Climatic Change

, Volume 117, Issue 4, pp 795–808 | Cite as

The economic impact of climate change in the 20th and 21st centuries

  • Richard S. J. TolEmail author


The national version of FUND3.6 is used to backcast the impacts of climate change to the 20th century and extrapolate to the 21st century. Carbon dioxide fertilization of crops and reduced energy demand for heating are the main positive impacts. Climate change had a negative effect on water resources and, in most years, human health. Most countries benefitted from climate change until 1980, but after that the trend is negative for poor countries and positive for rich countries. The global average impact was positive in the 20th century. In the 21st century, impacts turn negative in most countries, rich and poor. Energy demand, water resources, biodiversity and sea level rise are the main negative impacts; the impacts of climate change on human health and agriculture remain positive until 2100.


Climate Change Malaria 21st Century Capita Income Schistosomiasis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I am grateful to the Copenhagen Consensus Center and the EU ClimateCost project for financially supporting this research. Two anonymous referees had excellent comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of SussexFalmerUK
  2. 2.Institute for Environmental StudiesVrije UniversiteitAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Spatial EconomicsVrije UniversiteitAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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