ISER Publication - Economic Effects of Climate Change in Alaska
The final version of this report is published in Weather, Climate, and Society, a publication of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), at the following location: https://doi.org/10.1175/WCAS-D-18-0056.1. The AMS does not guarantee that the copy provided here is an accurate copy of the final published work.
We summarize the potential nature and scope of economic effects of climate change in Alaska that have already occurred and are likely to become manifest over the next 30-50 years. We classified potential effects discussed in the literature into categories according to climate driver, type of environmental service affected, certainty and timing of the effects, and potential magnitude of economic consequences. We then described the nature of important economic effects, and provided estimates of larger, more certain effects for which data were available. Largest economic effects were associated with costs to prevent damage, relocate, and replace infrastructure threatened by permafrost thaw, sea level rise, and coastal erosion. The costs to infrastructure were offset by a large projected reduction in space heating costs attributable to milder winters. Overall, we estimated that five, relatively certain, large effects that could be readily quantified would impose an annual net cost of $340-$700 million, or 0.6 to 1.3 percent of Alaska GDP. This significant, but relatively modest net economic effect for Alaska as a whole obscures large regional disparities, as rural communities face large projected costs while more southerly urban residents experience net gains.