Time of emergence of economic impacts of climate change

Predrag Ignjacevic*, Francisco Estrada, W. J.Wouter Botzen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We introduce the concept of time of emergence of economic impacts (ToEI), which identifies the initial moment when the climate change impact signal exceeds a previously defined threshold of past economic output shocks in a given geographic area. We compute the ToEI using probabilistic climate change projections and impact functions from three integrated assessment models of climate change: DICE, RICE and CLIMRISK. Our results demonstrate that, in terms of the business-as-usual carbon emissions scenario, the global economy could reach its ToEI by 2095. Regional results highlight areas that are likely to reach the ToEI sooner, namely Western Europe by 2075, India by 2083, and Africa by 2085. We also explore local-scale variations in the ToEI demonstrating that, for example, Paris already reached the ToEI around 2020, while Shanghai will reach it around 2080. We conclude that the ToEI methodology can be applied to impact models of varying scales when sufficient historical impact data are available. Moreover, unprecedented impacts of climate change in the 21st century may be experienced even in economically developed regions in the US and Europe. Finally, moderate to stringent climate change mitigation policies could delay the extreme economic impacts of climate change by three decades in Latin America, the Middle East, and Japan, by two decades in India, Western Europe, and the US, and by one decade in Africa. Our results can be used by policymakers interested in implementing timely climate policies to prevent potentially large economic shocks due to climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number074039
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • climate change
  • climate risk factors
  • time of emergence of climate impacts


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