Stand-up economist engages with students about carbon pricing during UT Energy Week

Elexa Sherry

On Monday as part of the 2019 UT Energy Week, economist Yoram Bauman presented a stand-up comedy routine to students on environmental economic policies such as carbon pricing.

Bauman calls himself “the world’s first and only stand-up economist,” which means he advocates through comedy. 

Bauman, who often speaks at universities and corporate events around the country, said comedy is a way for him to connect with different audiences. He elicited laughter from the audience when he advocated for the implementation of carbon taxing, a fee imposed by the government on any company that burns coal, oil or gas. Bauman helped create and promote the carbon tax that was instituted in British Columbia in 2008.

“People would come out for climate talk if it’s a comedy,” Bauman said. “What I’ve learned from doing this (for) eight to 10 years is if you make people laugh for 45 minutes, you can talk about anything.” 

In 2003, Bauman earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Washington. Bauman is the co-author of “The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change,” which he said addresses concepts related to climate science and policies in a comedic, but informative way.

UT alumnus Ryan Brown was one of about 50 people who attended the event, held at the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center. Brown said he came out because he wanted to hear Bauman’s perspective on the politics of energy in the economy.

“I feel that carbon pricing is necessary worldwide,” Brown said. “A number of technologies require policies in order for them to become implemented, which would be a price on carbon.”

Juan Acevedo, an energy and earth resources graduate student, has a different view on the implementation of carbon pricing. Acevedo said countries should decrease their carbon emissions once they become more developed. 

“I believe that it shouldn’t start off being a worldwide thing, that it should start off with developed countries that can set an example,” Acevedo said.

Bauman encouraged students to work towards creating the future that they want to live in. 

“I feel like we are all are very fortunate to have an opportunity to think about these issues to try to make the world a better place,” Bauman said. “That’s a blessing and an amazing opportunity.”


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