We celebrated our fourth year of research and office basketball with some Chinese food!
Alongside a large interdisciplinary team, Sol coauthored a letter today in Science today explaining that recommendations to limit trade in legal ivory are based on evidence-based research. This was a response to an earlier article by Biggs et al. arguing that recommendations to limit trade were based on arbitrary values. We also point out that transparency in international negotiations are an important element of the process, in contrast to the recommendation by Biggs et al. to speed up international decision-making by negotiating international trade in ivory behind closed doors.
Read the letter here.
Read research by the lab on the global black market for ivory and international trade policy experiments here.
Our research article on the economic impacts of climate change in the United States was listed by Altimetric as one of the Top 100 Articles of 2017 (#55).
This is the third time a GPL research paper has made it into the top 100!
Solomon Hsiang spoke about methods used value the climate at the Sackler Colloquia on Economics, Environment, and Sustainable Development, organized by Simon Levin, Stephen Carpenter, Gretchen Daily, Sir Partha Dasgupta, Paul Ehrlich, Geoffrey Heal, Catherine Kling, Jane Lubchenco, and Stephen Polasky.
Joshua Graff Zivin, Matthew Neidell and Sol Hsiang published a new article "Temperature and human capital in the short and long run". Analyzing over 24,000 student exams and following individual students over time, they demonstrate that cognitive performance in mathematics declines at high temperatures, but not in reading or verbal exams.
Read the article here.
Tatyana Deryugina and Solomon Hsiang have a new NBER working paper out titled "The Marginal Product of Climate". The analysis develops a formal theory for how overall economic productivity due to the climate should be valued, accounting for the fact that populations adapt to changes in their climate. They apply their approach to data on the United States and estimate that "business as usual" warming is worth roughly $6.7 trillion in foregone production within the US market economy.
Read the paper here.
Solomon Hsiang gave a keynote at the World Congress of Science Journalists on the science of understanding the social effects of climate change and the role it may play on exacerbating future inequality. The keynote is followed by a 25 min Q+A with the audience of journalists.
Solomon Hsiang has a new joint paper with Paulina Oliva, and Reed Walker reviewing and exploring what is known about the distributional consequences of environmental damages and the benefits of environmental policy. They provide a general framework for empiricists and explore what is known in the context of pollution, deforestation, and climate. The NBER working paper is available online here. The article is forthcoming in the Review of Environmental Economics and Policy.
Solomon Hsiang and Trevor Houser published an Op-Ed in the New York Times explaining the extraordinary potential economic consequences of Hurricane Maria. By their calculation, Maria could lower Puerto Rican incomes by 21% over the next 15 years, undoing roughly 26 years of economic development. This could make Maria the most costly Atlantic storm (in percentage terms) in history.
Their calculations and more context are provided in the Climate Impact Lab Insights Blog.
Tamma Carleton has a new paper out in PNAS linking the climate to suicide rates in India.
The analysis is the first to provide large-scale empirical evidence that the climate influences suicide rates in a developing country. The study shows that temperature during India's main agricultural growing season has a substantial influence over annual suicide rates, such that heating up the country by just 1 degree C on one day causes approximately 65 annual suicides. This effect appears to materialize through an agricultural channel in which high temperatures cause crop losses and economic distress, leading some to commit suicide in response. Carleton estimates that warming trends experienced in India since 1980 are responsible for a total of over 59,000 suicides.
See the paper here.
James Rising, Solomon Hsiang, and former lab member Amir Jina, along with other teammates from the Climate Impact Lab, have a new paper out in Science calculating economic damages from climate change in the United States.
The analysis is the first to construct a "damage function" using micro-level econometric results for a large number of sectors, linked to the full suite of climate models used in CMIP5. Because the analysis has high spatial resolution, it is able to resolve how impacts of unmitigated climate damages across the country will vary, demonstrating that it will substantially increase economic inequality.
Update: The team at the Associated Press did a really nice interactive visualization of the results:
Two big things happened today. First, our team at the Climate Impact Lab launched an interactive data visualization page where many of our results will be featured as we produce them. You can zoom to the future and see probabilistic outcomes at unprecedented resolution (>24,000 individual regions!).
Second, the New York Times featured the the Impact Lab's work and built their own visualization to illustrate the changing frequency of extremely hot days expected in the future.