As the harm from climate change becomes increasingly manifest, there is some good news: the estimated cost of reducing carbon emissions is falling rapidly. One dramatic example is an analysis by Geoffrey Heal of Columbia University showing that it would cost only $6bn a year for the US to move to carbon-free electricity generation by 2050.

Even if the precise numbers are off, Heal is right to emphasise that the transition to cleaner energy is much less costly today than it used to be. Three forces are changing the math...

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