Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Hyatt Regency Chicago, Acapulco
- Chair: Antonio Bento, University of Southern California
Quantifying The Short and Long Run Impacts Of Climate Change On Residential Energy Consumption Using Big Data
AbstractThe widespread rollout of air conditioning has resulted in massive positive impacts on human health in both developing and developed countries over the past century. A warming world will further increase demand for cooling in climates both through increased operation of existing air conditioners and the adoption of new ones. This paper provides an empirical approach to separately quantifying the intensive and extensive margin response without having to make explicit assumptions about the current day or future penetration of air conditioners. Exploiting a panel dataset containing close to two billion electricity and natural gas bills for California, we estimate the temperature response of residential consumption at the zip code level. Using the most recent set of IPCC climate models, we simulate future consumption by letting households vary consumption along their current response function as well as letting the response function change using an econometrically estimated second stage. We show that overall increase in residential electricity consumption is modest, yet failing to account for extensive margin adjustment leads to drastic underestimate of future impacts.
No Adaptation to Climate During One Millennium of Irish History
AbstractIt is almost universally assumed that given sufficient time to learn through experience, human populations adapt to their local environment. This intuition is grounded in the notion that many small and seemingly costless innovations and changes in behavior may aggregate into social and economic systems that are robust to regularly experienced events. The logical conclusion of this assumption is that over time, populations are affected less and less by environmental hazards. Here we show that Irish populations exposed to a relatively unchanging environment for an entire millennium failed to adapt to regularly occurring climatic events. Examining the Chronicles of Ireland, annual monastic records from 600-1600 AD, we find that cold or wind extremes systematically increased the probability of major animal mortality events, agricultural losses, famines, and major human mortality events by roughly 20-40%. Surprisingly, this relationship does not systematically diminish with time and persists through the rise and fall of different political systems, indicating that even extensive experience with climatic conditions are not sufficient to induce adaptation. This result challenges widespread assumptions used in social and economic projections of how effectively future populations will adapt to climatic changes. Although our findings draw on historical data, we note that average incomes in Ireland during this period are similar to those in many African countries today.
Columbia University, IZA, and NBER
- I0 - General
- Q5 - Environmental Economics