2 July 2017   Leave a comment

Researchers have published an article in Science that estimates the costs of climate change on the US economy.  Such predictions are difficult and the researchers frame their predictions in terms of a wide range of probabilities.  The abstract, however, summarizes the research in straightforward terms:

“Estimates of climate change damage are central to the design of climate policies. Here, we develop a flexible architecture for computing damages that integrates climate science, econometric analyses, and process models. We use this approach to construct spatially explicit, probabilistic, and empirically derived estimates of economic damage in the United States from climate change. The combined value of market and nonmarket damage across analyzed sectors—agriculture, crime, coastal storms, energy, human mortality, and labor—increases quadratically in global mean temperature, costing roughly 1.2% of gross domestic product per +1°C on average. Importantly, risk is distributed unequally across locations, generating a large transfer of value northward and westward that increases economic inequality. By the late 21st century, the poorest third of counties are projected to experience damages between 2 and 20% of county income (90% chance) under business-as-usual emissions.”

Not surprisingly, climate change will aggravate income and wealth inequality in the US as the poor will lack the ability to make the necessary adaptations to the changes in climate.


India introduced a single tax on the sale of goods and services to replace the almost 500 different taxes levied by the states.  The new Goods and Services Tax is the most sweeping tax reform in independent India’s history.  The change was accompanied by a great deal of confusion (not surprisingly) and it will take some time to assess its effectiveness and efficiency.  But it follows the process of demonetization that occurred earlier in Prime Minister Modi’s administration–he has introduced some major changes in the daily lives of Indians.

The party of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), suffered a major loss in local elections in Tokyo.  Abe has been in office for nearly five years but has been plagued recently by a corruption scandal.  The returns seem to indicate a pattern seen in earlier elections in the US and Europe:  the results are less a victory for the opposition than a repudiation of the mainstream parties.  Abe is undoubtedly weakened by these returns and he may not be able to secure enough votes to amend the Japanese constitution to allow Japan greater military presence abroad.  Amending the pacifist parts of the constitution has been a major priority for Abe.

Posted July 2, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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