Climate Policy Must Favour Mitigation Over Adaptation

  • Ingmar SchumacherEmail author


In climate change policy, adaptation tends to be viewed as being as important as mitigation. In this article we present a simple yet general argument for which mitigation must be preferred to adaptation at the global level. The argument rests on the observation that mitigation is a public good while adaptation is a private one. We show that the more one teases out the public good nature of mitigation, the lower will be the incentives to invest in the private good adaptation while it increases a policy maker’s incentives to invest in the public good mitigation. Conclusively, private adaptation yields a significant loss to global welfare. We then discuss what this implies for the current state of the art literature and what should be the lesson for future research.


Mitigation Adaptation Aggregation Public good Private good 

JEL Classification

Q58 Q54 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IPAG Business SchoolParisFrance
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsEcole PolytechniqueParisFrance

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