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Risk Management and Climate Change

Author

Listed:
  • Howard Kunreuther
  • Geoffrey Heal
  • Myles Allen
  • Ottmar Edenhofer
  • Christopher B. Field
  • Gary Yohe

Abstract

The selection of climate policies should be an exercise in risk management reflecting the many relevant sources of uncertainty. Studies of climate change and its impacts rarely yield consensus on the distribution of exposure, vulnerability, or possible outcomes. Hence policy analysis cannot effectively evaluate alternatives using standard approaches such as expected utility theory and benefit-cost analysis. This Perspective highlights the value of robust decision-making tools designed for situations, such as evaluating climate policies, where generally agreed-upon probability distributions are not available and stakeholders differ in their degree of risk tolerance. This broader risk management approach enables one to examine a range of possible outcomes and the uncertainty surrounding their likelihoods.

Suggested Citation

  • Howard Kunreuther & Geoffrey Heal & Myles Allen & Ottmar Edenhofer & Christopher B. Field & Gary Yohe, 2012. "Risk Management and Climate Change," NBER Working Papers 18607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18607
    Note: EEE
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18607.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Laure Cabantous & Denis Hilton & Howard Kunreuther & Erwann Michel-Kerjan, 2011. "Is imprecise knowledge better than conflicting expertise? Evidence from insurers’ decisions in the United States," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 211-232, June.
    2. Simon Dietz, 2011. "High impact, low probability? An empirical analysis of risk in the economics of climate change," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 108(3), pages 519-541, October.
    3. Robert J. Lempert & David G. Groves & Steven W. Popper & Steve C. Bankes, 2006. "A General, Analytic Method for Generating Robust Strategies and Narrative Scenarios," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(4), pages 514-528, April.
    4. Kunreuther, Howard & Meszaros, Jacqueline & Hogarth, Robin M. & Spranca, Mark, 1995. "Ambiguity and underwriter decision processes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 337-352, May.
    5. Martin L. Weitzman, 2009. "On Modeling and Interpreting the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 1-19, February.
    6. Peter Klibanoff & Massimo Marinacci & Sujoy Mukerji, 2005. "A Smooth Model of Decision Making under Ambiguity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 1849-1892, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. John E. Bistline, 2015. "Fat-Tailed Uncertainty, Learning, And Climate Policy," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 6(02), pages 1-21.
    2. Dittrich, Ruth & Wreford, Anita & Moran, Dominic, 2016. "A survey of decision-making approaches for climate change adaptation: Are robust methods the way forward?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 79-89.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C02 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Mathematical Economics
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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