Friday, September 6, 2013

Climate change- how much damage?

A couple of shots were fired over the past few weeks in the ongoing battle over how bad climate change can be expected to be. A nice little summary of recent perspectives is in the WSJ, where the focus is on the Obama administration's decision to price a little more damage into cost estimates. While some criticize the decision, the article points to other similar price estimates used by different firms.

A more academic study coming out of my grad school has just been posted as well. New professor Solomon Hsiang has come up with a bunch of studies on the topic: one, published in Science magazine, argues that increased variation in rainfall leads to social violence. Another, not yet published, contends that economic and human costs could be ten times higher than previous estimates. Yet another, posted on the Readings link of the course Blackboard page, links increases in the number of hurricanes to an additional $10 trillion in damage. Ouch!

Bottom line: it's real, and it's potential extremely expensive. Shouldn't we do what we can now? I have to think it's cheaper to take action now than to face a $10 trillion bill later....

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