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Working Paper: Ecosystem Damages in Integrated Assessment Models of Climate Change

Paper Number: 2013-02

Document Date: 03/2013

Author(s): Wesley R. Brooks and Stephen C. Newbold

Subject Area(s): Biodiversity; Climate Change; Valuation

JEL Classification: Environmental Economics: Valuation of Environmental Effects; Climate; Natural Disasters and Their Management; Global Warming; Ecological Economics: Ecosystem Services; Biodiversity Conservation; Bioeconomics; Industrial Ecology

Keywords: climate change; ecosystem; biodiversity; integrated assessment model; structural benefit transfer

Abstract: The impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems are among the key reasons for concern about climate change. Integrated assessment models are the main tools used to estimate the global economic benefits of policies that would address climate change, but these models typically include only a partial accounting and idiosyncratic treatment of ecosystem impacts. This report reviews several recent studies of the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. We also review recent quantitative estimates of the rate of species extinctions, the impact of climate change on biodiversity, and the value of biodiversity loss. Based on these estimates, we re-calibrate the biodiversity loss function in the FUND integrated assessment model, and we develop a new global biodiversity nonuse value function. These could serve as replacements for the functions currently used in FUND, or as a preliminary ecosystem damage function in a new integrated assessment model. We also highlight areas where further research is needed for developing more comprehensive and reliable forecasts of ecosystem damages as a result of climate change.

Published: Brooks, Wesley R., and Stephen C. Newbold. 2014.  "An updated biodiversity nonuse value function for use in climate change integrated assessment models," Ecological Economics 105:342–349.

This paper is part of the Environmental Economics Working Paper Series.

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