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US Climate Change Researchers Win Nobel Prize in Economics

2018-10-8

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has announced the Nobel Prize in economics will go to two American researchers.

William Nordhaus of Yale University and Paul Romer of New York University will share the $1 million prize.

One received the award for his findings on the economics of climate change. The other winner discovered a method for fighting the problem.

A combination picture shows William D. Nordhaus (L) and Paul Romer, who have won the 2018 Nobel Economics Prize, posing in undated photos provided to Reuters by Yale University and NYU Stern School of Business on Oct. 8, 2018.
A combination picture shows William D. Nordhaus (L) and Paul Romer, who have won the 2018 Nobel Economics Prize, posing in undated photos provided to Reuters by Yale University and NYU Stern School of Business on Oct. 8, 2018.

Nordhaus has called for a worldwide tax on any activities that produce the waste gas carbon dioxide. The burning of fossil fuels create major carbon dioxide releases. The gas traps heat in the atmosphere causing worldwide warming.

Carbon taxes let producers pay for the costs of these releases. Carbon tax policies are designed to lead companies to find new ways to reduce pollution.

Romer has studied the way innovation creates profit increase. He has looked at ways to support that process. After the Nobel announcement, Romer told reporters that his work makes him hopeful that people can solve the problem of a warming planet.

“Many people think that dealing with protecting the environment will be so costly and so hard that they just want to ignore the problem. They want to deny it exists,” Romer said. “I hope the prize today could help everyone see that humans are capable of amazing accomplishments when we set about trying to do something.”

The two researchers worked separately. But their research connects on an issue that has become increasingly important. The question of climate change remains politically difficult, especially in big oil-producing countries.

David Warsh is the writer of the 2007 book, “Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations.” He told the Associated Press that giving both Romer and Nordhaus the Nobel Prize was a great idea.

He said “Nordhaus has been concerned all along with repairing the damage” to the environment. Romer, he said, has been writing about the methods available to deal with such a technological challenge.

Per Stromberg is the head of the Nobel economics prize committee. He said the award is “about the long-run future of the world economy.”

On Sunday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report about global warming. It said extreme measures must be taken to avoid environmental disaster. The scientists said humans must act now to limit warming to a half degree Celsius. That is a half-degree lower than the current internationally agreed-upon goal.

The IPCC has won a Nobel itself. The group is part of the United Nations. Its latest report noted Nordhaus in its research.

The economics prize is the last of the Nobel awards to be announced this year.

I'm Dorothy Gundy.

The Associated Press reported this story. Pete Musto adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor. We want to hear from you. What other ways do you feel like the international community can work together to solve climate change? Write to us in the Comments Section or on 51VOA.COM

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Words in This Story

innovation -n. the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods

amazing -adj. causing great surprise or wonder

accomplishment -n. the successful completion of something

challenge -n. a difficult task or problem: something that is hard to do

indicate -v. to show (something)