Economic Impact of Climate Change on
Select a country/region or click on the map to get estimates of how climate change will affect GDP per capita as calculated in Burke, Hsiang, and Miguel (2015) Back to main page
Economic Impact of Climate
Change on
Likelihood climate change will reduce
's GDP per capita by
  • more than 0%:   
  • more than 10%:
  • more than 20%:
  • more than 50%:
The plot above shows the projected impacts of climate change on GDP per capita between now and 2100 for the World. Impacts are expressed relative to a world without climate change. So a 10% increase in 2100 indicates that we project that climate change will make a particular country 10% richer than it would have been had climate change not occurred. The black line in this plot represents our "best estimate" of impacts for the World, while the red shaded area represents our uncertainty in this estimate. Based on the uncertainty shown in red, the table at right then provides the estimated likelihood that by 2100, climate change will causes losses of at least 0%, 10%, 20%, and 50% in the World.

How do we arrive at these numbers?
The projected impacts of climate change shown above are derived by combining three estimates:
  1. estimates of how GDP growth rates respond to temperature. Determining this response is one of the main exercises in our paper. As described in the paper, we use a half century of historical data for more than 150 countries to arrive at this estimate.
  2. estimates of future temperature change. Here we rely on estimates from the IPCC CMIP5, taking the median projection across all climate models that report temperature change from the RCP8.5 emissions trajectory, which is a high emissions scenario (the climate model data we use are here).
  3. estimates of future change in population and GDP/capita absent climate change. Here we rely on estimates from the "Shared Socioeconomic Pathways" (SSPs), and utilize the two SSPs (SSP3 and SSP5) that are believed consistent with the chosen emissions trajectory.
To find out more about how we arrived at estimates for specific countries, please click on a country above.
Growth vs. Temperature, Growth Rate, and GDP per Capita for

The three panels above demonstrate how these three sources of information are combined to produce the black line in the figure at top.

The left figure shows the estimated response of GDP growth to temperature across all countries in the world (black line). The dotted black and red vertical lines show the country-average temperature in 2010 and the projected average temperature in 2100. The historical response function (black line) is then used to estimate the effect on GDP growth that this temperature change will have. For a small number of countries countries, the projected average temperature in 2100 exceeds the average temperature observed in any country during our historical period of study (roughly 30C). In these cases, because historical data do not tell us what the response function looks like above 30C, we assume that response function becomes flat beyond 30C -- that is, we assume that growth rates cannot fall below the rate predicted by the response function at 30C.

The middle figure shows our projections of how climate change might affect growth rates over the next century. The black line in this figure is the assumed growth rate absent climate change in , which we again take from the SSPs. The red line is the adjustment to this growth rate that we estimate will occur because of climate change.

The right figure then shows the implication of this change in growth rate for the level of GDP per capita over time. The black line is again the projected level of GDP per capita over time in absent climate change, and the red line is the level of GDP per capita with climate change. The percentage difference between these two lines is what is plotted by the black line in the figure at the top of the page.

The red shading in the figure at the top of the page reflects our uncertainty in a country's impacts. This uncertainty derives from imperfect knowledge of how growth rates have historically responded to temperature [i.e. uncertainty in the exact shape of the black line in the left panel of the bottom figure].