Unforeseen Climate Debates Coming

The Trump administration is rolling out nominees for various cabinet positions and the transition team is submitting questions to federal departments required for their due diligence prior to the handover of executive responsibility.

All this is normal procedure, yet the climate establishment is going ballistic. The Progress websites have gone into overdrive, led by Podesta and funded by Soros and Steyer. It is a massive outpouring of articles intended to inflame and incite outrage against anything the Trumpers are up to in taking up their mandate.

Other alarmists are producing reports like this recent one: Trump’s transition: sceptics guide every agency dealing with climate change, from the Guardian (here).  In all such communications, the appointees are profiled, and denigrated:

Trump has assembled a transition team in which at least nine senior members deny basic scientific understanding that the planet is warming due to the burning of carbon and other human activity. These include the transition heads of all the key agencies responsible for either monitoring or dealing with climate change. None of these transition heads have any background in climate science.

Trump has also nominated Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA and is expected to pick congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers to head the interior department. Pruitt has claimed that scientists “continue to disagree” about the causes and extent of global warming while McMorris Rodgers has said that former vice-president Al Gore, who has championed climate action, “deserves an ‘F’ in science.”

Time for Climatists to Put Up or Shut Up

Amazingly, these long-entitled activists are blind to the opportunity now presented to them. For many years, climate alarmists have refused to debate the science of their position, declaring that the “science is settled.” People like John Christy suggested that there could be at least a little funding for “red teams” to present the counter view to IPCC consensus science. All was for naught when true believers were in power.

Now there will be roundtable discussions at the highest levels of powerful departments and agencies, such as Energy, Interior, NASA, and EPA. If the incoming powers-to-be are uneducated in climate science, let those concerned about global warming make their case, show their facts, convince skeptical people through reason and persuasion. It is now time to put up or shut up. It is exactly the wrong time to be appealing to emotions and trying to stir up craziness. Moral indignation and trash-talking the other side is the opposite of engaging in discussion and debate over what is claimed to be an essential issue of our times.

We may yet have the great climate debates so long avoided by those convinced they had all the answers and the others should just trust them. If climatists have something reasonable to say and not just fear and bullying, it is time to step up to the plate.

As Greg Sorrell writes at the Federalist (here), the Trump administration is right to take emotion out of climate policy.

One of the last formal debates was prior to 2009 Copenhagen COP. Pre-debate the audience was 61% Pro and 39% Con on the premise: Climate change is mankind’s defining crisis, and demands a commensurate response. Post-debate, it was 53% Pro and 47% Con.  With such results occurring frequently, climatists stopped participating.

Canada announces new climate change goal: increase meetings by 88%

 

Amazingly, it has become possible to do satire of political climate change activism.  CBC has always promoted climate alarm and has been for many years a platform for alarmist environmentalist David Suzuki.  Just recently however, 22 minutes and CBC comedy have been unleashed, demonstrated by the video above and the fake news release below.

Canada announces new climate change goal: increase meetings by 88% by the year 2019  (here)

“There are many ways we can take concrete action to fight the reality that we have to fight global warming,” Trudeau explained to reporters Friday. “Meetings, for example. Summits. Conventions. Assemblies. Commissions. Oh, and talks.”

Increasingly desperate David Suzuki staples left nostril shut to cut carbon emissions by 50%

“It’s not going to be easy, but Canada really has to be a leader on this,” he continued. “We as a nation have to challenge ourselves to nearly double the number of climate change meetings we’re currently having, and truly commit ourselves to leaving it at that. I have faith that this government has what it takes to meet endlessly and never actually take any meaningful action to mitigate the inevitable and impending disaster we all know is looming.”

Trudeau went on to explain that other nations are surpassing Canada in the number of meetings they’re having – and that that is unacceptable.

“Look at the Chinese leaders – they meet like every week,” he said. “American leaders used to meet every day, though that’s definitely about to change. I heard their new targets involve reducing climate meetings by 100% by the year 2017.”

Trudeau concluded his remarks by emphasizing the undeniable reality that time is quickly running out.

“The glaciers are melting. Our winters are getting warmer every year. Smog is out of control. We can’t afford to just sit around and do nothing. We need to sit around and talk about how we’ll do nothing.”

Welcome to the new world of free speech on climate change.

Footnote for those not familiar with the Canadian scene:

Characters in the video are

Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Dr. David Suzuki, Environmental Scientist

Elizabeth May, MP and Leader of the Green Party

green-party-may

 

Clamatology

clamSome reporters are showing an interest in a lesser known proxy for climate change: giant clams. Of course, some scientists claim clams prove unprecedented global warming this century. Unsurprising since their funding (clams) depends on sounding the alarms.

For some insight into the connection between clams and climate, here is a paper Giant clam recorders of ENSO variability (here).

Giant clam stable isotope profiles from Papua New Guinea faithfully record all the major El Niño events between 1986 and 2003, thus illustrating the usefulness of this archive to reconstruct past ENSO variability. Elliott et al.

In northern Papua New Guinea precipitation and temperatures are coupled on seasonal and interannual timescales. El Niño periods are associated with lower than average SST and drier conditions, whereas La Niña periods are associated with higher than average SST and wetter conditions. The associated changes in sea water δ18O and SST will thus have cumulative effects on shell δ18O, which will become more positive during El Niño and more negative during La Niña phases.

clam-fig2

Figure 2: Comparison of T. gigas δ18O profile with ENSO index, local temperature and rainfall data. A) NINO3.4 index, (B) 3pt smoothed monthly rainfall anomaly (mm day-1, NASA/GPCPV2) for 146.25°E, 6.25°S, (C) T. gigas δ18O record, (D) Porites δ18O profiles and (E) 3pt smoothed monthly SST anomaly (from IGOSS) for the same grid box as the rainfall data. Y-axes of the δ18O are inverted. The shaded bands indicate El Niño events.

The comparison of the ENSO index with the T. gigas and Porites δ18O records shows that each El Niño event is recorded in the shell and coral profile by isotopic shifts of around 1.0 to 1.2‰ toward more positive values (Fig. 2) reflecting the combined influence of lower temperatures and decreased rainfall. During the El Niño phase of the Southern Oscillation, the region experiences relative drought and slightly reduced SSTs (~-0.2 to -0.5°C anomaly, see Fig. 2). These factors combine to drive skeletal δ18O to heavy values, with SST explaining about 30-50% of the skeletal δ18O range.

Take away message

We show that shells of T. gigas can be used to produce multi-decadal climatic records, hence providing a valuable resource for investigating changes to the frequency and strength of ENSO events in the past. The excellent reproducibility of clam and coral δ18O profiles illustrates the strength of using these archives to reconstruct large-scale hydrographic changes.

Some points worth noting: Clamshell variability is influenced by precipitation as well as water temperature. And water temperatures do not simply correlate to air temperatures. Finally, it is the water heating the air, not the other way around.

The data is good, but the interpretation can be biased by warmist beliefs.

Three Wise Men Talking Climate

Everyone is entitled to their opinion on climate change, although renowned theoretical physicists may be especially persuasive. This post compares quotes from 3 of the most distinguished: Stephen Hawking (much in the news lately since Trump’s election), Freeman Dyson and Richard Feynman. Hawking is an alarmist, Dyson a skeptic and Feynman concerned about scientific integrity.

Stephen Hawking is a phenomenal human being, original thinker on grand design and genuinely concerned about humanity and our planetary home. His own battle with frailty gives weight to his opinions and observations. Thus when he meets with the Pope or Al Gore and warns about future global warming, many people will take his words seriously.

Comments on Climate Change by Stephen Hawking

On May 31, 2016 he said: “A more immediate danger is runaway climate change,” Hawking said. “A rise in ocean temperature would melt the ice-caps, and cause a release of large amounts of carbon dioxide from the ocean floor. Both effects could make our climate like that of Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees.”

“Six years ago I was warning about pollution and overcrowding, they have gotten worse since then,” Hawking said. “The population has grown by half a billion since our last meeting with no end in sight. At this rate, it will be 11 billion by 2100. Air pollution has increased by 8 percent over the past five years.”

Elsewhere he has said, “I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet,” going on express concerns about consuming earth’s natural resources, nuclear war, climate change, genetically-engineered viruses and the rise of artificial intelligence spelling planetary doom.

Those are his opinions, not shared by other equally distinguished theoretical physicists, two examples being Freeman Dyson and Richard Feynman.

Freeman Dyson is best known for his contribution to Quantum Electrodynamics. Quantum Electrodynamics is the field where scientists study the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with electrically charged matter within the framework of relativity and quantum mechanics. Dyson wrote two books on the subject of Quantum Electrodynamics. His books influence many branches of modern day theoretical physics.

In his quest to expand our world of knowledge, properly control nuclear power, and discover more information on quantum electrodynamics, Freeman Dyson has written a large collection of books that explains how he believes that the world should grow more efficiently.

Comments on Climate Change by Freeman Dyson

I was in the business of studying climate change at least 30 years ago before it became fashionable. The idea that global warming is the most important problem facing the world is total nonsense and is doing a lot of harm. It distracts people’s attention from much more serious problems.

When I listen to the public debates about climate change, I am impressed by the enormous gaps in our knowledge, the sparseness of our observations and the superficiality of our theories.

We simply don’t know yet what’s going to happen to the carbon in the atmosphere.

We do not know how much of the environmental change is due to human activities and how much [is due] to long-term natural processes over which we have no control.

Computer models of the climate….[are] a very dubious business if you don’t have good inputs.

To any unprejudiced person reading this account, the facts should be obvious: that the non-climatic effects of carbon dioxide as a sustainer of wildlife and crop plants are enormously beneficial, that the possibly harmful climatic effects of carbon dioxide have been greatly exaggerated, and that the benefits clearly outweigh the possible damage.

The people who are supposed to be experts and who claim to understand the science are precisely the people who are blind to the evidence. Those of my scientific colleagues who believe the prevailing dogma about carbon dioxide will not find Goklany’s evidence convincing. . .That is to me the central mystery of climate science. It is not a scientific mystery but a human mystery. How does it happen that a whole generation of scientific experts is blind to obvious facts?


Richard Feynman revolutionized the field of quantum mechanics through conceiving the Feynman path integral,and by inventing Feynman diagrams for doing relativistic quantum mechanical calculations. Further he won the Nobel prize for his theory of quantum electrodynamics, and finally in particle physics he proposed the parton model to analyze high-energy hadron collisions.  He died in 1988 before global warming obsession was popularized, and so his comments apply mainly to how scientific theories should be treated with integrity.

Comments on Scientific Integrity by Richard Feynman

How Science Works: “In general, we look for a new law by the following process. First, we guess it (audience laughter), no, don’t laugh, that’s really true. Then we compute the consequences of the guess, to see what, if this is right, if this law we guess is right, to see what it would imply and then we compare the computation results to nature, or we say compare to experiment or experience, compare it directly with observations to see if it works.  If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is… If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.”

It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid–not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked–to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can–if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong–to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.

Summary

Hawking has gone to the dark side, foreseeing disaster from numerous modern developments, and includes climate change without challenging the precepts with his considerable critical intelligence. Dyson has analyzed radiative activity in quantum electrodynamics and sees clearly that effects from humanity’s minuscule addition to the trace gas CO2 does far more good for the biosphere than it does harm. Feynman encourages us not to accept answers claimed to be unquestionable.

This post was inspired by Lubos Motl, who blogged similarly on another issue (here), and Ivar Giaever who has long spoken out against alarmist claims. Two more outstanding physicists who have actually examined global warming claims and found them wanting.

Pipeline Facts vs. Fears

This week Canadian PM Justin Trudeau announced federal approval for 2 pipeline projects:  Trans Mountain and Line 3 expansions.  From a press report (here):

Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion has become a lightning rod for climate protests from coast to coast, with opponents from among Trudeau’s own caucus of Liberal MPs and his political ally, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Climate campaigners and indigenous groups immediately attacked the government decision as a betrayal, while B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak issued an anodyne statement noting the province’s own environmental assessment of Trans Mountain continues.

The fight overshadowed quieter deliberations about Enbridge’s proposed replacement of Line 3, a half-century-old pipeline from Alberta to the United States that Trudeau approved Tuesday, effectively doubling its current working capacity.

Between the Trans Mountain and Line 3 expansions, the Liberals have approved the export of almost a million additional barrels of oil per day — and the production of between 23 and 28 million tonnes of additional greenhouse gases annually. Line 3 can actually handle another 155 million barrels per day, but Enbridge would have to apply for a new permit.

Trans Mountain Pipeline

Description of Trans Mountain project is from NEB (National Energy Board) here

The Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMX) is a proposal to expand the existing Trans Mountain pipeline system between Edmonton, AB and Burnaby, BC. It would include approximately 987 km of new pipeline, new and modified facilities, such as pump stations and tanks, and the reactivation of 193 km of existing pipeline.

The Westridge Marine Terminal would also be expanded. New pipeline segments would be added between Edmonton and Hinton, AB, Hargreaves, BC and Darfield, BC and Black Pines, BC and Burnaby, BC.

Some existing, but currently deactivated pipeline segments between Hinton, AB and Hargreaves, BC and Darfield and Black Pines, BC would be reactivated.

Line 3 pipeline

Line 3 would replace a decades-old conduit that runs from Hardisty, Alta., to Superior, Wisc., and double its capacity. (BNN Graphics)

Line 3 would replace a decades-old conduit that runs from Hardisty, Alta., to Superior, Wisc., and double its capacity. (BNN Graphics)

What you need to know about Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline project

From BNN news (here):
The Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement project proposed by Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. has attracted little attention despite its potential to increase Canadian exports to the United States. Here are some facts about the plan:

— The $7.5-billion, 1,660-kilometre pipeline replacement project would be the most expensive in Enbridge history.
— The line is almost half a century old and its regulated maximum throughput has been reduced through pressure restrictions to about 390,000 barrels of oil per day.
— The replacement of the aging 34-inch diameter pipe with new 36-inch pipe will restore the original regulated capacity of 760,000 barrels per day, nearly doubling oil shipping potential.
— In April, the National Energy Board recommended approval of the Canadian part of the project with 89 conditions.
— Line 3 already has a U.S. presidential permit, unlike the higher-profile Keystone XL pipeline project which was rejected by the Obama administration a year ago. Line 3 still requires state regulator approvals.
— On the Canadian side of the border, Enbridge intends to spend $4.9 billion to replace Line 3 between Hardisty, Alta., and the Canada-U.S. border at Gretna, Man.
— On the U.S. side, it will spend US$2.6-billion to replace pipe between Neche, N.D., and its terminal in Superior, Wis., from which crude can be transported to refinery markets in Chicago, the U.S. Gulf Coast and the eastern U.S. and Canada.
— Decommissioning of the existing Line 3 pipe will begin after the replacement pipeline is in service. Product will be removed and the line will be cleaned but the pipe itself is to be left in the ground.

Pipelines Are Environmentally Friendly

Going under: New trenchless technology means pipelines are installed without construction activity in the watercourse.

In both Canada and the United States, the oil pipeline industry has a remarkably good record of avoiding spills. Of the total volume of oil moved annually on federally regulated pipelines in Canada in 2015, 99.999% of the oil was delivered safely with no spills. Of the 1.4 billion barrels of oil transported, less than 400 were spilled. In the United States, the same 99.999% record of safe delivery applies. The number of accidents and incidents on crude oil pipelines has been declining for many years. Similarly, in Alberta, where most of the intra-provincial oil pipeline capacity is located, the number of pipeline incidents and spills has been stable or declining for at least 20 years.

Of course, it is not possible to entirely eliminate the risk of a spill, any more than it is possible in every other aspect of life to reduce risks to zero. This paper describes the consequences of a major spill near Marshall, Michigan in 2010. In one of the worst cases in twenty years, there were no injuries to people. The use of surface waters affected by the spill for drinking, irrigation and watering of livestock was interrupted for one month. 52 birds, 40 muskrats, 106 turtles and snakes and 42 fish died. The company responsible was required to pay almost $900 million in fines and other expenses to ensure that this does not happen again. From Friends of Science (here)

Pipeline Economics

The financial benefits to governments and the economy of the Trans Mountain expansion include the development and planning of the project and the anticipated first 20 years of operation from 2018-38. The figures also include calculations such as the construction and operations of the pipeline, economic benefits of increased tanker activity, and oil company reinvestment.

The financial benefits to governments and the economy of the Trans Mountain expansion include the development and planning of the project and the anticipated first 20 years of operation from 2018-38. The figures also include calculations such as the construction and operations of the pipeline, economic benefits of increased tanker activity, and oil company reinvestment.

The vast majority of oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan is exported to the United States, instead of being transported to a coast and exported to other countries at world prices.

“We produce a very valuable resource and we don’t get full value for that resource,” he said. “It’s absolutely unconscionable that we don’t take the actions we need to move it so that Canadians receive the full value for the product.” – David Dodge former Bank of Canada Governor

‘We may like to think we can survive off making solar panels and medical devices, but we can’t.’- John Manley, Business Council of Canada

Millions of people depend upon the supply of refined oil products for transportation, industrial production, petrochemicals and the thousands of products and services that people use in our modern industrialized society. Further, hundreds of thousands of people work very hard to ensure that the transportation of crude oil and refined oil products moves across our lands with the utmost care given to oil spill prevention, preparedness and response. Comprehensive liability, compensation and governance regimes are in place to make sure that companies have a strong financial incentive to avoid spills and to clean them up as soon as possible if they do occur. Decisions about the permitting or construction of pipelines should be based on facts, not fear.

Anti-Pipeline Activism

None of these facts matter to unhinged people who fear fossil fuels must be left in the ground. And US funders are largely responsible for their activity. From National Post: The cash pipeline opposing Canadian oil pipelines

In 2015, Tides paid $4 million to 50 anti-pipeline groups. Of that, $750,000 went to U.S. organizations while $3.3 million was paid out in Canada. A total of $615,000 went to the four environmental groups involved in the development of the Notley government’s climate plan: STAND, formerly Forest Ethics; The Pembina Institute; Environmental Defence; and Equiterre. The largest single grant from Tides to a Canadian environmental organization was US$700,000 paid to The Sisu Institute, a low-profile non-profit based in Sointula, B.C. That was for an initiative called “Canada’s Road To Paris: Changing The Narrative.”

If the activists marching in protests and storming NEB hearings make the anti-pipeline campaign look like an amateur, grassroots movement, the reality is it’s anything but. Anti-pipeline activists say they’re protesting pipelines to “keep oil in the ground.” And yet, against Texas, where oil production has doubled, there’s no multi-million-dollar campaign.

 

 

 

Tornados: Blame them on La Niña

A tornado brews near El Reno, Okla., May 2013. A new study links the frequency of tornadoes and hailstorms in parts of the southern United States to ENSO, a cyclic temperature pattern in the Pacific Ocean. Credit: John Allen

Reported in Science Daily Frequency of tornadoes, hail linked to El Niño, La Niña

“We can forecast how active the spring tornado season will be based on the state of El Niño or La Niña in December or even earlier,” said lead author John Allen, a postdoctoral research scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI).

Allen and his coauthors show that moderately strong La Niña events lead to more tornadoes and hail storms over portions of Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and other parts of the southern United States. El Niño events act in the opposite manner, suppressing both types of storms in this area.

While the information can’t pinpoint when and where storms will wreak havoc, it will nevertheless be useful for governments and insurance companies to prepare for the coming season, Allen said.

The Tornado statistics are available from the Storm Prediction Center (here).

El Niño was in effect for 2015 and most of 2016.  2015 had 36 deaths, all but 10 of them between Dec. 23 and 26. This year there have been 17 deaths recorded. An average year is 80 tornado deaths.

TOP 5 GREATEST U.S. ANNUAL TORNADO DEATH TOLLS

RANK YEAR DEATHS
1) 1925 794
2) 2011 553
3) 1936 552
4) 1917 551
5) 1927 540

In 2011–a La Niña year– tornadoes killed more than 550 people, higher than in the previous 10 years combined. Hail storms and tornadoes cause an average estimated $1.6 billion in insured losses each year in the United States, according to the insurer Munich RE. Powerful, isolated events such as the 2011 Joplin, Missouri, tornado can smash that average. That storm alone caused several billion dollars in damage and killed 158 people.

Image: La Niña is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the central equatorial Pacific. The colder than normal water is depicted in this image in blue. During a La Niña stronger than normal trade winds bring cold water up to the surface of the ocean. Credit: NASA

Image: La Niña is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the central equatorial Pacific. The colder than normal water is depicted in this image in blue. During a La Niña stronger than normal trade winds bring cold water up to the surface of the ocean. Credit: NASA

Past studies that have relied on eyewitness records alone have had limited success, said Allen. “For example, previous work has shown a clear linkage between ENSO and winter activity, but spring–the season when most of tornadoes occur in the southern U.S.–remained an enigma until now,” Allen said.

To get around these challenges, the Columbia University team created indices derived from environmental conditions such as wind shear, temperature and moisture. Each is a key ingredient in severe storm formation, and each is influenced by ENSO. The scientists then verified the indices using available observational records.

Summary

If La Niña strengthens beyond its present near-neutral condition, look for more killer tornados in the SE United States.  But it is not the fault of CO2 or fossil fuels.

Footnote December 4

I want to be as careful as the authors not to overstate the certainty of their findings. (h/t comment by Les Johnson).  Tornados are mesoscale events with multiple contributing factors.  Researchers have concluded that ENSO sets environmental conditions that favor or disfavor tornado formation, i.e. increase or decrease the probabilities.

Michon Scott provides a more detailed description of the mechanism entitled El Niño and La Niña affect spring tornadoes and hailstorms at Climate.gov (here).

In these maps, purple indicates higher storm event frequency, and brown indicates lower storm event frequency. Specifics vary, but in general, springtime tornadoes and hailstorms are less frequent in the southern central United States during El Niño, and more frequent during La Niña.

The research showed that ENSO affects tornado and hailstorm frequency by influencing the position of the jet stream over North America. El Niño weakens the surface winds that carry warm, most air from the Gulf of Mexico over Texas and neighboring states. La Niña, in contrast, concentrates hot, humid air over the region. The heat and humidity over the southern Plains states sets up a strong north-south temperature gradient, which in turn favors storm formation.

El Niño/La Niña conditions often persist from winter into spring, the researchers found, so the ENSO state seen in December, January, and February can be used to predict tornado and hailstorm frequency for March, April, and May.

Tornado season and hail season don’t have set beginnings and endings. In general, tornado season peaks in Gulf Coast states in the spring, in the southern Plains in May and June, and in upper Midwest in June and July. . . But tornadoes can strike at any time of year. Severe hailstorms often strike between May and July, but can also occur at any time of year.

Climate Costs in Context

400px-unbalanced_scales-svg-climate

A recent publication by the Manhattan Institute looks at the costs of proposed climate change policies versus the estimated benefits.  Note that positive effects from warming are not included, only the benefits of reduced damages from assumed future warming.  Even on that narrow basis, the costs of “fighting” climate change are vastly greater than simply adapting to a changing climate.  The paper is entitled: Climate Costs in Context (here).  Excerpts below

Uncertain Greenhouse Effects

.The chain of causation from greenhouse gas emissions to human impacts is lengthy: economic growth, the energy intensity of economic activity, and the emissions profile of energy use all combine to determine emissions levels. Those emissions then produce a concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, from which climate models can offer projections of temperature increase. Other models must translate any given temperature increase into estimates of natural-world effects, such as sea-level rise, drought, or ecosystem disruption. And another set of models and qualitative analyses must try to estimate how those changes in the natural world will affect the society that emitted the greenhouse gases in the first place.

Scientific assessments vary widely at each of these steps. However, climate researchers have settled broadly on an expected temperature increase of 3 to 4 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 if efforts are not made to reduce emissions.

Climate Costs According to IPCC

To estimate the economic cost of warming, researchers use “Integrated Assessment Models” (IAMs), which translate a given level of warming into estimates of natural-world impacts and then economic costs. Such analysis requires as much art as science, and, especially for larger temperature increases, the results are highly speculative. Still, they offer the best available estimates and should indicate at least the relative magnitude of the threat.

These models indicate that for 3°–4°C of warming, global GDP in the year 2100 will be 1%–4% lower than in a world with no warming.

These are large costs—all three models estimate that global GDP will have grown to at least $500 trillion by 2100 versus a 2015 total of approximately $75 trillion. So if climate change reduces GDP in 2100 by 3%, that would represent $15 trillion—nearly the size of the entire American economy today. But by the standards of 2100, the cost is manageable.

Exaggerated Popular Notions of Climate Impacts

Such modest economic estimates seem incompatible with the severe disruptions popularly assumed to accompany climate change. However, it is generally the popular assumption rather than the detailed economic research that is in error. For instance, while descriptions of sea-level rise often depict large scale melting in Greenland and Antarctica producing several meters of sea-level rise, such scenarios are forecast to play out only over the course of several centuries or even millennia.

The IPCC itself offered an estimate of what this might cost: “Some low-lying developing countries and small island states are expected to face very high impacts that, in some cases, could have associated damage and adaptation costs of several percentage points of GDP.”In other words, even for those poorest and most vulnerable countries, damage still amounts to only the small share of future wealth forecast in the economic models.

The pattern repeats itself across other potential effects of climate change. For instance, researchers call attention to the prospect of widespread ecosystem disruption and species extinction. The IPCC emphasizes: “With 4°C warming, climate change is projected to become an increasingly important driver of impacts on ecosystems.” But the actual magnitude of these impacts will only “becom[e] comparable with land-use change”—the disruption the world is already experiencing from human development. That disruption has not been costless—in either economic or less tangible terms—but neither has it produced widespread or insurmountable challenges to continued growth and prosperity.

Conclusion: Adapt Rather than Fight

Analyses consistently show that the costs of climate change are real but manageable. For instance, the prosperity that the world might achieve in 2100 without climate change may instead be delayed until 2102.

All these costs—both economic and noneconomic—are substantial and have the potential to cause significant damage and disruption. Policymakers should take them seriously and seek to reduce or prepare for them when the expected benefit of action exceeds the cost. However, none are outside the range of other challenges facing society, and none support the apocalyptic rhetoric of many politicians and activists.

Footnote:

The world is currently spending a lot fighting climate change:

  • UN and governmental agencies and conferences;
  • Research funding to claim alarming impacts;
  • Advocacy by foundations and NGOs;
  • Subsidies for renewable energy and low carbon technologies.

This climate alarm industry, Climate Crisis Inc., is estimated to cost at least 1.5 trillion US$ each year.  That is 2% of present global GDP, and alarmist leaders say it isn’t making a difference.

Looking into the future, IEA expects additional spending just in the energy sector to meet climate change targets on the order of $35-trillion over the period 2015 to 2030. All this remarkable growth comes in a market for non-solutions to the non-problem of global warming.

For more on Uncertainties of Integrated Assessment Models:
https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/quiet-storm-of-lucidity/

Further comments by Oren Cass, author of the Mannhatton paper:

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/442685/climate-costs-context