Climate Change and Animals

46 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2007


Climate change is already having adverse effects on animal life, and those effects are likely to prove devastating in the future. Nonetheless, the relevant harms to animals have yet to become a serious part of the analysis of climate change policy. Even if animals and species are valued solely by reference to human preferences, inclusion of their welfare dramatically increases the argument for aggressive responses to climate change. We estimate that, even under conservative assumptions about valuation, losses to nonhuman life might run into the hundreds of billions of dollars annually. Whatever the precise figure, the general conclusion is clear: An appreciation of the likely loss of animal life leads to a massive increase in the assessment of the overall damage and cost of climate change.

Suggested Citation

Hsiung, Wayne H. and Sunstein, Cass R., Climate Change and Animals. University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Forthcoming, University of Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 324, University of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 145, Available at SSRN:

Wayne H. Hsiung

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Cass R. Sunstein (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts Ave
Areeda Hall 225
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2291 (Phone)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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