Paper: The Distribution of Environmental Damages by GlobalPolicyLab Member

Solomon Hsiang has a new paper joint 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.

HSIANG_OLIVA_WALKER_pollution

Op-Ed in the New York Times: Economic consequences of Hurricane Maria by GlobalPolicyLab Member

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

hurricane Maria economic damage Hsiang

Publication: Crop-damaging temperatures increase suicide rates in India by GlobalPolicyLab Member

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.

Publication: Climate Damage in the United States by Solomon Hsiang

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.

See the paper and an interactive visualization of results.

Hsiang Science USA

Update: The team at the Associated Press did a really nice interactive visualization of the results:

Carleton named 30 under 30 by Pacific Standard by Solomon Hsiang

We're super proud that Tamma Carleton, one of our doctoral fellows, was named one of the top 30 Thinkers Under 30 in Policy and Social Justice by the Pacific Standard! You can read Carleton's profile here

As the human environmental footprint takes on a global scale, I feel that each day I have two choices. One is to shrink back from this problem and decide that as an individual I cannot influence its evolution. The other is to do everything I can to try to inform solutions. Most days, I choose the latter.
— Tamma Carleton, 29

Climate Impact Lab Interactive Maps Launch + NYT Feature by Solomon Hsiang

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.

Obama cites GPL climate economics research by Solomon Hsiang

In his recent Science article The Irreversible Momentum of Clean Energy,  President Obama jumped into the "growth vs. levels" debate among empirical economists studying the effects of climate change, writing 

[E]vidence is mounting that any economic strategy that ignores carbon pollution will impose tremendous costs to the global economy and will result in fewer jobs and less economic growth over the long term. Estimates of the economic damages from warming of 4°C over preindustrial levels range from 1% to 5% of global GDP each year by 2100 ... In addition, these estimates factor in economic damages but do not address the critical question of whether the underlying rate of economic growth (rather than just the level of GDP) is affected by climate change, so these studies could substantially understate the potential damage of climate change on the global macroeconomy (8, 9).

and citing the recent GPL paper on the global effects of temperature on growth

Talk about a president who gets into the nuts and bolts...

Coolest author affiliation... ever

Paper: Understanding farmer crop choice in response to climate change by Solomon Hsiang

James Rising has a new working paper Weather-driven adaptation in perennial crop systems:An integrated study of Brazilian coffee yields, demonstrating how farmers in Brazil cope with changing environmental conditions by altering the portfolio of coffee crops they maintain. The analysis develops a novel structural Bayesian modeling approach that embeds reduced form modeling estimates, allowing James to solve (for the first time) the well-known "problem with perennials", i.e. the fact that analysts and policy-makes cannot generally observe the number of long-live plants (perennials) that farmers maintain on a farm. The analysis is important because it demonstrates how farmers cope with a changing climate by changing their investment decisions, sometimes amplifying the economic impact of changes in climate. 

James Rising Coffee

Paper: Non-linear network behavior of protesters during escalating social movements by Solomon Hsiang

Felipe Gonzalez has a new working paper Collective Action in Networks: Evidence from the Chilean Student Movement, demonstrating how millions of students across schools in Chile influence one another to participate in a growing social movement.  Felipe demonstrates how the number of individuals in each student's social network, in addition to each student's physical neighborhood, increases the likelihood that specific students will participate in the 2011 student movement. He finds strong evidence of a "tipping point" where if 40% of a student's class is participating, then the entire class "tips" and begins attending the protest.  This is important because it is the first empirical evidence testing classical models of social network dynamics in revolutionary environments.

Locations of over 50,000 student protesters in Santiago, Chile during the 2011 student movement

Locations of over 50,000 student protesters in Santiago, Chile during the 2011 student movement