DP15139 Valuing the Global Mortality Consequences of Climate Change Accounting for Adaptation Costs and Benefits

Author(s): Tamma Carleton, Michael Delgado, Michael Greenstone, Trevor Houser, Solomon M. Hsiang, Andrew Hultgren, Amir Jina, Robert Kopp, Kelly McCusker, Ishan Nath, James Rising, Ashwin Rode, Hee Kwon (Samuel) Seo, Arvid Viaene, Jiacan Yuan, Alice Zhang
Publication Date: August 2020
Date Revised: August 2021
JEL(s): H23, H41, I14, Q51, Q54
Programme Areas: Development Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=15139

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.