Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change: A Literature Review


Author Info

  • Stéphanie Jamet
  • Jan Corfee-Morlot
Registered author(s):


    Climate change is expected to have significant implications for the world economy and, more broadly, for many areas of human activity. The purpose of this review is twofold. First, it is to summarise current estimates of the impacts of climate change and to explain how these estimates are built in order to identify the main sources of uncertainty and approximation affecting them. Second, the paper discusses how this uncertainty should influence policymaker?s decisions. A main conclusion of the review is that there are large uncertainties, which are not fully reflected in existing estimates of global impacts of climate change in monetary units. Nonetheless, despite these uncertainties, policy action may be justified, provided that policies are cost-effective, even if the marginal cost of GHG emissions mitigation exceeds the marginal damage of one additional ton of carbon. This is because two features of the impacts of climate change tilt the balance in favour of action: their irreversibility, and the risk that they are extreme. Évaluer les impacts du changement climatique : Une revue de la littérature Le changement climatique devrait avoir des conséquences importantes sur l'économie mondiale et, plus généralement, sur un large éventail d'activités humaines. L'objectif de cette revue est double. D?une part, il s'agit de résumer les estimations récentes des impacts du changement climatique et d'expliquer comment ces estimations sont obtenues afin d'identifier les principales sources d'incertitude et d'approximation qui les entourent. D'autre part, la façon dont cette incertitude devrait influencer les décisions des responsables politiques est discutée. L'une des conclusions principales de cette revue est qu'il existe un grand nombre d'incertitudes autour des impacts du changement climatique qui ne sont pas pleinement reflétées dans les estimations des impacts globaux exprimés en unité monétaire. Néanmoins, en dépit de ces incertitudes, une politique active pourrait être justifiée, à condition que ces politiques soient efficaces au regard des coûts, même si le coût marginal de réduction des émissions des gaz à effet de serres est supérieur au coût marginal d'une tonne additionnelle de carbone. Ce résultat provient de deux caractéristiques des impacts qui inclinent la balance en faveur de l'action : leur irréversibilité et le risque qu'ils soient extrêmes.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 691.

    as in new window
    Date of creation: 03 Apr 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:691-en

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: 2 rue Andre Pascal, 75775 Paris Cedex 16
    Phone: 33-(0)-1-45 24 82 00
    Fax: 33-(0)-1-45 24 85 00
    Web page:
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords: uncertainty; extreme events; impact; irreversibility; climate change; changement climatique; événements extrêmes; irréversibilité; incertitude; impact;

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Carlo Carraro & Francesco Bosello & Enrica De Cian, 2009. "An Analysis of Adaptation as a Response to Climate Change," Working Papers 2009_26, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    2. Schenker, Oliver, 2010. "Transporting goods and damages. The role of trade on the distribution of climate change costs," MPRA Paper 25350, University Library of Munich, Germany.


    This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
    1. Global warming in Wikipedia English ne '')


    Access and download statistics


    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:691-en. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.