Robert Mendelsohn

Robert Mendelsohn

Robert O. Mendelsohn


  • Ph.D., economics, Yale University (1978).
  • B.A., economics, Harvard University (1973).

Source: [1]


Robert O. Mendelsohn is an environmental economist and the Weyerhaeuser Davis Professor of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University, Professor of Economics in Economics Department at Yale University, and Professor in the School of Management at Yale University.

Mendelsohn was a contributor to the first Copenhagen Consensus report, organized by Bjorn Lomborg. The Copenhagen Conference came to the conclusion that “global warming must be addressed, but agreed that approaches based on too abrupt a shift toward lower emissions of carbon are needlessly expensive.” [2]

Mendelsohn was also critical of the Stern Review because it recommended immediate regulations on carbon emissions, and because it suggests that damages related to climate change are higher than previously expected. [3]

Mendelsohn's profile at Yale describes him as having written over one hundred peer-reviewed articles and edited six books. The focus of his research has been the “valuation of the environment.” His most recent work values the impacts of greenhouse gases, including the effects of climate change on agriculture, forests, water resources, energy, and coasts. [4]

Stance on Climate Change

Although Mendelsohn believes in human caused climate change, he believes it is to expensive to increase regulations on carbon emissions:

“Economists have long argued that stabilizing greenhouse gases at 550 ppm is not efficient because the costs far outweighed the benefits.”

“Aggressive near-term policies lead to abatement costs that outweigh the avoided future climate damages. Strict abatement policies should be delayed into the future as damages increase. Only modest control programs are warranted in the near term.” [5]

Mendelsohn contributed to a report that concluded “There is broad scientific agreement on many fundamental aspects of how human activities contribute to changes in the Earth’s climate. The radiative effect of increased levels of CO2 is well established.” [6]

Key Quotes

“Although it is important to examine the consequences of today’s actions far into the future, it is important not to confuse far future actions with what is done today. The impact of emissions that are made after 2100 has no bearing on what the world should do for the next 30 or even 100 years.” [7]

“The world community simply should not support such extreme measures when there are so many other pressing issues at hand. The optimal response to greenhouse gases is to start modestly.” [7]

“The results of recent research on the impacts of climate change dramatically weaken the case for expensive, near-term abatement programs.” [8]

Key Deeds

June 30 - July 1, 2011

Speaker at the Heartland Institute's Sixth International Conference on Climate Change. [9]

April, 2004

Contributed an opponent paper on climate change (PDF) to the 2004 Copenhagen Consensus.


  • American Enterprise Institute (AEI) — Mendelsohn was the author of a study commissioned by the American Enterprise Institute to examine the debate over global environmental policy issues. The paper is “Greening of Global Warming,” and is archived here (PDF). 


Sample publications include:

  • Climate Change and Agriculture: An Economic Analysis of Global Impacts, Adaptation, and Distributional Effects.
  • “Opponent Paper on Climate Change” (PDF). Presented to Copenhagen Consensus. April, 2004.
  • Greening of Global Warming (PDF).
  • Towards Efficient Regulation of Air Pollution from Coal-fired Power Plants.

Mendelsohn provides a full list of his publications in his CV [1]. Additional information is also listed here.


  1. “Robert Mendelsohn” (PDF), CV at Yale University, January, 2010.

  2. Perspective Paper Authors” (for Copenhagen Consensus 2004), Copenhagen Consensus Center. Accessed January, 2012.

  3. Robert O. Mendelsohn. “A Critique of the Stern Report” (PDF), Regulation, Winter 2006-2007.

  4. Robert O. Mendelsohn,” Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Accessed January, 2012.

  5. Robert O. Mendelsohn. “A Critique of the Stern Report” (PDF), Regulation, Winter 2006-2007.

  6. “Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change” (PDF), USDA Economic Research Service.

  7. “Opponent Paper on Climate Change” (PDF), Copenhagen Consensus, April, 2004.

  8. The Greening of Global Warming,” American Enterprise Institute, January 1, 1999.

  9. Robert Mendelsohn,” International Conference on Climate Change ( Accessed January, 2012.

  10. Robert O. Mendelsohn,” Wikipedia entry.

  11. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Robert Mendelsohn.