Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Cost of Climate Change in 19th Century Europe.

Mayo, Robert (2014): The Cost of Climate Change in 19th Century Europe.

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What should we do about climate change? This commonly asked question is predicated on answers to other questions, such as: Is climate change happening? If so, is that a bad thing? If so again, how bad of a thing is it? Sadly, the public and scientific discussion on this topic has produced far more heat than light. This paper is an attempt to shift that balance slightly towards light by providing an analysis of the economic cost of climate change across 19th century Europe. The term "climate change" has partially displaced the term "global warming" in public and scientific discourse. The two terms are used interchangeably, but in a literal sense have very different meanings. Global warming means, obviously, that the temperature of the globe is rising. Climate change, however, does not specify a direction of change, although increase is generally implied. I attempt here to quantify the economic cost of environmental temperature change separate from direction of that change.

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