The value of information in a risk management approach to climate change

Carolyn Kousky, Roger M Cooke

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contribution

4 Citations (Scopus)


The standard economic approach to analyzing the climate change problem has been to search for efficient abatement policies. The massive uncertainties and the possibility for cataclysmic climate damages, however, suggest that a risk management approach is more appropriate. This shifts the policy question to how much risk of catastrophe society is willing to accept. Intuitively, this change in focus may shift our information needs, and the needs should be assessed through a value-of-information analysis. Such calculations should allow for examination of how improved information alters the probability of exceeding a given policy target, incorporate rigorous expert judgment for determining beliefs and quantifying uncertainties, and highlight what scientific information is most valuable for a policymaker attempting to keep the probability of catastrophic climate impacts below a set threshold. We discuss how Bayesian belief nets can be useful tools for this type of analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe value of information
Subtitle of host publicationmethodological frontiers and new applications in environment and health
EditorsRamanan Laxminarayan, Molly K. Macauley
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9789400748385
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • value of information
  • risk management approach
  • climate change


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