CIESIN Thematic Guides

Social and Economic Effects of Climate Change

Socioeconomic effects often occur much more rapidly than the environmental changes that cause them and therefore are difficult to predict. Although the socioeconomic effects of the one-meter rise in sea level in the past century are fairly apparent, the effects of other manifestations of global climate change are more difficult to measure.

Godden and Adams (1991) examine the implications of global climate change on the Australian economy in "The Enhanced Greenhouse Effect and Australian Agriculture." They conclude that although some agricultural sectors may exhibit loss of productivity, agriculture as a whole could gain due to offsetting effects created by foreign demand for Australian agricultural products.

In "The Potential Socio-economic Effects of Climate Change," a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) document, Parry, Magalhaes, and Nih (1992) emphasize that one effect of climate change could be extensive damage to fish and prawn breeding grounds in Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Kane, Reilly, and Tobey (1992) estimate the effects of climate change using two alternative crop response scenarios in "An Empirical Study of the Economic Effects of Climate Change on World Agriculture." These effects include changes both in the prices of agricultural commodities as a result of changes in domestic agricultural yields, and changes in economic welfare following altered world patterns of consumption and production of agricultural commodities.