How Much Would it Cost to Avoid Climate Change?

This paper summarises various estimates of the costs of mitigation of the adverse impact of climate change. It finds that the differences in the estimated impacts on gross domestic product, consumption, employment, and gasoline, electricity and natural gas prices are driven mainly by the following factors: the time frame of new technology development, the growth potential of existing clean sources of energy, the availability of offsets (domestic, international), and the banking of allowances. However, its main finding is that, even for more optimistic estimates, the mitigation costs are likely to amount to as much as a 1% drop in consumption, starting today and going into the future, which, as is argued in this paper, constitutes an enormous impact on social welfare. Thus, it is important to carefully assess the costs of global warming to see whether they justify such drastic measures.

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