the fossil fuel companies are carrying out much of the R&D on renewables).” (more…)

Choosing Not to Divest is Not Value-Free

by Fran Sussman

In his DOT Earth column in the NYT on October 4, 2013, A Closer Look at Harvard’s Choice on Fossil Fuels, Andrew Revkin wrote about the issue of Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust’s statement on the university’s decision not to divest itself of fossil fuels, despite student efforts. Reading the column raised some interesting parallels in my mind between the way economists separate fact from judgments about welfare, and President Faust’s justification of the university’s decision. (more…)

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