#Economics of the #disintegration of the #Greenland #ice sheet (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, abstract)

[Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Economics of the disintegration of the Greenland ice sheet

William Nordhaus

PNAS first published June 4, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1814990116

Edited by William C. Clark, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and approved April 5, 2019 (received for review August 30, 2018)



This study integrates an economic model of climate change with a small structural model of the Greenland ice sheet (GIS). As such, it provides a methodology for incorporating large earth system changes into standard economic cost–benefit or damage-limiting analyses. It finds that adding the GIS has only a small effect on the social cost of carbon (SCC) because melting is slow and damages are far in the future.



Concerns about the impact on large-scale earth systems have taken center stage in the scientific and economic analysis of climate change. The present study analyzes the economic impact of a potential disintegration of the Greenland ice sheet (GIS). The study introduces an approach that combines long-run economic growth models, climate models, and reduced-form GIS models. The study demonstrates that social cost–benefit analysis and damage-limiting strategies can be usefully extended to illuminate issues with major long-term consequences, as well as concerns such as potential tipping points, irreversibility, and hysteresis. A key finding is that, under a wide range of assumptions, the risk of GIS disintegration makes a small contribution to the optimal stringency of current policy or to the overall social cost of climate change. It finds that the cost of GIS disintegration adds less than 5% to the social cost of carbon (SCC) under alternative discount rates and estimates of the GIS dynamics.

climate change – Greenland ice sheet – economics – DICE model – optimization

Keywords: Climate change; Global warming; Greenland; Economics.


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Giuseppe Michieli

I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum (FluTrackers.com) in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.