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Global warming and the future of Pacific Island countries


  • Clem Tisdell


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to outline the cause of global warming, its trends and consequences as indicated by the International Panel on Climate Change. Sea-level rise is one consequence of particular concern to Pacific Island states. It also reviews the views of economists about connections between economic growth and global warming. Design/methodology/approach - International efforts, such as through the Kyoto protocol, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and their atmospheric concentration are discussed and prospects for post-Kyoto policies are considered. Ways are also examined of addressing the consequences of global warming for the Pacific Island states. How they will be affected and to what extent is discussed, together with their ability to cope with the emerging problem. Findings - The paper finds that whereas the majority of economists did not foresee a conflict between economic growth and global warming, the possibility of such a conflict is now more widely recognized following the Stern Report. It is predicted that a significant reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions is unlikely to be achieved in the foreseeable future owing to conflicting national interest (a prisoners' dilemma problem) and because is will take time to develop new technologies which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, payment for greenhouse gas emissions (for example, via tradable permits) will accelerate desirable technological advance. Both international political action and efforts to develop and use technologies that lower greenhouse gas emissions need to be pursued. Given current and likely increases in greenhouse gas emissions, continuing global warming in this century (and beyond) appears to be inevitable and consequently Pacific Island states will be adversely affected by sea-level rise and climate change. Originality/value - The paper emphasizes that Pacific Island states will suffer great hardship from global warming but are ill-placed geographically, financially and administratively to prevent or adjust to the possible environmental disasters that await them. Nothing may save some from eventual environmental annihilation.

Suggested Citation

  • Clem Tisdell, 2008. "Global warming and the future of Pacific Island countries," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 35(12), pages 889-903, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijsepp:v:35:y:2008:i:12:p:889-903

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Grossman, G.M & Krueger, A.B., 1991. "Environmental Impacts of a North American Free Trade Agreement," Papers 158, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
    2. Selden Thomas M. & Song Daqing, 1994. "Environmental Quality and Development: Is There a Kuznets Curve for Air Pollution Emissions?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 147-162, September.
    3. Stern , David I., 1998. "Progress on the environmental Kuznets curve?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 173-196, May.
    4. Gene M. Grossman & Alan B. Krueger, 1995. "Economic Growth and the Environment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 353-377.
    5. Rothman, Dale S., 1998. "Environmental Kuznets curves--real progress or passing the buck?: A case for consumption-based approaches," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 177-194, May.
    6. Tisdell, Clem, 2001. "Globalisation and sustainability: environmental Kuznets curve and the WTO," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 185-196, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pervez Zamurrad Janjua & Ghulam Samad & Nazakat Ullah Khan, 2010. "Impact of Climate Change on Wheat Production: A Case Study of Pakistan," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 49(4), pages 799-822.


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