This spring marks the release of new editions of introductory economics textbooks, so it’s a good time to update our 2010 review of the treatment of climate change in economics textbooks. As in 2010, some hit the mark while others are wildly misleading, but we’re happy to say that there’s plenty of good news: about half of the books improved their treatment of climate change.
Especially noteworthy is Glenn Hubbard and Tony O’Brien’s Economics, 4th ed., which has jumped to the top of our list. (Our previous review gave the 3rd edition a C+, describing it as “a masterpiece vandalized by hooligans”.) As a political aside, it is worth noting that Glenn Hubbard and Greg Mankiw, whose textbook also received a top grade, are the two economists advising Mitt Romney.
Only one textbook received a worse grade this time around: Roger Miller’s Economics Today, 16th ed. Not coincidentally, it has also earned the coveted 2012 Ruffin and Gregory Award for the Worst Treatment of Climate Change in an Economics Textbook.
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If you’d like to congratulate Professor Miller and/or encourage him to update his textbook—which is full of fallacies, including the astounding assertion that an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 is “the official carbon emissions target of the U.S. government” (!)—he can be reached at [email protected]. (Please be polite, because that’s the best way to effect change.)
P.S. On a historical note, Paul Gregory is now aware that there is an award named after his textbook, which went out of print ten years ago after this hilarious email exchange about the book’s ridiculous treatment of climate change. He of course claims to be a victim of the “climate police,” but the truth is that his textbook now sells on Amazon.com for $3.78 because it included wildly inaccurate statements like “There are in fact very few climatologists in the United States, and the majority of them are skeptical of global warming.” We are delighted that most textbook authors are more open to constructive criticism than Professor Gregory was, and we invite authors to email us at [email protected] for free and confidential feedback on draft material related to climate change.
Yoram Bauman is a Sightline Fellow and has an economics PhD from the University of Washington. Dani Ladyka is a student at the University of Washington.
Full disclosure: Bauman is the co-author of the Cartoon Introduction of Economics, which is published by a sister company of Worth Publishers and is sometimes included in package deals with Worth textbooks.