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Why Worry About Climate Change? A Research Agenda

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  • Richard S.J. Tol

    (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin)

Abstract

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 FNU-116, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Sep 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:sgc:wpaper:116
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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. Martinsohn, Maria & Hansen, Heiko, 2012. "The Impact of Climate Change on the Economics of Dairy Farming – a Review and Evaluation," German Journal of Agricultural Economics, Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin, Department for Agricultural Economics, vol. 61(02), pages 1-16, 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. Richard S. J. Tol & Seán Lyons, 2008. "Incorporating GHG Emission Costs in the Economic Appraisal of Projects Supported by State Development Agencies," Papers WP247, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    6. 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.
    7. Martinsohn, Maria & Hansen, Heiko, 2012. "The Impact of Climate Change on the Economics of Dairy Farming – a Review and Evaluation," Journal of International Agricultural Trade and Development, Journal of International Agricultural Trade and Development, vol. 61(2).
    8. Christine Schleupner & P. Michael Link, 2007. "Potential impacts on important bird habitats in Eiderstedt (Schleswig-Holstein) caused by agricultural land use changes," Working Papers FNU-138, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Jun 2007.
    9. Pushpam Kumar & Uwe A. Schneider, 2008. "Greenhouse gas emission mitigation through agriculture," Working Papers FNU-155, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Feb 2008.
    10. Bosetti, Valentina & Carraro, Carlo & De Cian, Enrica & Duval, Romain & Massetti, Emanuele & Tavoni, Massimo, 2009. "The Incentives to Participate in, and the Stability of, International Climate Coalitions: A Game-theoretic Analysis Using the Witch Model," Sustainable Development Papers 54281, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    11. P. Michael Link & Christine Schleupner, 2007. "Agricultural land use changes in Eiderstedt," Working Papers FNU-137, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Jun 2007.
    12. Gersbach Hans, 2012. "Contractual Democracy," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(3), pages 823-851, December.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.

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    Keywords

    Climate change; impacts; valuation; cost-benefit analysis;
    All these keywords.

    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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