Many of the big economic questions in coming decades will come down to just how extreme the weather will be, and how to value the future versus the present. By now, it’s clear that climate change poses environmental risks beyond anything seen in the modern age. But we’re only starting to come to grips with the potential economic effects.
Using increasingly sophisticated modeling, researchers are calculating how each tenth of a degree of global warming is likely to play out in economic terms. Their projections carry large bands of uncertainty, because of the vagaries of human behavior and the remaining questions about how quickly the planet will respond to the buildup of greenhouse gases.