Responding to Threats of Climate Change Mega-Catastrophes

DSpace/Manakin Repository

Responding to Threats of Climate Change Mega-Catastrophes

Citable link to this page


Title: Responding to Threats of Climate Change Mega-Catastrophes
Author: Kousky, Carolyn; Rostapshova, Olga V; Toman, Michael; Zeckhauser, Richard Jay

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Kousky, Carolyn, Olga Rostapshova, Michael Toman, and Richard Zeckhauser. 2010. Responding to Threats of Climate Change Mega-Catastrophes. HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series, RWP10-008, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
Full Text & Related Files:
Abstract: There is a low but uncertain probability that climate change could trigger “mega-catastrophes,” severe and at least partly irreversible adverse effects across broad regions. This paper first discusses the state of current knowledge and the defining characteristics of potential climate change mega-catastrophes. While some of these characteristics present difficulties for using standard rational choice methods to evaluate response options, there is still a need to balance the benefits and costs of different possible responses with appropriate attention to the uncertainties. To that end, we present a qualitative analysis of three options for mitigating the risk of climate mega-catastrophes—drastic abatement of greenhouse gas emissions, development and implementation of geoengineering, and large-scale ex ante adaptation— against the criteria of efficacy, cost, robustness, and flexibility. We discuss the composition of a sound portfolio of initial investments in reducing the risk of climate change mega-catastrophes.
Published Version:
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at
Citable link to this page:
Downloads of this work:

Show full Dublin Core record

This item appears in the following Collection(s)


Search DASH

Advanced Search