The Economy of Climate Change

by Alejandro Sandell-Gandara

In “Economists: Climate Change is Going to Cost a Lot More than Previously Thought”, Chelsea Harvey analyses a survey published by New York University School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity. The survey report shows answers from more than 300 experts on how climate change is impacting the world economy.

The survey asked economists a series of questions including when and how the economy will be influenced by climate change and how Unites States policy can influence international action. The report also compared the results to those from a survey conducted on the American public by MIT.

The answers provided by the experts differ from those from the general public. When asked about one’s views on climate change, 50% of surveyed experts said that climate change requires immediate action. Only 23% of the American public agree. This division is further exemplified by the 25% of the public who claim that climate change is not a serious problem. All but 1% of experts disagree.

The report also focused on specific domestic economic sectors. The participants were asked to identify which sectors of the US economy will be negatively affected by climate change. The majority answered that agriculture, fishing, utilities, forestry, and tourism would be most affected by climate change. Furthermore, 26% of participants stated that the country will begin to see these negative effects by 2050, 22% say this will happen by 2025, and 41% of experts say that climate change is already negatively affecting the economy. The survey also shows that economists acknowledge the global influence of domestic policy. When asked if the US could induce other countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by adopting domestic policies, 82% of experts agreed and only 7% disagreed.

According to economist Gernot Wagner, the consensus throughout the report proved to be the most significant. The agreement among experts implicate that climate change is an imminent threat to the world and immediate action is required. However, when comparing this consensus to the answers of the American public, Wagner states that is it more disturbing when those who know most about climate change are the most concerned.

In reference to the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Chelsea Harvey emphasizes that despite experts’ slightly inconsistent predictions on when or how climate change will impact society, it is clear that policy makers understand the danger of climate change and that active steps toward the reduction of carbon emissions is necessary.

Harvey, Chelsea. “Economists: Climate Change Is Going to Cost a Lot More than Previously Thought.” The Washington Post 7 Dec. 2015. Web. 6 Feb. 2016..

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