back to article What's the cost of global warming?

Let us assume global warming is happening. Let us assume too that it is doing so at a rapid pace. What should we do about it? There are two very basic approaches. Either we can attempt to mitigate the problem by direct or indirect means, or we can go with the flow, and adapt to a warmer world. Let's examine the costs and …

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  1. John Imrie
    Boffin

    Nigel Lawson should know better Chaos hit him on Black Wensday

    He points out that in reality, climate change is gradual, and therefore easy to adapt to, and argues that non-directed market driven adaptation as crises occur is the by far the most logical and economical approach.

    This does not match with the scientific data. Ice cores from Greenland have shown that average temperature increases of 5C can occur in as little as 1 to 3 years. If this happened you could say good buy to the Greenland ice sheet and with it low lying cities such as New Orliens, Los Angeles, New York and London

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    56 pence per kg of CO2

    Well 1 litre of petrol is 2.32 kg co2, so if we reduce our co2 by 1 kg we also SAVE 56 pence.

    So the cost is negative, we simply use less fossil fuel by efficiency means and save 56 pence per kilo of petrol used. Yes? So fixing our CO2 problem is double plus good, saves us money and helps the environment.

  3. Bryce Prewitt
    Thumb Up

    Thank you.

    It is always nice to see a level headed, reasoned approach to the subject.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Another great article

    When are people going to start getting rational over climate change? Maybe not for a long time...

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  6. Britt Johnston
    Pirate

    NEO (not either or)

    What's wrong with trying to increase energy efficiency, reduce consumption, support the industrialising world and fix the worst problems as they arise?

    Reminds me of the BBC discussion of how north sea oil revenues should be spent: education and housing, better pensions, developing new technology, or whatever. In the end, the presenter, aged with make-up, concluded from far-future 2010 that Britain had just muddled through.

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  9. Chris Morrison
    Go

    Good Article

    he Global Warming myth goes on and on and on. We waste billions every year tryign to prevent a natural cycle when we could spend those billions actually changing peoples lives.

    Down with all envirohippie mentalists.

  10. Gianni Straniero
    Boffin

    Gradual climate change

    In contrast to Lawson's claim that climate change is gradual, evidence suggests the onset of the Younger Dryas event may have been as little as a decade. Greenland was rather suddently 15°C cooler. The average temperature in Britain dropped to 5°C. The end of the Younger Dryas was similarly abrupt. 10°C warming in three decades, perhaps less.

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1038%2F34346

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1038%2F362527a0

    There is no strong evidence that this was a global event, but it certainly had interesting consequences for Europe. If such "tipping points" exist, we may not have time to sit around hoping a technological solution will materialise, but I certainly don't have one in my garage. Anyone else?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm baffled - frankly.

    Prosperity is based on consumption - a capitalist principle?

    Simplistically - More (people (and/or) prosperity) = (consumption)**e.

    Consumption requires energy to produce, use, dispose and replace that which is consumed.

    Energy derived from fossil fuels releases CO2 and other "Global Warming" gasses.

    IF humanity accepts Adverse Global Climate (AGC) change is derived from "Global Warming" gas release and it wants to do something about it then a reduction in at least one of people/prosperity/consumption is required. Pricing is crude but works and only the rich - barring war - make out.

    Changing from fossil fuels as the energy source to an effective sustainable source (My clue is that waves cover 7/10s of the Earths surface!!) could help.

    It may be that AGC change is not human influenced. If so I'll probably not be around to find out but my Children might. However my retirement is likely to be a lot less comfortable in any event.

  12. Kit Temple
    Stop

    Technological Solutions

    "Perhaps the problem can be bypassed instead by present or yet-unknown technology. It is difficult to speculate about what such an advance would be, since the nature of the future is that it is unknown."

    With Kyoto, many people are searching for this technology because it will make big piles of cash.

    When Pollution = Cost, Technological Solutions to Pollution = Save Big Money.

    If you pump all the money into short-term charity items, then people will be pumping money into family planning drug development etc. because that is where the money is - and this future unknown technology will never take off because no-one cares about it (and the genius scientist who was going to develop the technology that saves the planet is instead making some miraculous family planning drug).

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Peak oil will fix it

    World oil production:

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/aer/txt/ptb1105.html

    2005 =73.81, 2006 =73.54, 2007 =73.27

    i.e. production is dropping even as demand is rising.

    Non conventional oil from stuff like Canadian tar sands is increasingly buffering it:

    Canadian production 2001 - 2005 (from same eia data):

    2,738.41 2,868.79 3,029.47 3,056.80 3,014.31

    And the drop off is brutal, see US production for details of that:

    U.S. production from 2002 to 2007 (x1000 barrel per day) continues to collapse:

    5,746 5,681 5,419 5,178 5,102 5,064

    So lets get real here, we're past the peak of conventional, and in the not to distant future we'll go past the non conventional peak. US$ will collapse (too much debt and too inefficient in it's use of oil), and the climate will be just fine.

    So pretending that we can't afford to reduce CO2 ignores the reality that we WILL reduce CO2 because WE HAVE NO FRIGGING CHOICE.

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  15. Schultz
    Go

    Not that simple

    I disagree with the notion, that the problem can be reduced to a degree Celsius here or there (even if that may turn out to be a dramatic experience for some boffins in Great Britain - start growing gills NOW!). We should rethink in general how we want to use / waste the fossil fuel we have and upping the price a bit may be in order to trigger smarter use.

    But then, whom am I talking to? We managed to increase the price of energy just fine without government intervention. Go, SUV, go!

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  18. goggyturk
    Flame

    Oh God

    Let's quote a Tory hate figure and a Green hate figure to back up our arguments. Let the flames begin!

    This is becoming ridiculous. Where's the troll icon?

    I'll only take these articles seriously if you try and get James Hansen on to explain the discrepancies in his temperature data.

  19. Gary F
    Coat

    Start your panic here

    The world's average temperature has risen 1 degree in the last 100 years? Oh my giddy aunt! What are we going to do? I can't remember there every being a rise in the world's temperature by this much! That's impossible! If the temperature has fluctuated by this much then maybe something worse will happen like giant volcanos appearing in London and New York, or is Earth on a collission course with the sun?

    1 degree in 100 years? Hang on, that's not even enough for me to save a few pennies on my central heating bill. What a con! I'm outta here.

  20. Frumious Bandersnatch
    IT Angle

    (neo-)Malthusianism?

    Isn't the Malthusian argument that, all things being equal,*agricultural* output becomes unable to keep pace with population growth? I read the section a few times but I'm still scratching my head to figure out what "Stern's Malthusianism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy" is supposed to mean. Yes, we can forsee that climate change will impact on available arable land, but Stern's position in favour of Kyoto-style co2 reduction would surely (a) work to reduce, not increase, the likelihood that agricultural land is lost to climate change, and (b) penalise agri-business much less (and possibly actually encourage it) than it would more polluting industries like manufacturing and construction? Is the point the article is trying to make simply that denying developing countries entry into the marketplace of heavier, more-polluting industries and technologies will reduce prosperity and lead to higher birth rates? If that's the case then calling the position "Malthusian" only applies to a subset of the economic issues at play, and the wrong ones at that (ie, industrial as opposed to agricultural).

    I do agree with the perceived sentiment that (neo-)Malthusianism is bunk, though. As pointed out in the article, prosperity puts a natural halt to unbridled population growth, so that there is no "Malthusian event horizon"--it's just a groundless fear with no basis in reality.

  21. Simpson

    Free Money

    "why is there a choice between fixing global warming and helping alleviate poverty and malaria? How about this instead: Let the super rich countries of the west do both"

    The US already does this. We have a $300,000,000,000 trade deficit with China. ( Its ok though, we'll just print more of it).

    So if the total cost to "alleviate poverty and malaria" is only 2.4 billion, I think China can handle it themselves.

  22. david g
    IT Angle

    More one-sided nonsense

    Where is the other side of the equation ? The lengthened growing season, the fewer winter deaths ? Never mind, answer already known......

    Can we have a Chicken Licken icon plese ?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Andy Pryke

    Go read Lomberg's work before you spout off on one. It's clear you have little to no clue what you are blathering on about. Lomberg is a top draw statistician who has written an incredibly well researched and detailed book on the state of the world, including climate change.

    Regarding your rubbish about chaotic systems, you need to think through the rubbish you are spouting before you spout it. The ice core (and general geological) record tells us that there are plenty of periods in the past where the earth has been both a lot warmer than now, and a lot colder than now. If there were natural mechanisms that reinforced this (positive feedback), then the earth would never have got back to it's current state. There has to be natural mechanisms of negative feedback to have a stable climate system. The climate is stable since it has stayed in a pretty narrow band for a hell of a long time. Any Engineer understands this. If your point about stable attractors were true, the fact that the earth has been both hotter and colder than now would have tipped us to one of these before - so I'll call bollocks on that as well.

    Final point of note. Do you actually know what traps the most carbon in the Earth's crust. I'll give you a hint, it is neither biomass, nor fossil fuels. In fact it's limestone. Go and read Lomborg, then go and read his sources (multiple thousands of them by the way), the try and write a decent referenced refutation of them. Other people have tried and failed.

  24. Doug Glass
    Go

    Let Us Be Equal-handed

    Let us assume global warming is wrong:

    http://www.junkscience.com/

  25. Robbie Simpson
    Go

    Space-based solution

    Why not simply chuck up some form of solar shade and vary the temperature when we feel like it ?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments

    "This does not match with the scientific data. Ice cores from Greenland have shown that average temperature increases of 5C can occur in as little as 1 to 3 years. If this happened you could say good buy to the Greenland ice sheet and with it low lying cities such as New Orliens, Los Angeles, New York and London"

    Yes, it is theoretically possible that such swings could occur (to land surface, not sea). But for the ice to melt, the change would have to remain "changed" for many years and not be just a blip, which is far more likely. We have not seen a change of that magnitude as far back as we can measure directly or via proxy. (Last year's drop in global temperatures was quite precipitous but was only around half a degree C.)

    "What's wrong with trying to increase energy efficiency, reduce consumption, support the industrialising world and fix the worst problems as they arise?"

    Nothing at all. I advocate and endorse such a general approach--provided always that it does not include measures that will slash world economic growth by up to half.

    "With Kyoto, many people are searching for this technology because it will make big piles of cash."

    Or without Kyoto, for that matter.

    "If you pump all the money into short-term charity items, then people will be pumping money into family planning drug development etc. because that is where the money is - and this future unknown technology will never take off because no-one cares about it"

    The point is that these "charity" items (investments, really) pay off in terms of greatly increased wealth and growth, to say nothing of the humanitarian benefits. That in turn translates directly into increased technological growth.

    "So fixing our CO2 problem is double plus good, saves us money and helps the environment."

    That depends on the cost. A hefty percentage of world growth is directly related to increased use (and low cost) of energy.

    Sure, a silver bullet would be terrific. And it may happen (or not). But until then, here we sit.

    I am disappointed by wind and solar--I would have thought they'd have done much better by now. But, sad to say, so far they simply haven't.

    "So lets get real here, we're past the peak"

    I think that the chokepoint is political rather than geological. Folks are making the same basic error that the Club of Rome made (and for much the same reasons).

    Peak oil: Peek and ye shall find!

    "We managed to increase the price of energy just fine without government intervention."

    As one wit put it:

    All we have to do the solve the oil crisis is to repeal the law.

    Of Supply and Demand.

    "I'll only take these articles seriously if you try and get James Hansen on to explain the discrepancies in his temperature data."

    Lord know, I've tried (sob) ... He never calls ... He never writes ...

    @Frumious Bandersnatch:

    Yes, as Malthus himself was big enough to admit, all thing are NOT "being equal".

    "So if the total cost to "alleviate poverty and malaria" is only 2.4 billion, I think China can handle it themselves."

    Unfortunately it's Africa that has the problem. China is still struggling to emerge from "non-affluence". Half of their population remains mired in "peasantry". China is therefore not willing or even able to lay out billions for that.

    It's on us. As the Spider-Man says, "With great power comes great responsibility."

  27. Evan Jones

    Why not indeed?

    "Why not simply chuck up some form of solar shade and vary the temperature when we feel like it ?"

    Funny you should say that. Like so totally. (Actually, I mentioned this in the original submitted version of the article). A one-time $trillion+ expense beat 1% of GWP per year. It's also a lot less risky than futsing with the atmosphere, because once done, that cannot be undone. And that sort of tech pays off in all sorts of indirect ways (cf the moon shot).

  28. Julian Lawton

    Reg Bias??

    The Register seems to love posting Global Warming sceptic stories. I like the 'bad science' angle, which is valid, but I'm dubious about the motives.

    I'd have more faith in Nigel Lawson and other economists views if they were in their 20s and therefore likely to live with the consequences of what they are suggesting now.

    Lest we forget Lawson also presided over a previous economic bust in the UK, so why should we trust his economic views.

    As for 'everything may be sorted out by an unknown technological advance' - and the housing boom was going to end with a soft landing too.

    The one thing that is supposed to distinguish us from animals if foresight, yet it seems that people believe that the 'invisible hand' of the market is somehow better still. I think recent events show how dumb that line of thinking is - correction can be catastrophic.

    Although of course it's always fine when you're a member of the international plutocracy.

  29. Andy Pryke

    @Andy Pryke

    Dear Anonymous Coward,

    My original comment appears to have disappeared. Perhaps because I referenced two articles which deconstructed the arguments of Lawson and Lomberg?

    Your point about chaotic systems is the same as mine. In the past the earth has had (for reasonably long periods of time) different climates. A combination of positive and negative feedbacks help to keep the climate stable in these states. When you intervene and change one of the variables in a system (e.g. CO2 content of the atmosphere), you risk moving into a new stable state.

    Nice to know my original comment did appear, if only for a short time.

    Any feedback from the eds as to why it was removed?

    Andy

  30. Evan Jones

    Stipulations

    "Let us assume global warming is wrong:"

    Only too glad to! #B^1

    (But that's extra.)

    Point is that EVEN if it's NOT wrong, the Kyoto/Stern cure amounts to:

    Patient: "Doctor, it hurts when I do that. "

    Doctor: "So don't do that."

  31. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Eh?

    "agriculture benefits from warmer temperatures" - nice blanket statement - tell that to African farmers. Some regions benefit (mostly Canada, Russia), some lose (mostly hot, poor countries). (Also projected gains tend to ignore water issues - dealing with those can be done but costs money, which again hurts the poor if food prices go up.)

    Some good points, but really, was the guy who said "a level headed, reasoned approach to the subject" being sarcastic??

    Question is basically who pays to reduce the risks to a reasonable level (bearing in mind the many non-climate-related costs/benefits to be had from various courses of action). Should be the rich countries and especially the rich in them (those who didn't lose their shirts last week, ha). That's not going to happen, so the burden of the risk is going to be spread unfairly, either in the near future via mitigation (poor countries, poor/middle-class taxpayers in rich countries) or distant future via adaptation/loss (ditto). Most likely both.

  32. Mark

    Wonderful Miracle Limestone

    "Final point of note. Do you actually know what traps the most carbon in the Earth's crust. I'll give you a hint, it is neither biomass, nor fossil fuels. In fact it's limestone"

    And how quickly does limestone grow?

  33. Evan Jones

    "Thanks for the thoughtful comments"

    For some reason the post entitled as such is credited to "Anonymous Coward", but in fact it was posted by me. (P.S., I am NOT the AC.)

  34. Evan Jones

    What grows? Who pays?

    "agriculture benefits from warmer temperatures" - nice blanket statement - tell that to African farmers. "

    Well, there's a paper out that world biomass over the last seventeen years has increased by 6% (close to the amount of CO2 increase, by the bye), and that increase has occurred primarily in the tropical rain forests.

    The problem with African farmers is African farming. Modernity can (and doubtless will) fix that in a (historical) jiffy.

    "Should be the rich countries and especially the rich in them (those who didn't lose their shirts last week, ha). That's not going to happen,"

    Yes and Yes. And it has already been happening for a number of decades, to varying effect. The question is not "who", but "how". (And the Kyoto/Stern approach ain't it.)

  35. Chris
    Boffin

    @56 pence per kg

    "1 litre of petrol is 2.32 kg of CO2"

    Huh? Given that the specific gravity of gasline at 60 F is 0.739 (from http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/specific-gravity-liquids-d_336.html) then a litre of it would mass approximately 739 g, or slightly less than 3/4 of 1 kg. Most of that is carbon.There is a bit (by weight) of hydrogen in there as well, but practically no oxygen. So for that to be able to contain more than three times its mass in carbon dioxide is totally ludicrous.

    Now, if you want to talk about the amount of CO2 produced by BURNING a litre of "petrol," in the presence of oxygen, that is another story entirely. How much oxygen? How complete is the combustion? What is the octane rating? Any other compunds present in the petrol? What happens to the exhaust afterwards?

  36. Evan Jones

    "It's in there"

    "Where is the other side of the equation ? The lengthened growing season, the fewer winter deaths ? Never mind, answer already known......"

    Page 2 ...

  37. Dr Stephen Jones
    Heart

    @ Julian's political correctness

    "The Register seems to love posting Global Warming sceptic stories. I like the 'bad science' angle, which is valid, but I'm dubious about the motives."

    You owe me a new keyboard.

    Do you apply your political correctness test generally? For example, say a publication exposes fraudulent accounting / Windows security hole / virus / etc. Are you dubious about the publication's motives then, too?

    Since when was debunking bad science conditional?

  38. Mark
    Boffin

    The Space Sunshde

    OK, so who gets the shade? If you make it big enough to cover the earth, it has to be bigger than the moon in diameter. If you don't make it that big, it won't cover a lot of the earth, so who gets to have night in the day?

  39. goggyturk
    Happy

    @ AC

    >I'll only take these articles seriously if you try and get James Hansen on to explain the >discrepancies in his temperature data."

    >

    >Lord know, I've tried (sob) ... He never calls ... He never writes ...

    I did say 'try', ya sarcastic, anonymous bastard!

    Seriously, why not try? If he says feck off then we all know where we stand...

  40. Evan Jones

    Made in the Shade

    "so who gets to have night in the day?"

    It doesn't come to that. And everybody gets it. Think multiple satellites (possibly supporting a mylar-type shield(s) in solarcentric (or not), pole-to-pole orbit.

    Of course, the cost would be enormous--perhaps about two years' worth of Kyoto/Stern!

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ACs don't RTFA

    "agriculture benefits from warmer temperatures"

    @AC: Yeah, that statement really needs a peer-reviewed scientific

    Compare biomass in Finland vs biomass in the tropics. But now you're really pulling unsupported statments out of your backside. Why stop there?

    "Some regions benefit (mostly Canada, Russia), some lose (mostly hot, poor countries)."

    Hot countries are already used to be hot. With continued economic development, which the Global Warming crowd are trying to stop, they'll get the water infrastructure they deserve.

    "That's not going to happen, so the burden of the risk is going to be spread unfairly, either in the near future via mitigation (poor countries, poor/middle-class taxpayers in rich countries) or distant future via adaptation/loss (ditto). Most likely both."

    The biggest burden faced by developing countries is Nicholas Stern flying in telling them not to build fossil fuel power plants.

  42. Evan Jones

    You Can Get Anything You Want . . .

    "Do you apply your political correctness test generally?" (@Julian)

    You sign in, you get , PROspected, PROjected, PROtected, COnnected, and COrrected . . .

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Well, how a litre of petro can contain three times its mass of CO2 ...

    Its called combustion.

    Oxygen from the atmosphere enters the burning cycle and forms CO2 with the burning petrol, thus forming more reactant mass, consequently it is possible for a litre of gasoline to form several times its own initial mass of CO2.

    Having said all that, I'm pretty sure its still a huge hoax or at the very least a statistical misinterpretation of data.

  44. Solomon Grundy

    Profitable Production

    Good article from no matter which side of the debate you are on.

    My only caveat to that would be the "profitable production" bit... history has proven that profitable production can often result in terrible short/medium term consequences. For example I'll submit any of the Super Fund sites and throw in the massive GE (General Electric) contamination in Berkshire County Massachusetts...

    Yes emissions markets are stupid, yes Kyoto is skewed (for lots of reasons), yes global warming may be overhyped and yes, it might be financially cheaper to do nothing, but using "profitable production" as a justification for very tangible bad shit is a lame argument. Your argument is that it's OK to get away with something terrible, as long as the press doesn't get wind of the fact that what you're doing may be as bad as what you are avoiding. i.e. Poisoning the planet, even though it may not contribute to Global Warming is not acceptable and using "profitable production" makes it sound like that's OK.

    Somehow I don't think that was the point the Author was trying to make, but that's why I thought I'd bring it up. He's sailing down a river with no end with that argument.

  45. Evan Jones

    ils ne passerant pas

    "Seriously, why not try? If he says feck off then we all know where we stand..."

    Many have. You can read some of his "feck off" letters at the dreaded Climate Audit. He did do a code dump last year (archaic FORTRAN, no instructions or manuals) that Mac & crew have been trying to de-reconstruct.

    It is interesting to note that both NASA/GISS and HadCRUT get their raw data from NOAA/GHCN. GISS takes the adjusted data and adjusts it further. No one knows what HadCRUT does, they shroud it in alchemic mystery. Yet the two series do not coincide.

    If you want to play it safe, go with UAH and UAH (lower troposphere). At least one avoids the numerous, obvious, serious (and a few less complimentary -ouses) issues with the surface stations. For sea temps, go with ARGOS.

  46. Snert Lee

    Other Planets?

    Global warming seems like this mountain of speculative conjecture built on top of an unproven what-if?

    Has it not been observed that the other planets of the solar system have been a wee bit warmer than usual these past several years as well? (Pointing the finger at the sun as source cause instead of automobile exhaust.)

    Anybody ever manage to explain that away without undoing the man-made side of the Earth global warming question?

  47. Jim Birch
    Joke

    Two Bob Experts

    I can't believe how a helluva lot of people think they are experts in an incredibly complex area of science. I've got a degree or two in this stuff, but right now I'm not spending a large chunk of my life analysing the problem in collaboration with people who actually know what they are talking about, so, I'm going to have to trust the experts. There's no good alternative to putting in a sustained effort on big complex questions. What we see in this article and it's comments thread what humans do when presented with a problems that are way more complex than their brains can absorb in an hour or day or two: grab a few feel-good factoids and fashioning them into a narrative.

    I guess you guys wouldn't baulk at redesigning your car engine to improve fuel efficiency or building a jet plane for your next holiday? Or would you trust the people who have put in years of actual training, data collection, sustained analysis and collaboration. Why do you bother going to a doctor when you're seriously ill, consult a lawyer if you need a watertight contract or even get a electrician to wire your house?

    When your DIY heart surgery goes well, I might trust you as an instant climate expert. Climate is tougher.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Space-based solution"

    I agree, and have thought about that in the past. It is the perfect solution (except it would be hard to implement, and expensive, but probably cheaper than other solutions)

    @Mark: the shades would not have to very big. They would not cause nightfall, only less light, as in cloudy day, also they do not have to be solid they could let in some light.

  49. Sentient
    Pirate

    Shortsighted

    Cynically all the people life's you saved will further pollute the environment.

    If we want the environment to sustain more people we have to live 'cleaner'.

    But why would people do that if they can't see an immediatte effect?

    In my opinion this article is missing the point.

  50. michael
    Boffin

    save mony?

    " Well 1 litre of petrol is 2.32 kg co2, so if we reduce our co2 by 1 kg we also SAVE 56 pence.

    So the cost is negative, we simply use less fossil fuel by efficiency means and save 56 pence per kilo of petrol used. Yes? So fixing our CO2 problem is double plus good, saves us money and helps the environment."

    saves yuo money yes BUT if you sdo not spend it then the garage makes less and the oil companys make lass and they can not pay there pepol who can not spend it on what ever you sell (or whoever pays your saliery sells) and you have less mony so spend and eventuley noboady can spend anything cos we are all sitting on our economic hands

    economics is not that simple

  51. Mark

    Other planets have different seasons.

    Also, have you treated these figures of extraplanetary changes with the same skepticism as you treat AGW?

    No?

    Then you're not a skeptic.

  52. wheelie
    Flame

    For the love of God!

    Agree Lee, completely agree:

    By Snert Lee Posted Monday 22nd September 2008 21:55 GMT

    Global warming seems like this mountain of speculative conjecture built on top of an unproven what-if?

    Has it not been observed that the other planets of the solar system have been a wee bit warmer than usual these past several years as well? (Pointing the finger at the sun as source cause instead of automobile exhaust.)

    Anybody ever manage to explain that away without undoing the man-made side of the Earth global warming question?

    www.greatglobalwarmingswindle.co.uk

    The only thing that the current C02 embargo achieves is to quash the African dream of developing alongside any other 3rd world country.

    What the hell is next? Taxing Joggers because of the increased C02 emmisson?

    Stop the world I want to get off for christsake!

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cats

    We should burn cats. There are far too many of them around these days, probably because people want cute furry pets and are too lazy to take a dog for walks.

    Would do wonders for the natural wildlife as well.

    Only possible downside is a rise in vermin, but I have thought of that, we burn rats and mice too.

    Job done, planet saved, pass the Nobel Prize.

  54. jelly
    Flame

    Who really cares... seriously now

    Ah well with AIDS and other transmittable packages of joy, the wars and starvation, while the poorer countries will still make up the bulk of CO2 emissions, they will steadily decline as the affluent bits of the world slash and burn the natural resources and then dump them to kill each other off... after all who really cares about the W*gs and Nig**s.....? <Edited for PC sake>

    We all know they never cared till now and then only when the world watches, otherwise we are the ideal dumping ground for any piece of broken hardware, garbage, inconvenient radioactive or other toxic waste... it is not like we will live long enough to actually be harmed by it all...

    shields up and braced.. bring on the fire!!!!!

  55. Swee' Pea
    Thumb Down

    Disappointing

    This article was billed as "What's the Cost of Global Warming? - The Answer May Surprise You"

    with fancy fire graphic.

    Well, I'm not surprised and haven't learned anything useful. No conclusions, no answers, not even a table comparing costs side by side.

    Reg, I can get the same from CNN and Fox News.

    Fellow commenters, you took the bait.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    meh

    "Fellow commenters, you took the bait."

    some of us just had nothing better to do at work

    an for obvious reasions

  57. alex d

    I'm disappointed

    I was expecting an article that would attack head-on the question, "ok, global warming's happening. so what?" Instead it was a lot less direct, and eventually wavered somewhere in talking about Kyoto and money. I wanted stuff about plants loving CO2 and needing less water as a result of its abundance. Stuff about how the well-established animals, not the waif pseudo-species in the rain forest, don't care about global warming because they'll hardly notice relocating themselves if the timescale is an entire century. (Same regarding humans displaced by sea level.) Stuff about how hurricanes, even if they increase, aren't scary if you just build your house out of brick and don't live in a city under the sea.

    I want an article that attacks that which isn't talked about. We keep going on and on about whether or not global warming will happen (or worse, bitching about whether it has), and rarely stop to actually question if it's something to unabatedly fear. Or if it's all just airy hype.

  58. Evan Jones

    Slumming it

    "Cynically all the people life's you saved will further pollute the environment.

    "If we want the environment to sustain more people we have to live 'cleaner'.

    "But why would people do that if they can't see an immediatte effect?

    "In my opinion this article is missing the point."

    No! I strenuously object to the godawful concept that more people automatically means more pollution. Modernity and technology are the drivers. New York with eight million people in it is FAR cleaner (and with less crowded living conditions) than New York when it had one million people. Back in those days, the city was knee deep in garbage and manure, choked with rancid smoke and swirling dried manure particles, and half its population were crowded into slums, six (or more) to a (small) room.

    Mere numbers of people are a factor, but they are NOT the primary factor.

    And if we weren't concerned with more than immediate effects, GW wouldn't even be an issue in the first place.

  59. Evan Jones

    "Dear Disappointed . . ."

    Costs of Kyoto (Molinari Inst. estimates):

    Germany: 0.8 per cent reduction of GDP (18.5 billion Euros), job loss: c. 200,000

    UK: 1.1 (or more) per cent reduction of GDP (22 billion Euros), job loss: c. 200,000

    Italy 2.1 reduction of GDP (27 billion Euros), job loss: c. 200,000

    Spain: 3.1 per cent reduction of GDP (26 billion Euros), job loss: c. 600,000

    For all four countries, average cost increases of Electricity: +26 per cent, Natural Gas: +41 per cent

    Stern proposes 1% of World GDP (the bulk to be assumed by the more affluent countries which would pay 1.8%.)

    Here is the cost-benefit relationship as estimated by Copenhagen for alternative solutions:

    BCR: Benefit/Cost Ratio

    DALY: Disability Adjusted Life Year

    The proposed interventions, with indicative benefit-cost ratios, are:

    1. Tuberculosis: 1 million adult deaths, 30 million DALYs averted; BCR 30:1

    2. Heart attacks (AMI): 300,000 heart attack deaths averted, 7.5 million DALYs; BCR 25:1

    3. Malaria: 500,000 deaths averted, 7.5 million DALYs; BCR 20:1

    4. Childhood diseases: 1 million child deaths averted, 20 million DALYs; BCR 20:1

    5. Cancer, heart disease, other: 1 million adult deaths averted, 20 million DALYs; BCR 20:1

    6. HIV: 2 million HIV infections averted, 22 million DALYs; BCR 12:1

    7. Injury, difficult childbirth, other: 30 million "surgical" DALYs averted, about 20% of DALYs; BCR 10:1

  60. Evan Jones

    Who Decides?

    "I've got a degree or two in this stuff, but right now I'm not spending a large chunk of my life analysing the problem in collaboration with people who actually know what they are talking about, so, I'm going to have to trust the experts."

    I don't buy it. This is not brain surgery. It's not even climatology, as I am stipulating AGW on the IPCC model.

    And there are many levels. You would willingly trust a mechanic to rip your car apart and put it back together again--but would you trust him to design it? I don't think so!

    This is demographics, plain and simple.

    It was, for example, a mere MA in physics (named Herman Kahn) who utterly smashed the Club of Rome "consensus".

    As for designating the decisionmaking process to experts, I have already made observations on this topic; in case anyone is interested:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/03/08/who-decides/

  61. Evan Jones

    jelly vs. jam

    I must disagree. The developed countries have done and continue to do a great deal to try to alleviate suffering in the third and fourth worlds.

    When I was a kid, India and China were starving. In terms of numbers involved, Africa was the least of the problem.

    So while we are despairing over Africa (as well we may), let us also consider the incredible improvement in the lives of most Southern Asians. And even in Africa, as bad as things are, starvation is no longer the problem it was forty years ago.

    I'll add that the world is not running out of any important resource whatever (even including, I would argue, oil). And that's certainly NOT what we have been (or are being) taught in our schools or hearing from the media.

  62. Evan Jones

    "And the skies are not cloudy all day."

    "Your argument is that it's OK to get away with something terrible, as long as the press doesn't get wind of the fact that what you're doing may be as bad as what you are avoiding. i.e. Poisoning the planet, even though it may not contribute to Global Warming is not acceptable and using "profitable production" makes it sound like that's OK."

    I do not intend to make that argument. I am not addressing conventional pollution such as particulates.

    That sort of pollution is relatively cheap and easy to clean up. Every developed nation in the world has done so on its own, without international intervention.

    China and India will clean up their particulate act on their own volition the very instant poverty becomes less of a killer than pollution--i.e., same as the industrial West did, and for the same reasons. (Give it two or three decades.)

    According to Mark Twain (i.e., heavy caveat), in 1840 St. Louis, thanks to raw coal smoke, you could not see the sun at noon.

    But carbon dioxide, unlike other industrial effluence, is VERY EXPENSIVE to get rid of. I do not intend to argue against "conventional" industrial anti-pollution measures. I AM arguing that before we reduce CO2 output to little positive effect at a cost of up to half of world economic growth that we need to consider the cost-benefit questions involved.

    GW may affect the lives of millions of poor in a century (or not). But what does one suppose the effect on the poor of this world will be if a third or more of economic growth is legislated away? Look at the terrible impact on the poor of the ethanol program + one harsh winter.

  63. Evan Jones

    Dear Disappointed II

    "I want an article that attacks that which isn't talked about. We keep going on and on about whether or not global warming will happen (or worse, bitching about whether it has), and rarely stop to actually question if it's something to unabatedly fear. Or if it's all just airy hype."

    But my dear fellow, there are scads and scads of articles on those very subjects. (Consensus OFF! Debate ON!) My esteemed editor [insert various ritualistic motions of obeisance] saw fit to head me off from those issues for that very reason.

    What this article does is stipulate global warming but nonetheless challenge the UN "solution" as inefficient, ineffective, intrusive, and in-etc..

  64. Sentient
    Black Helicopters

    Industry > Technology

    "No! I strenuously object to the godawful concept that more people automatically means more pollution. Modernity and technology are the drivers. New York with eight million people in it is FAR cleaner (and with less crowded living conditions) than New York when it had one million people. "

    Valid point but that's a long term effect. Short term effect is that if you buy a baby you pollute more. Pampers anyone.

    Now don't get me wrong It would be godawful to not save lives or allow people to have kids I just think that it doesn't hurt to give more incentive to the industry to come up with cleaner technology. But best to sign out here before someone mentions the war in Iraq. ;)

    I also value modernity and technology but I fear that it's the industry, or some rich capitalists that hold the strings.

  65. dominic bird
    Heart

    natural cycles not really that nice

    The writer seems to take the line that somehow non human induced climate change is somehow preferable to human induced climate change. Surely it would be preferable if we are causing the climate change because then we have the option of changing our actions to mitigate it. If it is some natural cycle that we don't understand and may not be able to do anything about wouldn't that be really, really bad?

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Gradual or sudden change? Or both?

    The climate has changed quite a bit in the past and (scarily) sometimes quite suddenly. I think everyone accepts that. But despite their efforts, climate scientists are unable to say WHY these sudden changes occurred. They are not obviously correlated with anything else that might have caused them.

    That's a very important point. It means you can't argue that increased CO2 in the atmosphere is likely to have any effect in precipitating one of these sudden changes. There is no evidence to support such a connection. Sudden climate change in the past has almost certainly arisen from some other cause entirely that we do not yet understand. Yet the climate scientists seem very keen to threaten us with the possibility that burning fossil fuels (which never occurred before) could cause a sudden climate transition.

    This is what makes people suspicious of their motives. An argument that superficially supports their case (but is in fact invalid) is trotted out to try and convince people. Instead, it has the opposite effect. We associate that sort of behaviour with politicians, who we do not trust. Scientists should not argue in such a way. If they do, even non-scientists can immediately see they are charlatans.

    I think a correct statement of what we know is:

    a) Variability, sometimes sudden, is a natural part of the Earth's climate.

    b) We do not know what causes it.

    c) Man's CO2 production is expected to result in a slow warming of the Earth.

    d) If, in addition, we see a sudden change in future, it is unlikely to be due to man's activities.

    e) Therefore, we should plan assuming a gradual change in the climate due to man.

    f) We should ALSO plan how to mitigate sudden climate change not of our making, because (like asteroid impacts) there'll be one sooner or later.

  67. Glen Turner

    Wriggling out of responsibility for the problem

    Quote: Lawson rejects the "dumb farmer" thesis that crops and methods will not change as conditions change. He points out that in reality, climate change is gradual and therefore easy to adapt to, and argues that non-directed market-driven adaptation as crises occur is the by far the most logical and economical approach.

    Oh dear, another common misunderstanding of the IPCC model. Recall that the IPCC model is designed to be conservative. This was politically necessary, as the IPCC model had to withstand criticism about its assumptions. Such a conservative model is useful: if it implies a 1C rise in air temperature, then the likelihood of that will be very high.

    Mathematically, this "conservative" means that systems with linear and non-linear components are modelled as only their linear components. The result is obviously a gradual model, since all non-gradual influences have been removed.

    Also obviously, what the IPCC model isn't best at is predicting the most likely change in climate (as opposed to the best case change) and it certainly isn't any good at all at modelling the dynamics of that change (gradual or sudden).

    If you chat with scientists in the IPCC contributing groups you find that almost all of them have an important non-linear (ie, sudden) components which they use in models of their own speciality. Personally, I'm inclined to think that these non-linear components will mask the linear components (ie, we will have a progression of sudden events).

    In any case, Lawson's claim of gradual change is simply an artifact of the model he has chosen to use. It's unlikely to be the case "in reality". I would have expected the author of the article, as a critic of the IPCC, to have understood the actual weaknesses of the IPCC model more clearly.

    Since he evidently doesn't, I'm pretty much dismissing this article as yet another rich person in a prolifigate nation trying to wriggle out of their responsibility to live more humbly.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Everyone forgot

    About the good intentions of a man who died on the 7th of January, 1943.

    Yet we happily use his creations every day, without thinking about it.

    Look him up, read up on his works in a serious and open-minded manner.

    Combine his work with other tech geared towards renewable energy, and you'll have a usable solution to energy crisis and global warming issues.

    He wanted mankind to be free, so let it be free :)

  69. Evan Jones

    Full Steam Ahead is the best bet

    "I also value modernity and technology but I fear that it's the industry, or some rich capitalists that hold the strings."

    One must, however, keep in mind that it is capitalist-generated wealth that is the lifeblood of technological advance. Remember, wealth is actually created by these rich capitalists, they don't steal it from the poor. When they create and/or acquire wealth, they either hire more people, invest in those who do, bank it (and the banks invest it), or spend it. They do not pile it into a great heap and sleep on it for a bed.

    So we may or may not like 'em, but they create the wealth that drives both modernity and technology.

    Further note: The richer a place gets, the lower the birthrates (just look at Western Europe). Why? Because we cross the line where kids are an essential (and profitable) asset to kids being a VERY expensive "luxury item"!

    "The writer seems to take the line that somehow non human induced climate change is somehow preferable to human induced climate change. Surely it would be preferable if we are causing the climate change because then we have the option of changing our actions to mitigate it."

    That is not my intent. I was not making a value judgment here. And, in fact, I do not disagree with your point. What is, is. The question is where we go from here. And to answer that we need at least to consider the cost-benefit question.

    @Anon. C.:

    I assume you refer to Tesla?

    The last time we know of that there was a truly radical change was roughly 12,000 years back. But being in a permanent state of battened-down hatches would probably cost more in lost production than the damage event would cause.

    I think the best idea is to create as much real wealth as quickly as possible (never forgetting that environmental damage must be deducted from the wealth factor). That will give man the greatest ability to react quickly and effectively to whatever nature throws at us.

  70. Evan Jones

    "Poor Tom's a-cold!"

    "In any case, Lawson's claim of gradual change is simply an artifact of the model he has chosen to use."

    The model I prefer is the observed record. And, for that matter, those observations appear to have been exaggerated by surface station site violations by, perhaps, a factor of two.

    "It's unlikely to be the case "in reality"."

    Why is it any more unlikely than not?

    "I would have expected the author of the article, as a critic of the IPCC, to have understood the actual weaknesses of the IPCC model more clearly."

    I do not address the IPCC model in the article except to stipulate that it is accurate and point out that it is more conservative than the Stern Review.

    "Since he evidently doesn't,"

    Oh, I do, I do. But not the way you think I should. It has a number of glaring weaknesses, now that you mention it.

    First, they grossly overestimated sea level rise (both ice melt and thermal expansion). Not because of their model or their input, but because they had done their sums wrong. This was pointed out, and they made the correction via supplement, but it's still in the AR4 body that makes all the rounds.

    Second, they still cling to the hockey stick, in spite of all statistical problems and contrary historical record. The neo-version is now under discussion, but it appears to be making the same basic errors as the last one did. (The polite term is "data filtering". There are less polite terms. Not to mention the ubiquitous PCA issues.)

    Third, the Aqua Satellite indicates (so far) that they are grossly overestimating the positive feedback number, and in fact the feedbacks are negative. That would help explain the slight decline in world temperatures since 2001. The entire AGW theory rests on that positive feedback number. Without it, forcing would be hugely reduced.

    Fourth, they do not properly account for the "big six" multidecadal oscillations (PDO, IPO, AMO, NAO, AO, AAO). All six flipped from cool phase to warm (on schedule) from 1976 to 2001. A half a degree rise in surface temperatures would be not only normal, but entirely expected. And at the end of last year the PDO went cold, with the NAO and the AO wavering, and, yes, global temperatures have dropped sharply. These cycles were not even discovered by science until 1998, or over ten years after the genesis of modern AGW theory.

    Fifth, they refuse to archive and make available their data and methods for independent review. (Peer review does NOT cut it.) That calls their conclusions into--very--serious question. In fact, it puts them quite out of court.

    Not to mention the structural problems regarding data vs. conclusions or the review issues (read "scandals").

    "I'm pretty much dismissing this article as yet another rich person in a prolifigate nation trying to wriggle out of their responsibility to live more humbly."

    Well, your prejudices would be misplaced. I am desperately poor. I actually earned less than the personal exemption rate last year. I live in a slum built a hundred and twenty years ago, one of the poorest buildings in the city. I drive no car; I have no license. I use mass transit exclusively. I eat little meat (I like it, but I can't afford it) and actually miss meals for lack of funds. I recycle. I do not use much power.

    In fact, according to that scandalous Australian "carbon pig" meter, I "deserve" to live to a ripe old age.

    Unless I am much mistaken, I can out-humble your lifestyle five to one.

    However, I have every hope that things will improve and I will be able join the less humble ranks of those whom you apparently despise. Wish me luck! #B^1

  71. John Philip
    Stop

    Censorship

    "The model I prefer is the observed record. And, for that matter, those observations appear to have been exaggerated by surface station site violations by, perhaps, a factor of two."

    What does that mean exactly? ANd if the surface station record is exaggerated, why does it correspond so closely with the satellites ... http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/4way.jpg ?

    "First, they grossly overestimated sea level rise (both ice melt and thermal expansion). Not because of their model or their input, but because they had done their sums wrong. This was pointed out, and they made the correction via supplement, but it's still in the AR4 body that makes all the rounds."

    If you mean the typo spotted by Viscount Monckton then you are misttaken, it has been corrected in the main text. The sea level rise projections in the 2001 AR3 turned out to be a slight underestimate by contrast

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1136843

    "Second, they still cling to the hockey stick".

    Hardly. In addition to Mann, we have many other reconstructions, eg Moberg (2005), all of which reinforce the basic conclusions. See the NAS report ...

    "The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes both additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators, such as melting on icecaps and the retreat of glaciers around the world, which in many cases appear to be unprecedented during at least the last 2,000 years."

    http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=6222006

    Mann updated the Hockey Stick study just this year and released every last scrap of data and code that supports it. Oh, and even his critics concede that changing the PCA centring has negligible impact on the conclusions.

    "Third, the Aqua Satellite indicates (so far) that they are grossly overestimating the positive feedback number, and in fact the feedbacks are negative."

    Nope. http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Increase_In_Atmospheric_Moisture_Tied_To_Human_Activities_999.html

    You shouldn't believe everything you read in The Australian.

    Anyhoo, that's three factual errors. I am lowering my usual 'I give up' threshold because you did not see fit to release my earlier little critique and its references and animadversions. Ironic, then, that you complain of scientists limiting access to information huh?

    ;-)

  72. Evan Jones

    Target unmarked

    "The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years."

    That doesn't confirm the hockey stick. It refutes it. 1000 AD is exactly the time period we are talking about. If 1000 AD was as warm as today, you can dumper the hockey stick then and there.

    Furthermore, the Mann et al (MBH) 1998 graph says no such thing. It has the temps a thousand years back flattened out into the hockey stick with the MWP a mere (minor) blip.

    I don't see how he can keep flogging this dead horse in light of the historical, archaeological , and literary record, though. Even if his data was right and true, which I doubt, he is contracted by the eyewitnesses. And by God, if the Cathedrals are any evidence.

    And if you are a liberal atheist like me, you can instead take the word of the Emperor's cherry trees (Harvard-Smithsonian study, 2003), the Greenland digs, or the schmutz under the ice up there.

    "Mann updated the Hockey Stick study just this year and released every last scrap of data and code that supports it. Oh, and even his critics concede that changing the PCA centring has negligible impact on the conclusions."

    In that case I'll be reading all about it in the funny papers. But unless something has changed in the last two days, it's more of the same. "Filtering" out data that disagreed and "weighting" that which agrees. And if Briffa has released what he has refused to release for eight years, I will be more than a little surprised.

    And the last critics I read had all sorts of nasty stuff to say about "Mannian PCA" and its effect. (But I'll check to see if they have retracted any of it.)

    I hope you are right about a full release, though. It will be lots of fun running red noise through the algorithm again. The last time, random data produced a hockey stick every time (I'm sure you've seen the embarrassing results).

    "Nope."

    Yup.

    The water has gone to low-level cloud cover not ambient vapor. That does not enhance the greenhouse effect, it increases albedo. And only at the lowest altitudes. At all other altitudes, the atmosphere has actually become drier.

    That would explain the flat temperatures since 1998. (That plus the fact that the "big six" were all in warm phase and have nowhere to go but cool.) Even the triple Los Ninos that followed on failed to hit the 1998 level. (GISS being the outlier again.)

    "You shouldn't believe everything you read in The Australian."

    Nope, that's Spencer's conclusion (merely quoted by Marohasy). So far he has not been refuted. We'll see.

    So that's no factual errors.

    But I digress. For the purpose of this article I stipulate that the IPCC is correct, has been correct, and will be correct. The article is not about the alleged strengths and/or shortcoming of the IPCC AR4. It is about what to do if AR4 has it right.

    Furthermore, I have no editorial power here and I have no idea what you are talking about regarding any failure to "release my earlier little critique". I never saw it and do not know what it said.

    I will add though, that any decision not to allow commentary has NO similarity WHATEVER with a scientist refusing to release data and methods. The former may be termed "censorship". But the latter must be termed "alchemy".

    As I may wind up taking a closer, more technical look at Mann Overboard (v. 2008), I will refrain from further commentary on the subject for now. I don't want to use up all my spit at once. Later, maybe. #B^1

  73. Evan Jones

    Kits vs. Bulldogs

    "ANd if the surface station record is exaggerated, why does it correspond so closely with the satellites ... http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/4way.jpg ?"

    See :

    Ross R. McKitrick, Patrick J. Michaels , JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, DECEMBER 2007, Quantifying the influence of anthropogenic surface processes and inhomogeneities on gridded global climate data

    (No abstract) http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/jgr07/M&M.JGR07-background.pdf

    Abstract only: http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2007/2007JD008465.shtml

    Yes, I know your opinion of Kit is about the equivalent of what mine is of tamino (or "Hansen's Bulldog", as he styles himself).

  74. John Philip
    Thumb Up

    Reprise

    Oh, I posted a few suggestions on improvements to the original piece, I am not going to type them all out again, here are just the worst factual errors and chery-picks

    Factual error: Stern did NOT use the IPCC worst case, he reported on the effects of a range of possible temperature increases, however for his economic modelling he favours IPCC scenarios A2 and A1F1, which are actually mid range scenarios.

    Factual error: The 550ppm figure quoted by Stern is CO2 equivalent (CO2e). This is a measure of the effect of all GHGs, with the effects of the non-CO2 gases converted to the equivalent conentration of CO2. Your 385ppm figure is for CO2 only. The current CO2e figure is actually about 430ppm.

    Factual Error; Hurricane intensity has increased since the seventies - the number of Cat 4 and Cat 5 storms has nearly doubled. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/309/5742/1844

    Factual Error: 1.3% is Stern's figure for the growth in CONSUMPTION, not GDP. (Chapter 6 Page 161)

    Misleading and Selective: "Direct benefits from $800bn spent on direct mitigation of global warming would yield only 90 cents' benefit per dollar."

    The report in question considered 4 scenarios, you have quoted only the worst case, mitigation only, that has a negative outcome. Yohe found that a more realistic mix of mitigation. R&D and adaptation yields a return of $2128bn for the $800bn outlay.

    See table 4.1 here http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/Admin/Public/Download.aspx?file=/Files/Filer/CC08/Papers/0%20Challenge%20Papers/CP_Global_Warming_-_Yohe.pdf

    Factual Error: Stern projects that extreme weather alone will result in an increased loss of several percent of GDP

    Where does he? In the exec summary Stern projects a loss by 2050 of 0.5 to 1% GDP. The current figure is approx 0.2% so his proejcted increase is at most 0.8%. He states this will increase further but nowhere gives the figure attributed to him.

    And so on and so forth, Lomborg's claim on increased heat deaths vs reduced cold deaths is anatomised here:

    http://www.lomborg-errors.dk/coolitBchap2heat.htm

    in a website set up solely to catalogue his many scientific errors.

    Hope this helps. and bye for now.

  75. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  76. Mike Hocker
    Alien

    100 year horizon??

    Going back a bit over 100 years, people were worried about the future depth of horse manure in New York City wth the population increasing.

    Well, it did not happen, technology intervened.

    Presuming that tomorrow will be like yesterday might be all well and good for a model, but it beggars reality. Presuming that today's tech will still be used 100 years from now-- or even that humans are similar to humans now-- is an unrealistic modelling scenario. Why bother wasting the energy on the futile exercise?

    The worst part is, bureaucrats are trying to use the bogus models to stifle development to accomplish a goal that only works if technological advance is also crushed. Hopefully, the meek shall inherit the Earth while the rest of us inherit the Universe!

  77. Evan Jones
    Coat

    Reprise Reply

    "Factual error: Stern did NOT use the IPCC worst case, he reported on the effects of a range of possible temperature increases, however for his economic modelling he favours IPCC scenarios A2 and A1F1, which are actually mid range scenarios."

    If so, that makes matters worse. If he projects a 1% GDP sacrifice/year to avoid even the moderate IPCC scenarios, lord knows what the projection would be for the worst case.

    "Factual error: The 550ppm figure quoted by Stern is CO2 equivalent (CO2e). This is a measure of the effect of all GHGs, with the effects of the non-CO2 gases converted to the equivalent conentration of CO2. Your 385ppm figure is for CO2 only. The current CO2e figure is actually about 430ppm.:

    If so, that makes it much more draconian. It means he wants to stabilize at only +80 ppmv carbon overall rather than at +125 ppmv CO2. I stand corrected. And YIKES!

    "Factual Error: 1.3% is Stern's figure for the growth in CONSUMPTION, not GDP. (Chapter 6 Page 161)"

    That is a distinction with almost no difference. Change wording to consumption, then.

    "Misleading and Selective: "Direct benefits from $800bn spent on direct mitigation of global warming would yield only 90 cents' benefit per dollar."

    "The report in question considered 4 scenarios, you have quoted only the worst case, mitigation only, that has a negative outcome. Yohe found that a more realistic mix of mitigation. R&D and adaptation yields a return of $2128bn for the $800bn outlay."

    The whole idea is to point out the negative benefits of mitigation only as compared with adaptation. It is stated quite clearly that direct mitigation is what is being evaluated. My objection is not to R&D. My objection is to carbon cap-and-trade. In fact, my best guess is that if it turns out there is a real and severe problem, it will be wildcat R&D that will save us, not mitigation.

    "Factual Error; Hurricane intensity has increased since the seventies - the number of Cat 4 and Cat 5 storms has nearly doubled."

    Total Accumulated Cyclone Energy, however, is down. Cat 4 and 5 storms are (and continue to be) quite rare. The ONLY reasons damage is up over the past are the huge increase in houses built in danger zones and the huge increase over the decades in property value. For example, a house on Fire Island cost $2000 in 1949 (uninflated). They go for a half million a pop, these days. Even with inflation, that's a huge increase in value.

    "Factual Error: Stern projects that extreme weather alone will result in an increased loss of several percent of GDP

    Where does he? In the exec summary Stern projects a loss by 2050 of 0.5 to 1% GDP."

    I did not say by 2050. Stern estimates to 2200. His estimates are MUCH higher at the end (and are the whole point of the Stern Review). Otherwise, he is not much more than an echo of Kyoto. And, as I point out, assuming such costs after two centuries of technology are not realistic.

    Happy to answer.

    Make mine polar bear fur. It's going to be a cold one and I want to pick on a species in no material danger that has tripled in number over the last fifty years. in spite of hundred per year still being hunted out by Inuits in Canada. (And no, while I wear leather, I do not wear real fur. I live the greenest lifestyle I know of for someone who does not actually believe in it.)

  78. Evan Jones

    Hocking the Future

    "Presuming that tomorrow will be like yesterday might be all well and good for a model, but it beggars reality. Presuming that today's tech will still be used 100 years from now-- or even that humans are similar to humans now-- is an unrealistic modelling scenario. Why bother wasting the energy on the futile exercise?

    "The worst part is, bureaucrats are trying to use the bogus models to stifle development to accomplish a goal that only works if technological advance is also crushed. Hopefully, the meek shall inherit the Earth while the rest of us inherit the Universe!"

    I totally agree.

    And that is why Malthus was wrong (within his own lifetime). And that is partially why the Club of Rome was wrong (though they made far more fundamental errors).

    Longterm-projections-plus-utter-lack-of-vision is the weakest part of the Stern Review. And as it's what the Review is all about in the first place . . .

  79. John Philip

    Very amusing

    "That is a distinction with almost no difference. Change wording to consumption, then."

    LOL! I am sorry but you simply cannot, in a piece purporting to be a serious economic analysis, say that the difference between consumption and production is negligible and expect to be taken seriously. That, and the many other factual errors render the analysis incredible.

    Regards to Steve Goddard.

    JP.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Evan Jones

    "Full Steam Ahead is the best bet "

    By Evan Jones Posted Wednesday 24th September 2008 16:18 GMT

    @Anon. C.:

    I assume you refer to Tesla?

    ---

    Correct, Nikola Tesla. Thank you for remembering. :)

  81. Evan Jones
    Paris Hilton

    Pretty weak

    Sorry, the assumption of a 1.3% growth in consumption between now and 2200 is absurdly low. Not only that, but that figure assumes no impact whatever from climate.

    But we'll always have Paris.

  82. Evan Jones

    Errata

    "If so, that makes it much more draconian. It means he wants to stabilize at only +80 ppmv carbon overall rather than at +125 ppmv CO2. I stand corrected. And YIKES!"

    I did my own sums wrong here. It should be +120 and +165, respectively.

  83. John Philip
    Stop

    Did you actually READ the Stern review?

    A tip - when in a hole, stop digging.

    "the assumption of a 1.3% growth in consumption between now and 2200 is absurdly low. Not only that, but that figure assumes no impact whatever from climate."

    The figure is not actually Stern's. He derives it from the PAGE2002 model. I'll leave you to Google the acronym, but I'll start you off with a clue... the G stands for Greenhouse.

    Sugning off now, I really do have better things to do with my time.

  84. John Philip

    Weapons grade balonium

    That should be erratum. Which says it all really.

    YIKES, however, is apposite.

  85. Evan Jones
    Happy

    Sigh . . .

    "Did you actually READ the Stern review?"

    All 8 PDF files. Another three days of my life I will never get back..

    "A tip - when in a hole, stop digging."

    Excellent advice. You' seem to be in around ten feet already.

    It's the figure Stern uses. Stern also says it does not include climate effects. Here's the full cite.

    "We approximate utility from 2200 to infinity based on an assumed, arbitrary rate of per-capita

    consumption growth g, which is achieved by all paths, as well as assessing constant population. We use 1.3% per annum, which is the annual average projection from 2001 to 2200 in PAGE2002’s baseline world without climate change."

    "Sugning off now, I really do have better things to do with my time."

    No doubt.

  86. Evan Jones

    Pedantic Antic?

    Two corrections are "erratum", then? Hmmm . . .

    But I get your valuable life's lesson: Never trust the judgment or conclusions of a scientist who says "data" when (s)he meant "datum" or makes a grammatical error.

    (I thought you had "sugned" off?)

  87. Jock

    alpha and omega

    Thanks Evan. For the follow up as much as the article itself.

    I am finding it increasing hard to stomach the alarmists. Pedantry would be the least of their sins. Hiding behind it would seem to be one of their best defenses.

    Alarm is turning to fear. They cannot lead all of us to the slaughter so they are attempting to push.

    I wish they could point to a weapons grade expose of CO2. I wish they could point to an engineer quality expose of CO2 atmospheric lifetime.

    Instead they point to IPCC, rc, tamino and other blogs because anyone who creates dissonance is abruptly cast aside as retired, out of their field, previously proved second hand asbestos shouldn't be used to stuff children's toys, has a book out, worked for an oil company which now pays more to environmentalists than heretics, and other blathering tedious shite.

    They have zero problem insisting that we should divert the major economies of the world to combat the phantom menace yet resist the infinitely cheaper option of debate.

    They can all foxtrot oscar.

  88. Andrew Gister
    Thumb Up

    Control over cure

    Liberty comes from the individuals economic freedom, not control by our governments over our choices based on a political adgenda and not scientific facts Will someone please show me the irrefutable connection between global warming and human influence on it. Also show me the connection to measures we take and the direct effects on preventing/mitigating warming The check PM is right its all about gov't control

  89. Andrew Gister

    Return to the Simple life

    I look forward to spending all my time and money on government programs to help the planet

    Looking forward to living the 1st century AD lifestyle

  90. Evan Jones

    Bentime for Bonzo

    "I am finding it increasing hard to stomach the alarmists."

    The problem is that we NEED these people to sound the alarm in case of real emergency. But it's not as if their problem is a mere happy trigger on the panic button; they have been crying wolf.

    They have been dead wrong on almost every largescale environmental/demographic issue since the 1960s, from population to resources. No only wrong (tolerable) but indescribably sanctimonious (infuriating) and utterly unable to acknowledge past mistakes or change course (downright dangerous).

    And the solution (deindustrialization) is always the same, no matter what the emergency. It reminds one of a 10-year old kid who has twenty-eleven pressing social, academic, and emotional issues--all of which can be mysteriously solved if he is only allowed to stay up until 11:30.

    It's frustrating. There are real wolves out there. And we need legitimate warnings. But when the alarm bell is sounding off twenty-four/seven we can't function day-to-day without shutting it off.

    That state of affairs could get us all killed one fine day.

    Saying that we want "all these people" to "go away" makes it too easy on them. They are too important.

    We need them to buckle down, sober up, and learn to distinguish between phantom and real threats. And come up with SOME other solution that does not involve "shutting down the engine that moves the world". For a damn change.

    No, you can't stay up till 11:30, kiddo. Try again.

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