The economic geography of the impacts of climate change

Gary Yohe, Michael Schlesinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Our ability to understand the geographical dispersion of the impacts of climate change has not yet progressed to the point of being able to quantify costs and benefits distributed across globe along one or more climate scenarios in any meaningful way. We respond to this chaotic state of affairs by offering a brief introduction to the potential impacts of a changing climate along five geographically dispersed portraits of how the future climate might evolve and by presenting a modern approach to contemplating vulnerability to climate impacts that has been designed explicitly to reflect geographic diversity and uncertainty. Three case studies are offered to provide direct evidence of the potential value of adaptation in reducing the cost of climate impacts, the versatility of thinking about the determinants of adaptive capacity for specific regions or sectors, and the feasibility of exploring both across a wide range of 'not-implausible' climate and socio-economic scenarios. Three overarching themes emerge: adaptation matters, geographic diversity is critical, and enormous uncertainty must be recognized and accommodated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-341
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Economic Geography
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Adaptive capacity
  • Climate change
  • Scenarios
  • Value of information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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