Comminty Colloquium: Matthew Kahn

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara



PART II IN THE 2009-2010

Matthew Kahn
UCLA Institute of the Environment,

Department of Economics,

Department of Public Policy

Tuesday, January 26, 2010
12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Bren Hall 1414

"How Will Our Cities Cope with Climate Change?"

Hosted by Bren School Dean Steven Gaines

Note: This presentation will be video-recorded



We have released the genie from the bottle: climate change is coming. A majority of the world's population lives in cities. A fundamental question then becomes the future of our cities in a hotter world. Some claim that our future is bleak. The 2008 Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman has argued that we are like a frog in a boiling pot. He laments that while he knows that the climate pot is getting hot, we frogs are blissfully ignorant of the coming doom that climate change will cause. In contrast, I’m optimistic about the quality of our lives in the city of the future, despite very different climate conditions than we face today. My optimism is based on our ability to pursue our own narrow self interest in a capitalist economy.


Matthew E. Kahn is a professor at UCLA's Institute of the Environment, Department of Economics, and Department of Public Policy. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Before joining the UCLA faculty in January 2007, he taught at Columbia and the Fletcher School at Tufts University. He has served as a visiting professor at Harvard and Stanford. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago. He is the author of Green Cities: Urban Growth and the Environment (Brookings Institution Press 2006) and a co-author of Heroes and Cowards: The Social Face of War (Princeton University Press 2009). He blogs on environmental and urban topics at In summer 2009, the Wall Street Journal named him as one of the top 25 economics bloggers.

The Zurich Financial Services Distinguished Visitors Program on Climate Change allows the Bren School to attract international leaders in environmental policy, law, business, and science to enrich and expand the intellectual life of the Bren School community and share insight on issues critical to climate change. Activities of the visitors, who are in residence for periods ranging from one week to one quarter, include teaching short courses, offering public lectures, conducting seminars, and leading colloquia and symposia planned around their research, professional endeavors, or areas of expertise. Dr. Kahn is the second or three Distinguished Visitors who will spend time at the Bren School during the 2009-2010 academic year. The first was former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior Lynn Scarlett. The third visitor will be announced in spring.

NOTE: Community colloquia are generally talks of broad interest geared toward a diverse, sophisticated audience. Their purpose is not only to enhance knowledge and understanding, but also to bring people together and promote interaction that will strengthen the community.


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