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Large numbers map out how humans affect the climate change

Econometric models can help us understand the correlation between climate change and human activity. For that reason, number crunchers from all over the world are meeting up for a conference on climate econometrics in Aarhus on 27 and 28 October.

2016.10.25 | Andreas G. Jensby

They have a clear mission and a huge number of data that show how everything from water levels and temperatures to GNP and industrial CO2 emissions have developed globally.

Now some of the world’s leading econometric experts meet up to discuss how improved econometric models and analysis methods can increase our understanding of exactly how human activity affects the climate. This takes place on 27 and 28 October at Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University, which has organised the conference together with the University of Oxford and the Tor Vergata University in Rome.

“By using econometric models, we are able to include historical climate data to a greater extent and to improve our ability to quantify the uncertainty related to how the socio-economic development has affected the climate so far. We can use this to contribute to a more precise prediction of how different future scenarios will affect the climate,” explains Associate Professor Eric Hillebrand from the econometric research centre CREATES at Aarhus BSS.

Econometric models important for understanding the climate

At the University of Oxford, researchers have initiated a large and well-received research project on climate econometrics, and overall the field is growing. According to Hillebrand, there are thus many good reasons for why researchers from all over the world are meeting up to discuss this very topic.

“We believe that econometric models can and should play a larger part in climate research - as a supplement to the physical, global circulation models primarily used today. This also requires that we as econometric researchers constantly enhance our focus on and our approach to climate data and models,” he says.

Important contributions to the annual climate reports

The size and importance of the conference is underlined by the fact that the recognised Journal of Econometrics is devoting a special edition to the research articles submitted by the conference participants.  The journal is edited by professors from Stanford, Cambridge and Princeton, and it is one of the most quoted journals in its field.

Eric Hillebrand hopes that the conference will serve as a basis for more conferences on the topic in the future.

“We still have a lot to learn about the complex correlations between the development in society and climate change, and in the future, we can use these insights as an important contribution to e.g. the annual climate reports from the international climate panel IPCC. And not least as a way to increase our own understanding,” he says.

Further information

Associate Professor Eric Hillebrand
CREATES - Center for Research in Econometric Analysis of Time Series
The Department of Economics and Business Economics
Tel.: +45 8716 6032