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The Economics of Climate Change: Essential Knowledge

By Jerry Taylor -- November 4, 2009

The slow moving Senate debate over climate change offers an opportunity to revisit the fundamentals of climate change. While the physical science about natural and anthropogenic forcings is the place to start, the economics of climate change is highly relevant for the policy debate. In this regard,  a perfectly timed literature review in the Spring 2009 The Journal of Economic Perspectives is worth studying.

There have been 13 – count them, 13 – studies published in the peer reviewed literature that have wrestled with the economic implications of a doubling of atmospheric greenhouse gases (GhGs) on a CO2-equivalent basis.  Those 13 studies have yielded 14 estimates of what will subsequently happen to global GDP.  For those who are curious, 10 of those studies assume a subsequent warming of 2.5 C; two assume that a 1 C warming would follow; and two assume a 3 C warming would follow. …