Valuing the Global Mortality Consequences of Climate Change Accounting for Adaptation Costs and Benefits

Tamma Carleton, Amir Jina, Michael Delgado, Michael Greenstone, Trevor Houser, Solomon Hsiang, Andrew Hultgren, Robert E Kopp, Kelly E Mccusker, Ishan Nath, James Rising, Ashwin Rode, Hee Kwon Seo, Arvid Viaene, Jiacan Yuan, Alice Tianbo Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using 40 countries’ subnational data, we estimate age-specific mortality-temperature relationships and extrapolate them to countries without data today and into a future with climate change. We uncover a U-shaped relationship where extreme cold and hot temperatures increase mortality rates, especially for the elderly. Critically, this relationship is flattened by higher incomes and adaptation to local climate. Using a revealed-preference approach to recover unobserved adaptation costs, we estimate that the mean global increase in mortality risk due to climate change, accounting for adaptation benefits and costs, is valued at roughly 3.2% of global GDP in 2100 under a high-emissions scenario. Notably, today’s cold locations are projected to benefit, while today’s poor and hot locations have large projected damages. Finally, our central estimates indicate that the release of an additional ton of CO2 today will cause mortality-related damages of $36.6 under a high-emissions scenario, with an interquartile range accounting for both econometric and climate uncertainty of [−$7.8, $73.0]. These empirically grounded estimates exceed the previous literature’s estimates by an order of magnitude.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2037-2105
Number of pages69
JournalQuarterly Journal of Economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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