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Uncertainty and Decision in Climate Change Economics

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  • Geoffrey Heal
  • Antony Millner

Abstract

Uncertainty is intrinsic to climate change: we know that the climate is changing, but not precisely how fast or in what ways. Nor do we understand fully the social and economic consequences of these changes, or the options that will be available for reducing climate change. Furthermore the uncertainty about these issues is not readily quantified and expressed in probabilistic terms: we are facing deep uncertainty or ambiguity rather than risk in the classical sense, rendering the classical expected utility framework of limited value. We review the sources of uncertainty about all aspects of climate change and resolve these into various components, commenting on their relative importance. Then we review decision-making frameworks that are appropriate in the absence of quantitative probabilistic information, including non-probabilistic approaches and those based on multiple priors, and discuss their application in climate change economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Geoffrey Heal & Antony Millner, 2013. "Uncertainty and Decision in Climate Change Economics," NBER Working Papers 18929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18929
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ziebarth, N. R. & Schmitt, M. & Karlsson, M., 2013. "The short-term population health effects of weather and pollution: implications of climate change," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 13/34, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    2. David Martimort & Stéphane Straub, 2016. "How To Design Infrastructure Contracts In A Warming World: A Critical Appraisal Of Public–Private Partnerships," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 57, pages 61-88, February.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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