Humanity is risking the health of the natural environment through a myriad of interventions, including the atmospheric emission of trace gases such as carbon dioxide, the use of ozone-depleting chemicals, the engineering of massive land-use changes, and the destruction of the habitats of many species. It is imperative that we learn to protect our common geophysical and biological resources. Although scientists have studied greenhouse warming for decades, it is only recently that society has begun to consider the economic, political, and institutional aspects of environmental intervention.
Coping with the challenges of global warming is a daunting task for both scientists and economists, who must understand future changes, and for policy makers, who must ultimately choose policies to balance risks and costs. Managing the Global Commons presents a unique effort to encompass economic, scientific, and policy aspects of this great geophysical experiment.
Winner of the Nobel Prize in 1981, James Tobin is one of the principle figures in contemporary Economics. These original contributions by such noted economists as Robert Solow, Paul Samuelson, Richard Cooper, and Edmund Phelps celebrate and extend Tobin's contributions to macroeconomics, international economics, finance, and economic policy.