Tag Archives: adaptation

Adapting to Climate Change: The Remarkable Decline in the U.S. Temperature-Mortality Relationship over the 20th Century

TITLE
Adapting to Climate Change: The Remarkable Decline in the U.S. Temperature-Mortality Relationship over the 20th Century

AUTHORS
Barreca, Alan, Karen Clay, Olivier Deschenes, Michael Greenstone, & Joseph S. Shapiro

STATUS
Journal of Political Economy | 2016 | 124(1): 105-159

LINKS

ABSTRACT
Adaptation is the only strategy that is guaranteed to be part of the world’s climate strategy. Using the most comprehensive set of data files ever compiled on mortality and its determinants over the course of the 20th century, this paper makes two primary discoveries. First, we find that the mortality effect of an extremely hot day declined by about 80% between 1900-1959 and 1960-2004. As a consequence, days with temperatures exceeding 90°F were responsible for about 600 premature fatalities annually in the 1960-2004 period, compared to the approximately 3,600 premature fatalities that would have occurred if the temperature-mortality relationship from before 1960 still prevailed. Second, the adoption of residential air conditioning (AC) explains essentially the entire decline in the temperature-mortality relationship. In contrast, increased access to electricity and health care seem not to affect mortality on extremely hot days. Residential AC appears to be both the most promising technology to help poor countries mitigate the temperature related mortality impacts of climate change and, because fossil fuels are the least expensive source of energy, a technology whose proliferation will speed up the rate of climate change.

Convergence in Adaptation to Climate Change: Evidence from High Temperatures and Mortality, 1900-2004

TITLE
Convergence in Adaptation to Climate Change: Evidence from High Temperatures and Mortality, 1900-2004

AUTHORS
Barreca, Alan, Karen Clay, Olivier Deschenes, Michael Greenstone, & Joseph S. Shapiro

STATUS
American Economic Review Papers & Proceedings | 2015 | 105(5): 247-51

LINK

ABSTRACT
This paper combines panel data on monthly mortality rates of US states and daily temperature variables for over a century (1900-2004) to explore the regional evolution of the temperature-mortality relationship and documents two key findings. First, the impact of extreme heat on mortality is notably smaller in states that more frequently experience extreme heat. Second, the difference in the heat-mortality relationship between hot and cold states declined over 1900-2004, though it persisted through 2004. Continuing differences in the mortality consequences of hot days suggests that health motivated adaptation to climate change may be slow and costly around the world.