Energy, Climate & Environment

Can data science help us maximize global human potential in the face of climate change? 

Today, we need to make intelligent management decisions about how we are going to manage our planet. Are we going to invest resources to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate change, or are we going to spend that money on other things, and travel down a trajectory of business as usual? Fortunately, powerful computing technologies now allows us to see with clarity what lies ahead, and to make informed choices about what path to take.

Using these tools, when we look anywhere in the world we find that as temperatures rise, populations handle them pretty well up to a critical point.  But at a critical temperature, economic productivity declines dramatically. We forecast a 20 percent decline in global income by the end of the century. And the most intense economic losses will be experienced in places where it is already hot and economies are already stressed. The vast brunt of the global economic burden will be borne by the poorest 60 percent of people around the world, widening global economic inequality. Our challenge is to use our unprecedented access to data analysis and information technologies to make truly informed decisions about the world we want to live in and leave for our children.

Keywords/Tags: climate change, data science, economics, political context

Sol HsiangSol Hsiang

Sol combines data with mathematical models to understand how society and the environment influence one another. He focuses on how policy can encourage economic development while managing the global climate. Sol was Lead Economist for the 2014 report Economic Risks of Climate Change: An American Prospectus, the scientific analysis behind the Risky Business report published by Michael Bloomberg, Hank Paulson, Thomas Steyer and others. Read more about Sol Hsiang.