Responding to Threats of Climate Change Mega-Catastrophes
There is a low but uncertain probability that climate change could trigger “mega-catastrophes,” severe and at least partly irreversible adverse effects across broad regions. This paper first discusses the state of current knowledge and the defining characteristics of potential climate change mega-catastrophes. While some of these characteristics present difficulties for using standard rational choice methods to evaluate response options, there is still a need to balance the benefits and costs of different possible responses with appropriate attention to the uncertainties. To that end, we present a qualitative analysis of three options for mitigating the risk of climate mega-catastrophes—drastic abatement of greenhouse gas missions, development and implementation of geoengineering, and large-scale ex ante adaptation— against the criteria of efficacy, cost, robustness, and flexibility. We discuss the composition of a sound portfolio of initial investments in reducing the risk of climate change mega-catastrophes.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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.
- Richard S. J. Tol & Maria Bohn & Thomas E. Downing & Marie-Laure Guillerminet & Eva Hizsnyik & Roger Kasperson & Kate Lonsdale & Claire Mays & Robert J. Nicholls & Alexander A. Olsthoorn & Gabriele Pf, 2006. "Adaptation to Five Metres of Sea Level Rise," Journal of Risk Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(5), pages 467-482, July.
- Zeckhauser, Richard, 2008.
"Overreaction to Fearsome Risks,"
Working Paper Series
rwp08-079, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
- Lawrence Summers & Richard Zeckhauser, 2008.
"Policymaking for posterity,"
Journal of Risk and Uncertainty,
Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 115-140, December.
- Summers, Lawrence & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2008. "Policymaking for Posterity," Working Paper Series rwp08-040, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
- Lawrence H. Summers & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 2008. "Policymaking for Posterity," NBER Working Papers 14359, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Colin F. Camerer & Howard Kunreuther, 1989. "Decision processes for low probability events: Policy implications," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(4), pages 565-592.
- Kjell Arne Brekke & Olof Johansson-Stenman, 2008.
"The behavioural economics of climate change,"
Oxford Review of Economic Policy,
Oxford University Press, vol. 24(2), pages 280-297, Summer.
- Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. " Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
- Klaus Keller & Kelvin Tan & Francois M.M. Morel & David F. Bradford, 1999.
"Preserving the Ocean Circulation: Implications for Climate Policy,"
CESifo Working Paper Series
199, CESifo Group Munich.
- Klaus Keller & Kelvin Tan & Francois M.M. Morel & David F. Bradford, 2000. "Preserving the Ocean Circulation: Implications for Climate Policy," NBER Working Papers 7476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Dasgupta, Susmita & Laplante, Benoit & Meisner, Craig & Wheeler, David & Jianping Yan, 2007. "The impact of sea level rise on developing countries : a comparative analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4136, The World Bank.
- Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979.
"Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
7656, David K. Levine.
- Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
- Kousky, Carolyn & Cooke, Roger, 2009. "Climate Change and Risk Management: Challenges for Insurance, Adaptation, and Loss Estimation," Discussion Papers dp-09-03-rev, Resources For the Future.
- Thomas Sterner & U. Martin Persson, 2008. "An Even Sterner Review: Introducing Relative Prices into the Discounting Debate," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 2(1), pages 61-76, Winter.
- Richard Zeckhauser (ed.), 1991. "Strategy and Choice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262240335, June.
- van den Bergh, Jeroen C. J. M., 2004. "Optimal climate policy is a utopia: from quantitative to qualitative cost-benefit analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 385-393, April.
- Scott Barrett, 2008. "The Incredible Economics of Geoengineering," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 39(1), pages 45-54, January.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-09-45. 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: (Webmaster)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.