Valuing the Global Mortality Consequences of Climate Change Accounting for Adaptation Costs and Benefits

145 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2020

See all articles by Tamma Carleton

Tamma Carleton

University of Chicago

Michael Delgado

Rhodium Group

Michael Greenstone

University of Chicago - Department of Economics; Becker Friedman Institute for Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Trevor Houser

Rhodium Group

Solomon Hsiang

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Andrew Hultgren

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics

Amir Jina

Harris Public Policy, University of Chicago ; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Robert E. Kopp

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick/Piscataway

Kelly McCusker

Rhodium Group

Ishan Nath

University of Chicago - Department of Economics

James Rising

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment

Ashwin Rode

University of Chicago - Department of Economics

Hee Kwon Seo

University of Chicago, Booth School of Business

Arvid Viaene

Analysis Group, Inc.; University of Chicago - Department of Economics

Jiacan Yuan

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Alice Tianbo Zhang

Washington and Lee University - Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 1, 2020

Abstract

This paper develops the first globally comprehensive and empirically grounded estimates of mortality risk due to future temperature increases caused by climate change. Using 40 countries' subnational data, we estimate age-specific mortality-temperature relationships that enable both extrapolation to countries without data and projection into future years while accounting for adaptation. We uncover a U-shaped relationship where extreme cold and hot temperatures increase mortality rates, especially for the elderly, that is flattened by both higher incomes and adaptation to local climate (e.g., robust heating systems in cold climates and cooling systems in hot climates). Further, we develop a revealed preference approach to recover unobserved adaptation costs. We combine these components with 33 high-resolution climate simulations that together capture scientific uncertainty about the degree of future temperature change. Under a high emissions scenario, we estimate the mean increase in mortality risk is valued at roughly 3.2% of global GDP in 2100, with today's cold locations benefiting and damages being especially large in today's poor and/or hot locations. Finally, we estimate that the release of an additional ton of CO2 today will cause mean [interquartile range] damages of $36.6 [-$7.8, $73.0] under a high emissions scenario and $17.1 [-$24.7, $53.6] under a moderate scenario, using a 2% discount rate that is justified by US Treasury rates over the last two decades. Globally, these empirically grounded estimates substantially exceed the previous literature's estimates that lacked similar empirical grounding, suggesting that revision of the estimated economic damage from climate change is warranted.

JEL Classification: Q5, Q51

Suggested Citation

Carleton, Tamma and Delgado, Michael and Greenstone, Michael and Houser, Trevor and Hsiang, Solomon and Hultgren, Andrew and Jina, Amir and Kopp, Robert E. and McCusker, Kelly and Nath, Ishan and Rising, James and Rode, Ashwin and Seo, Hee Kwon and Viaene, Arvid and Yuan, Jiacan and Zhang, Alice Tianbo, Valuing the Global Mortality Consequences of Climate Change Accounting for Adaptation Costs and Benefits (August 1, 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP15139, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3674927

Tamma Carleton (Contact Author)

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
7737026763 (Phone)

Michael Delgado

Rhodium Group ( email )

5 Columbus Circle
New York City, NY
United States

Michael Greenstone

University of Chicago - Department of Economics

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Becker Friedman Institute for Economics ( email )

Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Trevor Houser

Rhodium Group ( email )

5 Columbus Circle
New York City, NY
United States

Solomon Hsiang

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Andrew Hultgren

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Amir Jina

Harris Public Policy, University of Chicago ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Robert E. Kopp

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick/Piscataway ( email )

HOME PAGE: http://www.bobkopp.net/

Kelly McCusker

Rhodium Group ( email )

5 Columbus Circle
New York City, NY
United States

Ishan Nath

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

James Rising

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
Great Britain

HOME PAGE: http://existencia.org/pro

Ashwin Rode

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Hee Kwon Seo

University of Chicago, Booth School of Business ( email )

Chicago, IL
United States

Arvid Viaene

Analysis Group, Inc. ( email )

111 Huntington Avenue
Tenth Floor
Boston, MA 02199
United States

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Jiacan Yuan

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences ( email )

Wright-Rieman Laboratories
Busch Campus, 610 Taylor Rd.
Piscataway, NJ 08854-8066
United States

Alice Tianbo Zhang

Washington and Lee University - Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics ( email )

Lexington, VA 24450
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.alicetianbozhang.com/

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