A climate change mystery: cost

Climate change costs are difficult to calculate

Why can’t the cost of mitigating climate change be boiled down to one right number, despite some economists’ best attempts? Human behaviors often shift in response to factors such as changes in public policy and the arrival of new technologies. These changes are hard to predict, and they affect tomorrow’s costs.

Back in November 2019, before the pandemic began, would you have guessed how important videoconferencing like Zoom would be in people’s lives just a few months later? That’s the kind of challenge economists face when they try to put a single number on the long-term cost of mitigating climate change or the cost of allowing global temperature to keep rising. Human behaviors shift as public policies change and new technology arrives and evolves. Read more