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How Much Damage Will Climate Change Do? Recent Estimates

  • Richard S.J. Tol

    ()

    (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin)

  • Samuel Fankhauser
  • Richard G. Richels
  • Joel B. Smith

Two reasons to be concerned about climate change are its unjust distributional impact and its negative aggregate effect on economic growth and welfare. Although our knowledge of the impact of climate change is incomplete and uncertain, economic valuation is difficult and controversial, and the effect of other developments on the impacts of climate change is largely speculative, we find that poorer countries and people are more vulnerable than are richer countries and people. A modest global warming is likely to have a net negative effect on poor countries in hot climates, but may have a net positive effect on rich countries in temperate climates. If one counts dollars, the world aggregate may be positive. If one counts people, the world aggregate is probably negative. Negative impacts would become more negative, and positive impacts would turn negative for more substantial warming. The marginal costs of carbon dioxide emissions are uncertain and sensitive to assumptions that partially reflect ethical positions, but unlikely to be larger that $50/tC.

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File URL: http://www.fnu.zmaw.de/fileadmin/fnu-files/publication/working-papers/worldecon1.pdf
File Function: First version, 2000
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Paper provided by Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University in its series Working Papers with number FNU-2.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2000
Date of revision: Sep 2000
Publication status: Published, World Economics, 1 (4), 179-206
Handle: RePEc:sgc:wpaper:2
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Web page: http://www.fnu.zmaw.de/

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  1. Stephen C Peck & Thomas J. Teisberg, 1992. "CETA: A Model for Carbon Emissions Trajectory Assessment," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 55-78.
  2. Neil Adger, W., 1999. "Social Vulnerability to Climate Change and Extremes in Coastal Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 249-269, February.
  3. Nordhaus, William D, 1991. "To Slow or Not to Slow: The Economics of the Greenhouse Effect," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 920-37, July.
  4. Fankhauser, Samuel & Tol, Richard S.J. & Pearce, David W., 1998. "Extensions and alternatives to climate change impact valuation: on the critique of IPCC Working Group III's impact estimates," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(01), pages 59-81, February.
  5. Robert Mendelsohn & William D. Nordhaus & Shaw, Daigee, 1992. "The Impact of Climate on Agriculture: A Ricardian Approach," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1010, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Richard Tol, 1999. "Spatial and Temporal Efficiency in Climate Policy: Applications of FUND," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 14(1), pages 33-49, July.
  7. Samuel Fankhauser & Richard Tol & DAVID Pearce, 1997. "The Aggregation of Climate Change Damages: a Welfare Theoretic Approach," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 10(3), pages 249-266, October.
  8. Darwin, Roy & Tsigas, Marinos E. & Lewandrowski, Jan & Raneses, Anton, 1995. "World Agriculture and Climate Change: Economic Adaptations," Agricultural Economics Reports 33933, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  9. Gjerde, Jon & Grepperud, Sverre & Kverndokk, Snorre, 1999. "Optimal climate policy under the possibility of a catastrophe," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3-4), pages 289-317, August.
  10. Christian Azar, 1999. "Weight Factors in Cost-Benefit Analysis of Climate Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 13(3), pages 249-268, April.
  11. Azar, Christian & Sterner, Thomas, 1996. "Discounting and distributional considerations in the context of global warming," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 169-184, November.
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