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Objective versus subjective assessments: The IPCC treatment of the total economic impact of climate change


  • Richard Tol

    () (Department of Economics, University of Sussex, Falmer, United Kingdom
    Institute for Environmental Studies and Department of Spatial Economic, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Tinbergen Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    CESifo, Munich, Germany)


I apply restricted Nadaraya-Watson kernel regression to derive the total economic impact as a function of climate change. I restrict the sample to information known at the time of Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. There has been no statistically significant change in the estimates over time. Nonetheless, subsequent assessment reports convey different messages in their Technical Summaries, with even greater deviations in the Summaries for Policy Makers. The IPCC should rely more strongly on objective methods.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Tol, 2014. "Objective versus subjective assessments: The IPCC treatment of the total economic impact of climate change," Working Paper Series 6914, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
  • Handle: RePEc:sus:susewp:6914

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard Tol, 2015. "Bootstraps for Meta-Analysis with an Application to the Impact of Climate Change," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 46(2), pages 287-303, August.
    2. Roberto Roson & Dominique Van der Mensbrugghe, 2012. "Climate change and economic growth: impacts and interactions," International Journal of Sustainable Economy, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 4(3), pages 270-285.
    3. Richard Tol, 2002. "Estimates of the Damage Costs of Climate Change. Part 1: Benchmark Estimates," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 21(1), pages 47-73, January.
    4. M. Ruth & K. Donaghy & P. Kirshen, 2006. "Introduction," Chapters,in: Regional Climate Change and Variability, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    More about this item


    IPCC; economic impact of climate change; kernel regression;

    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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