Environmental Modeling & Assessment

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 63–74

On the representation of impact in integrated assessment models of climate change


  • Richard S.J. Tol
    • Institute for Environmental StudiesVrije Universiteit
  • Samuel Fankhauser
    • Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global EnvironmentUniversity College London and University of East Anglia

DOI: 10.1023/A:1019050503531

Cite this article as:
Tol, R.S. & Fankhauser, S. Environmental Modeling & Assessment (1998) 3: 63. doi:10.1023/A:1019050503531


The paper provides an overview of attempts to represent climate change impact in over twenty integrated assessment models (IAMs) of climate change. Focusing on policy optimization IAMs, the paper critically compares modeling solutions, discusses alternatives and outlines important areas for improvement. Perhaps the most crucial area of improvement concerns the dynamic representation of impact, where more credible functional forms need to be developed to express time‐dependent damage as a function of changing socio‐economic circumstances, vulnerability, degree of adaptation, and the speed as well as the absolute level of climate change.

climate change impact integrated assessment modeling

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998