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Rapid climate change: an overview for economists


  • Paul D. Williams


The possibility of future rapid climatic changes is a pressing concern amongst climate scientists. For example, an abrupt collapse of the ocean's Thermohaline Circulation (THC) would rapidly cool the northern hemisphere and reduce the net global primary productivity of vegetation, according to computer models. It is unclear how to incorporate such low-probability, high-impact events into the development of economics policies. This paper reviews the salient aspects of rapid climate change relevant to economists and policy makers. The main scientific certainties and uncertainties are clearly delineated, with the aim of guiding economics goals and ensuring that they retain fidelity to their scientific underpinnings.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul D. Williams, 2009. "Rapid climate change: an overview for economists," International Journal of Green Economics, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 3(1), pages 63-76.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:ijgrec:v:3:y:2009:i:1:p:63-76

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    Cited by:

    1. Elizabeth Kopits & Alex L. Marten & Ann Wolverton, 2013. "Moving Forward with Incorporating "Catastrophic" Climate Change into Policy Analysis," NCEE Working Paper Series 201301, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Jan 2013.


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