This dissertation investigates the impact of climate change and climate variability on influenza, crop yields, and the determinants of climatological disasters. These domains are extremely sensitive to changes in the climatic factors which affect crucial aspects of human existence and welfare and are likely to result in important economic consequences. Advanced econometric techniques are used with a view to examine the differentiated impacts across countries.

The first chapter provides robust evidence that the highest risk of influenza mortality in the US is at extreme low and high temperatures ranges and at specific humidity levels between 4 g/kg and 12 g/kg (equivalent to Relative Humidity of 23% and 70%). Furthermore, we find that the West, Midwest, and the South-eastern parts of the US will be at high risk of influenza mortality by the end of the 21st century, with mortality increasing by up to 3% in some areas. The second chapter uses an updated global malaria mortality dataset for 105 countries and utilizes Quantile regressions to conclude that the optimal temperature for countries with relatively levels of high malaria mortality to be 24.07°C, lower than that suggested by existing literature.

Chapter 3 combines annual crop yield data for rice and maize with temperature and precipitation data during 1971 – 2012 to investigate the impact of changes in climate variability. We find that increases in variability of both temperature and precipitation may benefit crop yields up to a certain degree; however, as the variability exceeds a certain threshold, a negative impact is expected. The final chapter examines the determinants of climate related disasters and attempts to estimate the presence of adaptive capacity in terms of per capita income and population density elasticities. Our results show that higher income countries show strong adaptive capacity with damages decreasing with GDP but lower income countries highlight exactly the opposite behaviour. Finally, we find that increases in GDP per Granger causes climate related damages for lower income countries but not in higher income countries.