Category Archives: Economics and Climate Change

Better Growth, Better Climate

A new report from the  Global Commission on the Economy and Climate has found that redirecting infrastructure investment toward low greenhouse gas emission options would not be too costly to implement.

In an article in The New York Times, Felipe Calderón, the chairman of the commission, former president of Mexico, and an economist, said, “We are proposing a way to have the same or even more economic growth, and at the same time have environmental responsibility. We need to fix this problem of climate change, because it’s affecting all of us.”

The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate was appointed by seven countries: Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Norway, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The commission enlisted some of the world’s top economists and business consultants to take a fresh look at the economic questions surrounding climate change.

Could this be the reason behind climate change denial?

A study in the journal Climatic Change by Jeremiah Bohr of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign finds that the likelihood of “dismissing the dangers associated with climate change” increase as income levels also increase among Republicans. Among Democrats and independents, there is little or no change in views of climate change at different levels of income. 

The author writes that “at the bottom quintile of income, Republicans are not significantly different from either Independents or Democrats” in terms of their views of the dangers of climate change. “Among individuals with conservative political orientations, there is a correlation between occupying advantageous positions within industrial economic systems and an unwillingness to acknowledge the risks associated with climate change,” Bohr states.

You can read more on Grist here.

Probability of dismissing climate change risks in relation to political party affiliation and level of income.
Probability of dismissing climate change risks in relation to political party affiliation and level of income. J. Bohr, Climatic Change, July 2014


The Economic Costs of Climate Change

A new study suggests that the standard model used to measure the economic risk of climate change is underestimating the true costs. The dynamic integrated climate-economy (DICE) model was developed in the 1990s and has been used widely to estimate impacts to the global economy.

In a press release from the London School of Economics, the lead author, Dr Simon Dietz said: “While this standard economic model has been useful for economists who estimate the potential impacts of climate change, our paper shows that some major improvements are needed before it can reflect the extent of the risks indicated by the science. Our aim was to show how a new version of the model could produce a range of results that are much more representative of the science and economics of climate change, taking into account the uncertainties. The new version of this standard economic model, for instance, suggests that the risks from climate change are bigger than portrayed by previous economic models and therefore strengthens the case for strong cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases.”

Restoration Boosts Local Economy

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has just released an economic analysis of restoration through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) Program and Coastal Program: Restoration Returns: The Contribution of Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and Coastal Program Project to Local U.S. Economies. An executive summary of the Coastal Program piece (with eye-catching graphics) can be found here: Coastal Restoration Returns.

The study finds that for every $1 invested in local projects by the USFWS Coastal Program, $6.86 is leveraged from local and private partners and $12.78 is gained in economic returns. In FY 2011, the Coastal Program invested $2.8 million in projects and $16 million was leveraged from partners. This resulted in $35.6 million in local economic stimulus and 473 jobs created in one year.

In the PFW program, every $1 contributed to a project generated $15.70 in economic return. In FY2011, $18.6 million in funding was leveraged with $142 million, for a total of $161 million. The overall PFW program economic stimulus in FY2011 amounted to $292 million and 3,500 new jobs.