IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ags/aaea15/205761.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Economic Climate: Establishing Consensus on the Economics of Climate Change

Author

Listed:
  • Howard, Peter H.
  • Sylvan, Derek

Abstract

While the scientific community has established a fairly clear consensus on the threat of climate change, policymakers and journalists often suggest that the economic community lacks a consensus view on climate change risks and appropriate policy responses. We conducted a survey of 1,103 experts on the economics of climate change – all those who have authored an article related to climate change in a highly ranked economics or environmental economics journal since 1994 – and our results reveal several areas where expert consensus exists, and others where more research is necessary. In casting a wider net than many previous surveys of economists on climate change, we avoid many of the pitfalls of previous studies. Of the 1,103 experts that received the survey, 365 responded – a response rate of approximately 33%. Though the response rate varied from question to question – particularly for open-ended questions – it never dipped below 20%. There are several key takeaways from our results, particularly with respect to the magnitude of the social cost of carbon. Economic experts believe that climate change will begin to have a net negative impact on the global economy very soon – the median estimate was “by 2025.” On average, economists also predict far higher economic impacts from climate change than the estimates found in landmark surveys from the 1990s (Nordhaus, 1994; Schauer, 1995). Also while experts on climate economics did not support a constant discount rate calibrated to market rates – the current methodology employed to estimate the US social cost of carbon –respondents recommended rates lower than (or roughly equal to the lower ranges of) those used by the U.S. government in these calculations. Given these results, it is unsurprising that our findings revealed a strong consensus that the SCC should be greater than or equal to the current $37 estimate. While these results indicate a growing consensus that current damage and SCC impacts are too low, the high variance of our results indicate that considerable work is still necessary to improve the values used for discount rates and climate impact assumptions. From a policy perspective, our findings also strongly suggest that U.S. policymakers should be concerned about a lack of action on climate change. Experts believe that the United States may be able to strategically induce other nations to reduce GHG emissions by adopting policies to reduce U.S. emissions. Respondents also support unilateral emission reductions by the United States, regardless of the actions other nations have taken. These results appear to confirm an economic consensus that domestic climate policies should be enacted immediately to address climate change.

Suggested Citation

  • Howard, Peter H. & Sylvan, Derek, 2015. "The Economic Climate: Establishing Consensus on the Economics of Climate Change," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205761, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea15:205761
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/205761/files/AAEA_HowardSylvan_2015_Update.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Pantelis Kalaitzidakis & Theofanis P. Mamuneas & Thanasis Stengos, 2011. "An updated ranking of academic journals in economics," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1525-1538, November.
    3. Martin L. Weitzman, 2001. "Gamma Discounting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 260-271, March.
    4. Pantelis Kalaitzidakis & Theofanis P. Mamuneas & Thanasis Stengos, 2003. "Rankings of Academic Journals and Institutions in Economics," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(6), pages 1346-1366, December.
    5. Richard Tol, 2015. "Bootstraps for Meta-Analysis with an Application to the Impact of Climate Change," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 46(2), pages 287-303, August.
    6. Kalaitzidakis, P. & Mamuneas, T.P. & Stengos, T., 2003. "Rankings of Academic Journals and Institutions," Working Papers 2003-8, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
    7. Sandra Rousseau & Tom Verbeke & Ronald Rousseau, 2009. "Evaluating Environmental and Resource Economics Journals: A TOP-Curve Approach," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(2), pages 270-287, Summer.
    8. Moritz Drupp & Mark Freeman & Ben Groom & Frikk Nesje, 2015. "Discounting disentangled: an expert survey on the determinants of the long-term social discount rate," GRI Working Papers 196a, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    9. repec:spr:scient:v:77:y:2008:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-007-1980-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Sandra Rousseau, 2008. "Journal evaluation by environmental and resource economists: A survey," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 77(2), pages 223-233, November.
    11. Richard S. J. Tol, 2014. "Correction and Update: The Economic Effects of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 221-226, Spring.
    12. Michael Schauer, 1995. "Estimation of the greenhouse gas externality with uncertainty," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(1), pages 71-82, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Environmental Economics and Policy; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy; Risk and Uncertainty;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:aaea15:205761. 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: (AgEcon Search). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/aaeaaea.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.