Analysis of Current and Projected Future Economic Effects of Climate Change in Alaska

Project Overview

Dates: Ongoing, November 2015—Present


Primary Scientists: 
Gunnar Knapp and Matt Berman
University of Alaska Anchorage

University of Alaska Anchorage



Institute of Social and Economic Research
A steadily growing portfolio of studies have been undertaken to estimate regional global economic consequences of climate change (Agrawal and Fankhauser, 2008). The earlier literature concentrated on cost-benefit analysis and optimal adaptation strategies under certain assumptions; more recent studies have also attempted to address needs of decision-makers by including multi-dimensional evaluations and the role of uncertainty and risk (Arent et al., 2014). Although much has been written about potential physical and ecological effects of climate change in Alaska and their consequences for people (Larsen et al., 2014; Forbes et al, 2011; Hovelsrud et al., 2011; Epstein and Ferber, 2011), relatively little research has specifically addressed economic effects.
The proposed study would fill the information gap by describing the potential nature and scope of economic effects of climate change that are likely to become manifest in Alaska over the next 30-50 years. The objective of the study is to synthesize information about what is known and what is not known about the economic effects and to outline what additional research, data collection or information gathering would be necessary to fill in the unknowns. We would consider effects arising through a broad spectrum of drivers and mechanisms, using a common framework and common set of scenarios and assumptions. We would also provide order of magnitude quantitative estimates of economic effects in cases where the effects are known and data are available. The study would include discussions of the primary uncertainties about the nature and magnitude of economic effects, as well as discussions of potential data sources and known data gaps.