03 Apr 2014

Immediate Reaction to the Latest IPCC Report

Climate Change, Economics, Shameless Self-Promotion 24 Comments

I will be writing tons on this topic in the coming weeks, but my immediate reaction to the IPCC AR5 Working Group II report that came out Monday is now up at IER. An excerpt:

Now the reader should understand the hole into which the climate alarmists have dug themselves. They can’t have the IPCC running around telling people that the best projection of climate change damage will be “0.2% to 2.0%” of global income, either by mid-century (at worst) or possibly not until 2090, when they’ve spent a few years reassuring Americans that their preferred anti-carbon policies will cost 2% of income by 2050. Even using their own numbers, these policies clearly fail a standard cost/benefit test. (It obviously doesn’t make sense to spend $2,000 in the year 2050 to prevent a bad outcome that will probably cost you $1,000 in the year 2090, and the same logic applies to percentages of income.) The cost/benefit comparisons get much worse when you consider that even in their own computer simulations, the various carbon tax and cap-and-trade proposals will only reduce (not eliminate) the total damages from climate change; thus the economic costs of these policies must be compared to the potential benefits of avoiding only some fraction of the projected damages of climate change.

As I said, there are all sorts of other issues to discuss, such as the framing of anti-carbon policies as insurance. But I thought it important to underscore, on this first pass, what the big-picture middle-of-the-road numbers say. This is not at ALL what you would think, if you just listened to the conventional discussion.

24 Responses to “Immediate Reaction to the Latest IPCC Report”

  1. Innocent says:

    Bob, what is worse is that I would suggest the net benefit could be positive by allowing Climate change to continue at the rate that it has thus far to date. Yields on crops are ever increasing. Drought tolerance from plants is higher than ever, a slew of other GOOD economic side effects have occurred that are glossed over. For instance last year I spent 25% less on my heating than I did this year, mainly because it was much colder last year. My cooling costs have remained the same for the last decade for the most part except for one temperate year in which temperatures did not increase until almost mid July. But that an exception.

    Lastly since no one talks about benefits of Global Warming or Climate change I highly doubt they added the ‘good’ into the model. If you do not add benefits alongside costs it is REALLY a skewed result. Not saying there are not costs with Global Warming but it is really difficult to know.

    • Matt M (Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

      Call me crazy, but in a way, I think all the “science is settled” stuff is gonna come back to bite the alarmists, hard.

      Consider a young person just graduating high school. They likely do not treat climate change as some sort of contentious political debate. From their perspective, climate change is a simple issue of science and fact, no more prone to emotional extremes, biases, or prejudices than the study of microbiology or genetics or any other thing.

      Of course, since they don’t carry the emotional/political baggage, that also makes them more likely to approach the issue fairly. They won’t summarily dismiss any evidence that warming isn’t as bad as we predicted, because to them, this is an issue of science and the quest for truth, not an ideological crusade in which “our side” must show solidarity in all circumstances and any dissenters are automatically vilified as shills for big oil.

      The alarmists have been yelling and screaming for decades that we need to pay more attention to climate change. Well now we are, and that increased attention is doing nothing but causing the evidence to mount that these people are hysterics who are committed to ideology over economic analysis. They’re getting what they wished for, and it will inevitably be their undoing.

      • Ken B says:

        Optimist. It didn’t bite the running out of food alarmists, the coming ice age alarmists, the aids pandemic alarmists. It just gets rationalized away.

        • Matt M (Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

          Those things were never more than niche, cult-like obsessions. Climate change is universally embraced by the public schools, the media, etc. We have an entire generation of kids being brought up to think that working in climate science is a noble and necessary profession, AND who don’t see it as an ideological issue one way or the other.

          • Cosmo Kramer says:

            I just got an energy credit from California so that I can help fight global climate change.

            “If homeowners and businesses use the credit to purchase some of the newest energy efficient light bulbs or other energy-saving equipment they will save even more,” Mary D. Nichols, Chairman of the California Air Resources Board, said in the California PUC press release.

            You Austrians are trying to take away my energy credit? Good luck.


            • guest says:

              You Austrians are trying to take away my energy credit? Good luck.

              Actually we like all “tax credits”, though we don’t think of them as credits.

              They are actually money that WASN’T stolen from you by the government.

              So we are happy about your credit.

    • Andrew' says:

      That is horrible news. Not having to clean up the environmental catastrophe will be contractionary.

  2. skylien says:

    What, we are not all going to die in a “the day after tomorrow” fashion soon? I already planned to spend all my savings in one blow!

    • Matt M (Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

      You still should. It’s your patriotic duty. Consumption is good for the economy. Maybe after you spend all your savings you can collect welfare. That’s also good for the economy. Stop being so selfish and blow your savings already!

  3. Andrew' says:

    Everyone be ready, because the period between “you are all deniers!” to “of course we were only talking about reasonable numbers” when we get to gloat will be half of a smoke break.

  4. Koen says:

    Yeah, it’s really bizarre how none of the MSM are covering what is probably the biggest news about the report, something that fundamentally undermines the logic of the current agenda, and instead they are trying to pick only those parts that predict (or can be framed in such a way) that such and such a phenomenon is going to get worse.

    at some point the alarmists will have to deal with this message in the report and it will be interesting to see how they do it and how the media will cover it.

    • joe says:

      The media is giving that aspect of the report coverage. You’re mistaken. Also worth pointing out that IER is funded by the Koch Bros.

      A new report from the IPCC implies that “climate exceptionalism”, the notion that global warming is a problem like no other, is coming to an end

      • guest says:

        Also worth pointing out that IER is funded by the Koch Bros.

        This is good reading, if you’re inclined:

        The Kochtopus vs. Murray N. Rothbard

      • Major_Freedom says:

        The IPCC is funded by murderers and looters.

      • Koen says:

        Yeah, just saw that on Twitter. Now I wonder how this is going to develop in the next few days, weeks etc. I mean, a huge change has taken place but it will be difficult for many in the media and politics to acknowledge this without somehow seeming to be backtracking.

        why btw it is worth poiinting out that IER is funded by the Koch bros?

        • Cosmo Kramer says:

          Because statist politicians and organizations have no nefarious funding sources.

        • Bala says:

          Because it is a clincher. Nothing you say after this has any merit because the ultimate knockout punch has already been delivered. To even argue against that, you must be on the Koch payroll.

          • andrew' says:

            I’m available. I’d rather work on distillation columns but I wouldn’t mind getting paid for my truth flame thrower of a mouth and keyboard. Just understand that part can’t be bought off.

            • andrew' says:

              I also have some nice ideas on solar and could also help design a molten salt solar thermal stirlng cycle power plant that would make a nice feather in the cap.

              Call me.

      • andrew' says:

        It is worth noting because in this situation they are right so that people can have their noses rubbed in it.

        The cynical alarmist science inquiry and economics deniers should be oil boarded like markey mark in Three Kings.

        While we are at it we can do the second hand smoke alarmists and people who drug us through a healthcare non-reform fight while Rome was burning.

  5. andrew' says:

    Read Joe’s link? Anyone ?

    You guys think I’m kidding about us not getting a chance to gloat? I’m always humorous, never kidding.

    The losers won’t even realize they have just moved on to the next overblown falling sky- leaving it to us to actually come up with ideas to clean up after their last fit of hysterics.

    At work we call these people seagulls.

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