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[DLS] Christopher Callahan (Stanford)

Date: Tuesday, March 5, 2024 Time: 12:30 - 1:30pm Location: 54-100 Dixie Lee Bryant Lecture Hall | MIT Campus, Cambridge, MA

“Quantifying the Economic Costs of Global Warming”

Global warming threatens the economic well-being of people across the globe. Yet the magnitude and persistence of these economic impacts are poorly understood, making it difficult to design equitable mitigation and adaptation strategies and hold emitters accountable for the impacts of their emissions. In my research, I combine methods from detection and attribution, climate projection, and causal inference to understand the global economic consequences of climate change. Using the examples of heat waves and El Niño events, I show that extreme climate events reduce economic growth globally. These effects fall most strongly on the tropical regions that have contributed least to warming, a sign of the inequities embedded in the causes and consequences of warming. To quantify these inequities, I develop an end-to-end attribution framework that links individual emitters to the economic effects of warming. I show that the emissions of high-income countries have driven billions of dollars of economic losses in low-income, low-emitting countries. I then extend this framework to major fossil fuel firms, showing that their emissions have intensified heat waves and the resulting economic penalties across the global tropics. These first-of-their-kind results lend scientific support to emerging discussions over climate liability and loss and damage. More broadly, this work together highlights the emerging economic threat of global warming, raising the importance of climate mitigation and adaptation to avoid accelerating losses to the most vulnerable people around the globe.

[DLS] EAPS Department Lecture Series 

Weekly talks aimed to bring together the entire EAPS community, given by leading thinkers in the areas of geology, geophysics, geobiology, geochemistry, atmospheric science, oceanography, climatology, and planetary science. Runs concurrently with class 12.S501. 

Contact: eapsinfo@mit.edu