I am not a climate scientist, but I have been reading climate literature lately for my own education. Much of it discusses various effects that could be expected with different levels of warming, usually by 2050 or 2100, e.g. reductions in crop yield, flooding, etc. However, I find it very difficult to intuit what the effects of various scenarios would mean in aggregate. E.g. say we have 4 C warming by 2100. What is the overall level of economic damage globally? Even better, what is a way to get a grasp on the level of damage or suffering that results - is it a societal collapse, or something similar to WWII, or something similar to the Great Depression, or something much less?

Are there any good resources or papers that discuss overall (net amount of damage, net amount of suffering) range of possible effects in an intentionally intuitive manner like this, for different warming scenarios?

Note that I am not looking for predictions of temperature rise. Ideally, I am looking for predictions of damage that are stated in a way that is easy to get an intuitive global handle on, given specified temperature rises, by specified years (e.g., presumably 1 C by 2030 would cause more damage than 1 C by 2050 or even 2100).

The closest thing that I have found to this so far are the burning ember diagram in the IPCC reports, and the corresponding referenced papers. This is a step in the right direction as far as what I am looking for, and gives some references that may be helpful (I haven't explored them yet), but still doesn't quite hit the mark for me.

Anyway, this might be a broad and strange question, but an answer or partial answer to it would help me greatly to contextualize the subject as I study it.

  • $\begingroup$ this might be a broad and strange question Indeed ;-) Can you narrow it down, otherwise it will get closed as 'too broad'. Limit it to one question to start with. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Doggen
    Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 19:20
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! I can still do this, but it looks like there's an answer at this point. Would it be helpful if I did this still? $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 21:03

1 Answer 1


I think you're asking about the sort of outputs that are obtained from climate-change integrated assessment models [IAMs] And now you've got the right search term, your quest will get a lot easier.

You're doing the right thing: start with the IPCC reports. The next step is to follow through on reading their references. And then use google scholar or any proper academic search engine you have access to, to find more recent papers that have also cited those papers that the IPCC cited.

Here's a pdf on the PAGE09 IAM, an updated version of the PAGE2002 model used for the Stern Review. Chris Hope makes his PAGE model available to other researchers, on request.

Here's the UK's Committee on Climate Change report on IAMs

Here's the London School of Economics' page on IAMs.

And the TIAM IAM from UCL.

Google Scholar claims to have 3000 results from the last five years on IAMs and climate change.

As you can probably imagine, there are uncertainties piled on top of uncertainties in this field. The scholarly work on them nevertheless represents the best available set of expert expectations on the sort of damages we are likely to experience with different increases in the concentrations of greenhouse gases.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, I will take a look at these. In general, I have found with everything I have ever studied that you are exactly right, everything becomes vastly easier once you have the right search term. I will check all of the references that you linked to. Thanks again! $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 21:06

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