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International Trade and the Adaptation to Climate Change and Variability

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  • Oliver Schenker
  • Gunter Stephan

Abstract

This paper has three messages mainly, which are observed in a simple model of climate change, international trade and regional adaptation. First, trade can be viewed as a kind of adaptation to climate change and variability, as trade can help to reduce direct impacts of global climate change on a region’s welfare. In particular, the less affected and the richer nations are, the more they can profit from moderating the impacts of global climate change through trade. Second, if regions are rich enough to adapt optimally to climate change, the resulting allocation of adaptation measures is Pareto-efficient. In this case funding of adap-tation, which is an element of international climate policy, does not make sense from an economic perspective. Finally and third, since the regions of the South typically lack the re-sources for adapting optimally to climate change, because of terms of trade effects, it might be in the self-interest of the industrialized nations to fund adaptation in the developing part of the world. However, providing financial assistance for adaptation can be Pareto-improving only, if the benefits of funding, i.e., damages, which are moderated through adaptation, are big enough, and hence, if the recipient’s own expenditure for adaptation is low. If not, the paradoxical effect of recipient immiserization through tied transfers can occur.

Suggested Citation

  • Oliver Schenker & Gunter Stephan, 2012. "International Trade and the Adaptation to Climate Change and Variability," Diskussionsschriften dp1201, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  • Handle: RePEc:ube:dpvwib:dp1201
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bhagwati, Jagdish N & Brecher, Richard A & Hatta, Tatsuo, 1983. "The Generalized Theory of Transfers and Welfare: Bilateral Transfers in a Multilateral World," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 606-618, September.
    2. Copeland, Brian R. & Taylor, M. Scott, 2005. "Free trade and global warming: a trade theory view of the Kyoto protocol," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 205-234, March.
    3. Udo Ebert & Heinz Welsch, 2012. "Adaptation and Mitigation in Global Pollution Problems: Economic Impacts of Productivity, Sensitivity, and Adaptive Capacity," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 52(1), pages 49-64, May.
    4. Linden, Henry R., 2007. "Alarmist Misrepresentations of the Findings of the Latest Scientific Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 20(7), pages 38-46.
    5. Roxana Julia & Faye Duchin, 2005. "World Trade as the Adjustment Mechanism of Agriculture to Climate Change," Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics 0507, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics.
    6. Mendelsohn, Robert & Dinar, Ariel & Williams, Larry, 2006. "The distributional impact of climate change on rich and poor countries," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(02), pages 159-178, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:wsi:ccexxx:v:04:y:2013:i:02:n:s201000781350005x is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:spr:climat:v:145:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10584-017-2083-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Oberlack, Christoph & Eisenack, Klaus, 2012. "Overcoming barriers to urban adaptation through international cooperation? Modes and design properties under the UNFCCC," The Constitutional Economics Network Working Papers 03-2012, University of Freiburg, Department of Economic Policy and Constitutional Economic Theory.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F18 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Environment
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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