The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change Page: 32
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The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change
Very few studies extend beyond the top left hand corner of the matrix and none even have a full
coverage of the four boxes that represent market and non-market impacts for the projected and
bounded risks of climate change. There are only limited studies that have considered any socially
contingent effects, or the potential for longer-term effects.
This leads us to the conclusion that the uncertainty in the value concerns the 'true' value of impacts
covered by the models and also the uncertainty from impacts that cannot yet be quantified and valued.
Perhaps more importantly, it shows that the values in the literature are almost certainly a sub-
total of the full cost of climate change.
Recent work37 has reviewed the literature values against all possible impacts of climate change, and
has concluded that the recent literature values are almost certainly a sub-total of the full cost of climate
change. When all possible impacts are considered, the authors conclude that a lower indicative
estimate for the marginal damage costs for the full risk matrix might result in a minimum value of 15
Euro/tCO2, a central illustrative estimate of some 25 Euro/tCO2, and an upper indicative estimate of at least
80 Euro/tCO2 and possibly much higher38 (for current, year 2000 emissions).
However, in practice there is no single value - the value varies according to time-scale, scenarios,
ethical choices, as well as the underlying scientific and economic analysis. To illustrate, the estimates
above reflect the costs from a year 2000 marginal emission pulse. Emissions in later years (towards
2030 and beyond to 2050) will have greater impacts, when expressed as damage cost per tonne CO2.
The full profile of marginal social costs of climate change over time is therefore needed in policy
analysis. This is discussed in a later section.
37 Tom Downing, Cameron Hepburn, and Paul Watkiss in work for the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural
Affairs, on the Social Cost of Carbon. http://socialcostofcarbon.aeat.com/; the project final report will be available in late
38 The authors stress that there is no single value and that the range of uncertainty around any value depends on ethical as well
as economic assumptions. These indicative values are based on a declining discount rate and include equity weighting.
AEA Technology Environment, August 2005
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Watkiss, Paul; Downing, Tom; Handley, Claire & Butterfield, Ruth. The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change, text, September 2005; Oxford, England. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29337/m1/43/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .