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Why Worry About Climate Change? A Research Agenda


  • Richard S.J. Tol

    (Vrije Universiteit, Carnegie Mellon University and Economic and Social Research Institute)


Estimates of the marginal damage costs of carbon dioxide emissions suggest that, although climate change is a problem and some emission reduction is justified, very stringent abatement does not pass the cost-benefit test. However, current estimates of the economic impact of climate change are incomplete. Some of the missing impacts are likely to be positive and others negative, but overall the uncertainty seems to concentrate on the downside risks and current estimates of the damage costs may have a negative bias. The research effort on the economic impacts of climate change is minute, and should be strengthened, with a particular focus on the quantification of uncertainties; estimating missing impacts, interactions between impacts and higher-order effects; the valuation of biodiversity loss; the implications of extreme climate scenarios and violent conflict; and climate change in the very long term.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard S.J. Tol, 2006. "Why Worry About Climate Change? A Research Agenda," Working Papers 2006.136, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2006.136

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gersbach, Hans & Winkler, Ralph, 2012. "Global refunding and climate change," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(11), pages 1775-1795.
    2. Pizer, William A. & Popp, David, 2008. "Endogenizing technological change: Matching empirical evidence to modeling needs," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 2754-2770, November.
    3. Richard S. J. Tol, 2010. "The Economic Impact of Climate Change," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11(s1), pages 13-37, May.
    4. Valentina Bosetti & Carlo Carraro & Enrica De Cian & Romain Duval & Emanuele Massetti & Massimo Tavoni, 2009. "The Incentives to Participate in and the Stability of International Climate Coalitions: A Game-Theoretic Approach Using the WITCH Model," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 702, OECD Publishing.
    5. Nelson, Julie A., 2009. "Between a rock and a soft place: Ecological and feminist economics in policy debates," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 1-8, November.
    6. Jiang, Zhujun & Tan, Jijun, 2013. "How the removal of energy subsidy affects general price in China: A study based on input–output model," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 599-606.
    7. Michel Aglietta & Jean-Charles Hourcade & Carlo Jaeger & Baptiste Fabert, 2015. "Financing transition in an adverse context: climate finance beyond carbon finance," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 403-420, November.
    8. Valentina Bosetti & Carlo Carraro & Enrica De Cian & Romain Duval & Emanuele Massetti & Massimo Tavoni, 2009. "The Incentives to Participate in, and the Stability of, International Climate Coalitions: A Game-theoretic Analysis Using the Witch Model," Working Papers 2009.64, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    9. Saltari, Enrico & Travaglini, Giuseppe, 2016. "Pollution control under emission constraints: Switching between regimes," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 212-219.
    10. Tscharaktschiew, Stefan & Hirte, Georg, 2010. "The drawbacks and opportunities of carbon charges in metropolitan areas -- A spatial general equilibrium approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 339-357, December.
    11. Julie A. Nelson, "undated". "09-06 "Between a Rock and a Soft Place: Ecological and Feminist Economics in Policy Debates"," GDAE Working Papers 09-06, GDAE, Tufts University.
    12. Heuson, Clemens & Gawel, Erik & Gebhardt, Oliver & Hansjürgens, Bernd & Lehmann, Paul & Meyer, Volker & Schwarze, Reimund, 2012. "Fundamental questions on the economics of climate adaptation: Outlines of a new research programme," UFZ Reports 05/2012, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ).
    13. Graham Long, 2011. "Disagreement and Responses to Climate Change," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 20(4), pages 503-525, November.
    14. Heuson, Clemens & Gawel, Erik & Gebhardt, Oliver & Hansjürgens, Bernd & Lehmann, Paul & Meyer, Volker & Schwarze, Reimund, 2012. "Ökonomische Grundfragen der Klimaanpassung: Umrisse eines neuen Forschungsprogramms," UFZ Reports 02/2012, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ).
    15. 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.
    16. Gersbach, Hans & Kleinschmidt, Tobias, 2009. "Power to youth: Designing democracy for long-term well-being," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 158-172, September.

    More about this item


    Climate Change; Impacts; Valuation; Cost-benefit Analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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