Heterogeneous Beliefs and Climate Catastrophes

Kiseleva, Tatiana
November 2016
Environmental & Resource Economics;Nov2016, Vol. 65 Issue 3, p599
Academic Journal
We study how heterogeneous beliefs about the causes and extent of global warming affect local mitigation and adaptation strategies and therefore global climate dynamics. Local policies are determined by expectations of policy makers about future climate. There are three types of expectations: strong skeptic, weak skeptic and 'science-based'. Strong skeptics deny human-induced climate change and a possibility of a climate catastrophe. Weak skeptics believe that industrial emissions cause global warming, but deny catastrophic climate change. Science-based policy makers, considering the warning of the scientific community, account for both: human influence on climate and possible catastrophic shifts. Aggregate behavior of policy makers determines the total emission level which influences global climate dynamics. The paper argues that even if there are only skeptical policy makers the climate catastrophe can still be avoided.


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