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Seminar Abstract

Eban Goodstein, Associate Professor, Economics, Lewis and Clark College - May 27, 2003


The Costs of Climate Change: A Regional Analysis

As a first attempt to estimate the costs of climate change in the Pacific Northwest, this project will develop a very simple model valuing mid-range loss estimates for snowpack, based on current shadow price estimates for Columbia River summer water. This value estimate will be adjusted to reflect higher populations and incomes across the next century. The project will then evaluate the robustness of this estimate by developing more concrete scenarios for water use relating to endangered species, agriculture, hydropower, and urban consumption; sea level rise; and forestry. The impact of uncertainty on the costs of infrastructure investment and adaptation in these arenas will also be evaluated. By beginning to cost out the impacts of business-as-usual climate change, this study will be of benefit for regional policy makers as they consider both mitigation and adaptation strategies. More generally, a few very broad-brush studies suggest that global warming will not cost developed countries more than 2% of GDP. By looking closely at one region, this assertion can be more rigorously evaluated.

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