Gernot Wagner



Areas of expertise:
Climate change, climate economics, environmental markets, energy

Gernot Wagner, Ph.D., works closely with EDF’s Office of the Chief Economist, participating in projects relating to climate damages and tipping points, the social cost of carbon, empirical modeling of climate change and human activity, and others. He served as economist at EDF (2008 – 2016), most recently as lead senior economist (2014 – 2016).

Gernot is a Research Associate at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, lecturer on Environmental Science and Public Policy at Harvard, and a Fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment. He’s a Visiting Research Associate at the University of Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also a former Adjunct Associate Professor of energy economics at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs and at NYU Stern School of Business, and the author of But Will the Planet Notice? (2011) and Climate Shock (2015), joint with Harvard’s Martin Weitzman.

Climate Shock is a Top 15 Financial Times Business Book of the Year 2015. Jeff Sachs calls it “deeply insightful, challenging, eye-opening, thought-provoking, and sheer fun to read,” Bill Nordhaus in the New York Review of Books says it’s “witty, far-ranging, and literate,” and Richard Cooper in Foreign Affairs lauds how it “combines sophisticated analysis with a breezy, informal style.”

Read more from Gernot or connect with him online at or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.


Prior to EDF, Gernot worked for the Boston Consulting Group, focusing on the energy and sustainable development practice areas. He also wrote for the editorial board of the Financial Times in London as a Peter Martin Fellow, where he covered economics, energy and the environment.


  • Ph.D., Political Economy and Government, Harvard University, 2007
  • M.A., Political Economy and Government, Harvard University, 2006
  • M.A., Economics, Stanford University, 2003
  • A.B., Environmental Science and Public Policy, and Economics, Harvard University, 2002


Gillingham, Kenneth, David S. Rapson, and Gernot Wagner. “The Rebound Effect and Energy Efficiency Policy.” E2e Working Paper WP-013, October 2014. RFF Discussion Paper 14-39, November 2014; forthcoming in Review of Environmental Economics and Policy (Winter 2016).

Freeman, Mark C., Gernot Wagner, and Richard J. Zeckhauser. “Climate Sensitivity Uncertainty: When is Good News Bad?Philosophical Transactions A 373, 20150092 (November 2015).

Wagner, Gernot, Tomas Kåberger, Susanna Olai, Michael Oppenheimer, Katherine Rittenhouse, and Thomas Sterner. “Push renewables to spur carbon pricing” Nature 525: 27–29 (3 September 2015).

Convery, Frank J., and Gernot Wagner. “Reflections – Managing Uncertain Climates: Some Guidance for Policy Makers and Researchers.Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Summer 2015.

Climate Shock Wagner, Gernot, and Martin L. Weitzman. Climate Shock: the economic consequences of a hotter planet. Princeton University Press, 2015.

Steininger, Karl W., Gernot Wagner, Paul Watkiss, Martin König. “Climate Change Impacts at the National Level: Known Trends, Unknown Tails, and Unknowables.” In: Steininger, Karl W., König, Martin, Bednar-Friedl, Birgit, Kranzl, Lukas, Loibl, Wolfgang, Prettenthaler, Franz (Eds). Economic Evaluation of Climate Change Impacts, Springer (2015).

Green, Jessica F., Thomas Sterner and Gernot Wagner. “A balance of bottom-up and top-down in linking climate policies.” Nature Climate Change 4, 1064-1067 (2014). doi:10.1038/nclimate2429

Tewksbury, Joshua and Gernot Wagner, “The Role of Civil Society in Recalibrating Conservation Science Incentives,” Conservation Biology (2014). doi: 10.1111/cobi.12288

Gillingham, Kenneth, Matthew J. Kotchen, David S. Rapson, and Gernot Wagner. 2013. “Energy policy: The rebound effect is overplayed.Nature 493: 475–476 (24 January). doi:10.1038/493475a

Wagner, Gernot. Cut Power Plant Pollution. (Feature on: The Second Coming: What can the 44th president really achieve in his second term.) Foreign Policy (January/February 2013).

Wagner, Gernot. 2013. Carbon Cap and Trade. In: Encyclopedia of Energy, Natural Resource, and Environmental Economics, edited by Jason F. Shogren, Elsevier: 1-5.

Wagner, Gernot and Martin Weitzman. Playing GodForeign Policy (2012).

Arunabha Ghosh, Benito Müller, William Pizer, and Gernot Wagner. Mobilizing the Private Sector: Quantity-Performance Instruments for Public Climate Funds (2012).

But Will the Planet Notice?

Wagner, Gernot. But Will the Planet Notice? Hill and Wang , (2011). Bill McKibben says: “If you want to understand how an economist thinks about the biggest challenge our planet has ever stumbled up against, this book is an awfully good place to start!” Martin Wolf calls it “lucid and enjoyable.” The Daily Green describes it as: “Lessons in economics and global environmental problems, from a guy you’d actually talk to at a party.”

Buchner, Barbara, Jessica Brown, Gernot Wagner, and Katherine Sierra. Improving the effectiveness of climate finance: A survey of leveraging methodologies (2011).

Chaum, Miriam, Chris Faris, Gernot Wagner, Barbara Buchner, Angela Falconer, Chiara Trabacchi, Jessica Brown, and Katherine Sierra. Improving the effectiveness of climate finance: Key lessons (2011).

Wagner, Gernot, and Richard Zeckhauser. “Climate Policy: Hard Problem, Soft Thinking.” Climatic Change (2011). Print.

Wagner, Gernot. “Docking into a Global Carbon Market: Clean Investment Budgets to Encourage Emerging Economy Participation.” Earth and Environmental Science IOP Conference 6 (2009). Print.

Wagner, Gernot. Undesirable Growth Fueled By Environmental Degradation. Publication. Harvard UP, 2005. Print.

Stavins, R., Gernot Wagner, and Alexander Wagner. “Interpreting Sustainability in Economic Terms: Dynamic Efficiency plus Intergenerational Equity.” Economics Letters 79.3 (2003): 339-43. Print.

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