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Estimating the Global Impacts of Climate Variability and Change During the 20th Century

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  • Richard S.J. Tol

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Sussex
    Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Department of Spatial Economics, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Tinbergen Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

  • Francisco Estrada

    ()
    (Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Centro de Ciencias de la Atmósfera, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico)

Abstract

Estimates of the impacts of observed climate change during the 20th century obtained by different integrated assessment models (IAMs) are separated into their main natural and anthropogenic components. The estimates of the costs that can be attributed to natural variability factors and to the anthropogenic intervention with the climate system in general tend to show that: 1) during the first half of the century, the amplitude of the impacts associated to natural variability is considerably larger than that produced by anthropogenic factors and according to most models the effects of natural variability were mainly negative. These non-monotonic impacts are mostly determined by the low-frequency variability and the persistence of the climate system; 2) IAMs do not agree on the sign (nor on the magnitude) of the impacts of anthropogenic forcing but indicate that they steadily grew over the first part of the century, rapidly accelerated since the mid 1970's, and decelerated during the first decade of the 21st century. The economic impacts of anthropogenic forcing range in the tenths of percentage of the world GDP by the end of the 20th century; 3) the impacts of natural forcing are about one order of magnitude lower than those associated to anthropogenic forcing and are dominated by the solar forcing. Human activities became dominant drivers of the infrapolated economic impacts at the end of the 20th century, rivaling in magnitude with those of natural variability. FUNDn3.6 allows to further decompose the natural and anthropogenic contributions into different sectors. The benefits of anthropogenic contribution in agriculture and energy are shown to outweigh the losses in health and water resources.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Sussex in its series Working Paper Series with number 6213.

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Date of creation: Aug 2013
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Handle: RePEc:sus:susewp:6213

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Keywords: climate change; impacts; 20th century;

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  1. Richard Tol, 2013. "The economic impact of climate change in the 20th and 21st centuries," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 117(4), pages 795-808, April.
  2. Richard Tol, 2002. "Estimates of the Damage Costs of Climate Change, Part II. Dynamic Estimates," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 21(2), pages 135-160, February.
  3. Richard Tol, 2002. "Estimates of the Damage Costs of Climate Change. Part 1: Benchmark Estimates," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 21(1), pages 47-73, January.
  4. Pierre Perron & Francisco Estrada & Carlos Gay-García & Benjamín Martínez-López, 2011. "A time-series analysis of the 20th century climate simulations produced for the IPCC’s AR4," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2011-051, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  5. Richard S. J. Tol, 2009. "The Economic Effects of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 29-51, Spring.
  6. Pierre Perron & Francisco Estrada & Benjamín Martínez-López, 2012. "Statistical evidence about human influence on the climate system," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2012-012, Boston University - Department of Economics.
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