It's always nice to have your research cited in testimony before Congress

In email this morning I learned that my work with Wolfram Schlenker was cited extensively by Christopher B. Field in his testimony before congress (PDF).

In today's New York Times our findings were obliquely referenced via Field.  Apparently his testimony "piqued the interest of members on both sides of the aisle."  The specific statistics cited in the New York Times come from our research results.  While the NYT is citing Field, you can see from Field's testimony that it comes from our work.

One little quibble with Field's testimony.  He testified as if these are going to be adverse effects to the U.S.  Actually, US crop production getting hammered by climate change may be good for us.  That's because we export a good share of our crops and demand is extremely inelastic.  It's is quite likely that price increases will help farmers far more than the lower quantities hurt them.  The gain in domestic producer surplus could be so large that there could be a net gain for the United States.

But this should inspire the opposite of complacency.  It's the rest of the world, particularly the world's poorest, that would suffer.

Update: Maybe I'm being too oblique here.  I'm NOT sanguine about these potential impacts.  What I'm trying to do by pointing out the big price effects is to show that the economic impacts from climate change will often happen to people and places far different from the physical impact.  When the Midwest takes a hit on corn yields, North Carolina hog and chicken farmers suffer while most Midwestern farmers gain, since prices more than compensate.  With climate change, this kind of economic displacement of physical impacts will probably be common.


  1. Congrats!! Although I'm not quite as sanguine as you seem to be that higher prices will outweigh lower yields... and even if on aggregate we come out OK, there will likely be some serious losers.

  2. Michael, congrats on this.

    But it is disheartening to even see this debate even taking place.

    It is a sad day when many of a nation's leaders reject out-of-hand the findings of its own scientific community.

    If politicians wish not to act, because they don't want to have carbon taxes, etc., then so be it. But they should not be calling the credibility of the scientists in question.

    Jeff Reimer


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