Belfer Center, Kennedy School, Harvard Univ. / by Mark C. Freeman, Ben Groom, Richard Zeckhauser
The initial hope for climate science was that an improved understanding of what the future might bring would lead to appropriate public policies and effective international climate agreements. Even if that hope is not realized, as now seems likely, scientific advances leading to a more refined assessment of the uncertainties surrounding the future impacts of climate change would facilitate more appropriate adaptation measures. Such measures might involve shifting modes or locales of production, for example. This article focuses on two broader tools: consumption smoothing in anticipation of future losses, and physical adaptation measures to reduce damages. It shows that informative signals on climate-change effects lead to better decisions in the use of each tool.