Funding Shortfalls Hamper Knowledge
Of Social, Economic Climate Impacts

While scientists have made important advances in understanding the physical science of climate change, a relative lack of support for social science research has made these findings less impactful than they might otherwise be, according to a new paper in Science.

The paper was authored by 28 leading economists, including F&ES professors Kenneth Gillingham, Matthew Kotchen, and Robert Mendelsohn.

The economists identify three areas where greater understanding is sorely needed but also where important insights can potentially be within reach in the next few years. If properly funded, they write, there exist prime opportunities for researchers to 1. refine the social cost of carbon, or the estimate of damages caused by carbon emissions 2. improve understanding of the consequences of particular policies and 3. better understand the economic impacts and policy choices in developing countries.

Existing knowledge gaps in these economic and social dimensions of climate change have hampered the ability of the global community to create policies that adequately address the challenges, the authors write. “A much more substantive research program on the economics of climate change is essential; otherwise, effective policy solutions with broad societal support will remain elusive,” they write.

Read the full paper
PUBLISHED: April 21, 2016
Note: Yale School of the Environment (YSE) was formerly known as the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). News articles posted prior to July 1, 2020, refer to the School's name at that time.