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Modelling the Costs of Climate Change and its Costs of Mitigation: A Scientific Approach

  • Douglas, Niall Edward

A thorough review is made of Climate Change Science, going into much greater detail than is typical of papers in Economics and specifically emphasising the hard thermodynamic limits of biological and physical processes. This theme is then continued in a historical review of theory relevant to Climate Change taken from Economics, Physics, Biology and Mathematics, clarified by extensive real-life historical time series plus calculations of fundamental thermodynamic limits – which results in a series of pointed, uncomfortable truths that our culture & society prefers to overlook. Two types of “costs of climate change” models are then placed under the microscope: (i) The Stern Report (2007) and (ii) The Limits to Growth (2004) – both chosen as the two most widely known by the greater public. Both models are evaluated according to the scientific realities outlined in the previous two chapters, including going into some detail of the specifics of the models themselves through analysis of their source code implementations. Finally, the author’s subjective opinion is given as to the quality of the models given the results of the prior chapter. I conclude that the models are primitive, but not much better than the state-of-the-art currently employed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The hard reality is that we do not sufficiently understand the nature nor causes of climate change, only that it is happening – and thus building a realistic model is currently outside our capability. This is changing very quickly however – the paper has tried, where possible, to include the very latest research on climate change and to show by just how much the ground is currently moving.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 13650.

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Date of creation: May 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:13650
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  1. William D. Nordhaus, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 686-702, September.
  2. William D. Nordhaus, 2006. "The "Stern Review" on the Economics of Climate Change," NBER Working Papers 12741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Martin L. Weitzman, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 703-724, September.
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