Wolfram Blog
Wolfram Blog Team

Modeling the Economic Effects of Global Warming with Mathematica

April 13, 2011 — Wolfram Blog Team

Stuart Nettleton, a senior lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney, knows the significance of the problem he’s examining—he calls it “the biggest problem that we face in the world going forward.” His challenge: to develop a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model that evaluates the effects of global warming on world economies over 150 years.

With Mathematica, he’s making real progress. Nettleton says, “The rapid development environment that Mathematica provides, the ability to do things so concisely and with so much power out of the functional programming and pattern matching and all the things that are the great advantage of Mathematica—that allowed a very rapid development process, so something a panel of experts told me would take a number of people a number of years, one person managed to do most of it in six months.”

In this video, Nettleton describes Mathematica‘s crucial role in both developing his model and communicating his findings.

You can find more on Nettleton’s research and see other Mathematica success stories on our Customer Stories pages.

Posted in: Geosciences
Leave a Comment



Does Wolfram Research, Inc., endorse this view, that “the biggest problem that we face in the world going forward” isn’t something about religion or culture or education, but instead is about modeling perceived correlations between weather and money-flow?

Posted by Mark    April 13, 2011 at 3:37 pm
    Wolfram Blog

    Hi Mark,

    The quote from Stuart represents his views and not the views of Wolfram Research.

    Thanks for reading!
    The Wolfram Blog Team

    Posted by Wolfram Blog    April 14, 2011 at 9:25 am
Maria Gellissen

Dear sirs, I am an alternative new entrepreneur, just not yet started. My business coming out should be a real professional one and I am looking for partners. My various science interests and small range of knowledge but with large numbering enables me to create solutions… I have a lot of concepts and ideas for intellectuel sensitive points, regarding to a saver and peacefuller future of our nice planet earth. Referring to the gobal warming I have some ideas wanted to be shared or discussed with experts… to have now products or ideas for joint venture projects or companies as an offer to production. Than, in another subject of science, I am developping an analytic-synthesis modular solution strategy or method, I call it the “marge-method”. It can be used to solve social but any other problems. It is based on mathematic logic bombined with philosophical leading thoughts. I figuered out on my own and now I realise that it it similar to theories of famous existing theories within mentoring in business. My interest as a mission is to take part as a maker to bring more harmony or to solve basic misunderstandings between volks…to prevent from new wars.. I see real negative and the same time very good developments on earth, recording to subcultural knowledge and educatin at first. I want to make money the same time, that´s clear. I believe that a popular adult education is easyer than a lot of people think of. I wait for so long for matching professional partners and perhaps you are interested in one or more projects in a way of “slowly growing enterprise” by new consortial partnership with frame contracts and investigation only in time or existing knowledge. This is my plan, obligatory I search partners with faith and trust that the projects will run. Than they wil do. … Perhaps I could catch your interest. Have a nice day.. best regards… from a german alternative private hobby researcher… Marie Gellissen.

Posted by Maria Gellissen    April 14, 2011 at 2:56 am
Paul McHale

Is it possible to submit ideas or presentation in blog?

Posted by Paul McHale    April 15, 2011 at 12:16 am
Luboš Motl

Science gives the men a key to the Heavens; the same key opens to the gate to the Hell, too. Wolfram Mathematica, much like any important apparatus, may be used both for good things and bad things. In this case, we see that it may be used not only for science but also for pseudoscience.

Posted by Luboš Motl    April 18, 2011 at 5:10 am
Harry Pool

Before we consider Professor Nettleton’s modeling project a “success” at predicting commodity prices 150 years from now, shouldn’t we see how well a much simpler model he develops does at predicting commodity prices in, say, six months. Corn, Soybeans, Soy Products, Wheat, Pork, Cattle, Butter, and Milk are all traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and their prices appear daily in many US newspapers. If Prof Nettleton can predict accurately what their prices will be in six months, I’ll attach some credence to his price predictions 150 years out.

Posted by Harry Pool    April 18, 2011 at 2:57 pm

No one can predict very long term effect of any phenomenon -what ever tools are used, there are innumerable variables which will change over course of time. At best Stuart Nettleton’s modeling can be called ‘wonderful way to pass time’. Attaching any more significance will be equivalent to acknowledging Apocalypse calculations

Posted by selvarajan    May 25, 2011 at 5:51 am
Douglas Kubler

I’m more interested in the effects of global cooling.

Posted by Douglas Kubler    May 31, 2011 at 8:14 pm

I see the Denialist amateur talking heads are out in force. For anyone who thinks that they might have a point, consider the statistician who predicts that, if you toss a fair coin 1000 times you should expect an average of 500 heads. Selvarajan believes this is impossible even in principle. By analogy with Harry Pool’s reasoning, we apparently should reject this prediction unless the statistician can accurately predict the first 10 coin tosses.

Short term movements on commodity prices are essentially a random walk, with noise and random fluctuations dominating the signal. But the signal does exist, and can be extrapolated.

It is strange that the same Denialists who deny that we could possibly predict the cost of commodities given some long-term climate change, nevertheless insist that their own predictions of economic catastrophe caused by Green policies are beyond any doubt.

Posted by Steven    June 11, 2011 at 8:26 am
Maria Gellissen

I find the problem of global warming is too much simplyfied in public. There are much more reasons and everybody can be leaded in finding them out, if basic scientific procedures or conclusions of them are more often explained. My comment which was at first a way to contact Mr. Nettleton and not to give my meaning to the public in its intention to be posted here, was an inquiry for a teamwork. I tried to explain, that in addition to problems of global warming itself my margemethod is able to carry messages from sientists to leaders or persons who are involved in the global heating as responsible persons, private or economic one. Never we can extract circles of doings, always for living processes we have to look at both sides: the single person as the smallest part of doing and parallel the big aims set by politicians and developed by researchers – and last but first, the development issues themselves. Moreoften as we want to realize the sight onto a thing is able to change it. I think, for ex. cars which produce in summer too much heat, roofs the same, cause more heating. Street material should be changed, we all know the effect of air warming ending in haluzunative images, too much heat into the air! Next, roofs to prepare not to give up too much heat. The work of architects, biologes, pyhsicians and private persons who have the right amount of money for new experiences. Than politicians who set rules for possible various hour building. Next river-bed changing so water goes too quick into seas. We see on one hand the sea level too much increase… and less water rests in grounds. This water-treatmant is related to the problem of global heating. Save water with new models of private and economic use beside of let river water not flow into seas we have no. Channel building more and more… one solution. Setting more plants, make the desert green, the green lands set woods again like in former times. Look where the winds changed and therefor too much wind and water comes up. Its without any extreme knowledge to assume that the responsible areas are too much heated..by humans… Solutions more and more… but without understanding… never to solve. That was my intention which forces me, a hobby researcher, to ask Mr. Nettleton to take me serious and perhaps start a project together with Mathematica. I am sorry for the misunderstandings I caused.

Posted by Maria Gellissen    June 23, 2011 at 3:05 am
Maria Gellissen

In addition to my text I want to give to think of one important point: we all know that sun warms glass very much up. Now we have a quick development of sunlight heat changing in electrical power. But all systems heat aswell the air. The same time – expessially in Germany where I live – we recognize the air is aggressively bevoming hot. Aggressive hot so people do no more going out in summer. We are blind to sea the relating factors…caused by one street models…?? We need more help for transparence, explaining easyser, making science more popular understandable. Mathematica can help. And I want to help too. Perhaps anybody want to give me a chance with my margemethod, to implement in some Mathematica chedules.

Posted by Maria Gellissen    June 23, 2011 at 3:15 am

it would be nice if you could spell out how data mining can be done with mathematica. would be much delighted to know the dos and donts

Posted by Derrick    May 30, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Leave a comment in reply to Douglas Kubler