Global Warming and the American Economy

Global Warming and the American Economy

A Regional Assessment of Climate Change Impacts

New Horizons in Environmental Economics series

Edited by Robert Mendelsohn

The impact of climate change on seven regions of the United States is studied in this new and accessible collection. The study examines how the different regions of the United States may be affected by climate change. In particular, the study explores whether warming would be beneficial to the northern (colder) regions but harmful to the economies of the southern (warmer) regions.

Chapter 9: Synthesis

Robert Mendelsohn and Joel B. Smith

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, climate change, environmental economics, environmental sociology


Robert Mendelsohn and Joel B. Smith This book contains empirical results measuring the impact of climate change on the United States economy, focusing on quantified regional impacts in each market sector. The sectors include the most important climate-sensitive aspects of the economy: agriculture, coasts, energy, forestry and water. The methods used to measure climate impacts include both experimentalsimulation studies and cross-sectional empirical approaches. The methods were developed in Mendelsohn and Neumann (1999) but are adapted to regional analysis in this book. The book does not contain analyses of the nonmarket impacts of climate change. Impacts such as health effects, ecosystem changes, aesthetic consequences and pollution effects are important to the quality of life but are excluded here because analyses of these sectors have not yet incorporated efficient adaptation and in many cases the nonmarket impacts have not been carefully quantified. Their exclusion should not be interpreted as a judgment that nonmarket effects are not important. Rather the judgment is that economic analyses of the nonmarket sectors have not yet reached the same level of understanding or quantification compared with the market sectors. This study is consequently limited to market impacts only. HISTORICAL ESTIMATES To give some perspective on the estimated results in this book, we present results from other studies in Table 9.1. Table 9.1 reports estimates of the national impacts from a doubling of CO2, which is roughly what this study was intending to measure. These estimates have been updated from the original published accounts...

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