Basic Compensation for the Victims of Climate Change
40 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2007
Date Written: December 1, 2006
Even if the world implements an optimal program for reducing greenhouse emissions, significant effects of climate change will still occur. Examples include changes in sea level, precipitation patterns, geological features such as permafrost, and harm to sensitive ecosystems such as coral reefs. This paper considers how the costs of those effects might be redistributed from victims to large emitters. It provides a sketch of a possible compensation system, which could be implemented either internationally or within the U.S., and either through litigation or an administrative scheme. In order to avoid difficult valuation issues, problems of proving causation, and long time lags, damages would be based on the cost of climate change adaptation, such as the expenses of preventing damage to or restoring infrastructure and ecosystem services. While undercompensating victims, the scheme could provide a practical method of reallocating the costs created by climate change.
Keywords: climate change, compensation, ecosystem services, adapatation
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