Valuing the Global Mortality Consequences of Climate Change Accounting for Adaptation Costs and Benefits
56 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2020 Last revised: 29 Nov 2021
Date Written: July 2020
Using 40 countries’ subnational data, we estimate age-specific mortality-temperature relationships and extrapolate them to countries without data today and into a future with climate change. We uncover a U-shaped relationship where extreme cold and hot temperatures increase mortality rates, especially for the elderly. Critically, this relationship is flattened by both higher incomes and adaptation to local climate. Using a revealed preference approach to recover unobserved adaptation costs, we estimate that the mean global increase in mortality risk due to climate change, accounting for adaptation benefits and costs, is valued at roughly 3.2% of global GDP in 2100 under a high emissions scenario. Notably, today’s cold locations are projected to benefit, while today’s poor and hot locations have large projected damages. Finally, our central estimates indicate that the release of an additional ton of CO2 today will cause mortality-related damages of $36.6 under a high emissions scenario and using a 2% discount rate, with an interquartile range accounting for both econometric and climate uncertainty of [-$7.8, $73.0]. Under a moderate emissions scenario, these damages are valued at $17.1 [-$24.7, $53.6]. These empirically grounded estimates exceed the previous literature’s estimates by an order of magnitude.
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