Marian Tupy: How the Debate on Climate Change Is Cooling Down

In a previous column, I noted that the typical audience reaction to my talks about the improving state of the world is not joy and thankfulness for the progress that humanity is making in tackling age-old problems such as infant mortality, malnutrition, and illiteracy. Rather, it is the concern about the exhaustion of natural resources and the supposedly irreparable harm that humanity is causing to the environment.

Apocalyptic warnings about the end of the world as we know it are as old as humanity itself, but recent news should give the doomsayers some food for thought and lower the temperature, so to speak, in the debate about global warming and its future effects on the planet.

The Models Were Wrong

Previous scientific estimates were incorrect because they were based on computer models that were running “on the hot side.”

In a new study that was published in the journal Nature Geoscience, leading climate scientists have adjusted their previous predictions about global warming and stated that the worst impacts of climate change are still avoidable. Professor Michael Grubb, an international energy and climate change scientist at University College London, said that previous scientific estimates were incorrect because they were based on computer models that were running “on the hot side.”

According to the new estimates, the world is more likely than previously thought to achieve the main goal of the 2015 Paris agreement and limit global warming to only 1.5°C higher than was the case in the pre-industrial era. Only two years ago, many scientists dismissed the 1.5°C goal as too optimistic and Professor Grubb went as far to say that “all the evidence from the past 15 years leads me to conclude that actually delivering 1.5°C” is unattainable.

While it is true that the average global temperature is 0.9°C higher than in the pre-industrial era, the scientists now admit that there was a slowdown in warming in the 15 years prior to 2014 – a slowdown that the models did not predict or account for. Professor Myles Allen, another one of the study’s authors, said “We haven’t seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models. We haven’t seen that in the observations.”

What has changed in the model forecasts since the Paris summit in 2015? The data showing that the climate models are running “on the hot side” has been available for years. In 2015, my colleagues Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger noted that climate models have been overestimating the rate of warming for decades. In 2016, John Christy from the University of Alabama in Huntsville testified before the US Congress that the climate models were inaccurate. For their trouble, all three have been labeled “climate change deniers.”

The Nature Geoscience study suggests that humanity has more time to transition away from fossil fuels. Should it? That’s debatable, argues William Nordhaus, a professor of economics at Yale University, and his coauthor Andrew Moffatt, in a recently released paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research. The paper combines econometric and climate models to estimate the future impact of global warming on worldwide income.

The Laws of Economics Still Apply

By studying 36 estimates of the costs of global warming, the pair predicts that 3°C warming will reduce global income by 2.04 percent and 6°C warming will reduce global income by 8.16 percent by 2100. Nordhaus and Moffatt’s estimates parallel the broad consensus. For example, the IPCC in their Fourth Report estimated that global “mean losses could be 1 to 5 percent of GDP for 4°C of warming”.

“We have a predicament,” Bailey concludes.

As Ronald Bailey of Reason magazine calculates, current global average income per capita is about $10,000. If the world grows at 3 percent per year over the next 80 years or so, global average income per capita will rise to $97,000. According to Nordhaus and Moffatt’s estimations, therefore, an increase in global temperature by 3°C would reduce global average income per capita by $2,000 to $95,000. A 6°C increase in global temperature would reduce global average income per capita by $8,000 to $89,000.

“We have a predicament,” Bailey concludes. “How much are we willing to spend in order to make those living in 2100, who will likely be at least nine times richer than us today, $2,000 better off?”

That is not a purely academic question. Thanks to the concerns over global warming, governments throughout the world have been busy imposing serious additional costs on economic development and reducing real living standards of ordinary people so as to facilitate the fastest possible transition away from fossil fuels. The above studies add to the complexity surrounding the subject of global warming and human response to it. They also strengthen the case of those who argue that any such transition should be driven by technological change, not government mandates.

Reprinted from CapX

Marian L. Tupy


Marian L. Tupy

Marian L. Tupy is the editor of HumanProgress.org and a senior policy analyst at the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

This entry was posted in Cross Post, Global warming and climate change policy. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Marian Tupy: How the Debate on Climate Change Is Cooling Down

  1. stackja

    Thanks to the concerns over global warming, governments throughout the world have been busy imposing serious additional costs on economic development and reducing real living standards of ordinary people so as to facilitate the fastest possible transition away from fossil fuels.

    Thanks to the concerns of the MSM.

  2. zyconoclast

    Thanks to the concerns of the MSM.

    The MSM is just a tool.
    They used to push nuclear winter.

    The destruction of western civilisation is the end game.

  3. cohenite

    Nordhaus and others, particularly Lomborg have been pushing the cost/benefit analysis of alarmism for some time. Bearing in mind that alarmism DOESN’T exist the ubiquitous conclusions of all the cost/benefit analyses are that the best approach is to do nothing because the benefits of alarmism outweigh the costs.

  4. cynical1

    Good luck getting an apology for the wasted/rorted trillions.

  5. Indigo

    It was four months ago that an article entitled 80 Graphs From 58 New (2017) Papers Invalidate Claims Of Unprecedented Global-Scale Modern Warming appeared on this website. The article received international attention and was “shared” tens of thousands of times.

    In the last 4 months, 40 more graphs taken from 30 more new peer-reviewed scientific papers have made their way into the ever-growing volume of evidence that today’s climate is not only not unprecedented or unusual in the context of the last millennium, but modern temperature values are still among the coldest of the last 10,000 years.

    In other words, there is nothing unprecedented or unusual about today’s climate. Modern temperatures are still well within range of what has occurred naturally.

    The roughly 3 dozen papers and graphs that have appeared in the scientific literature since the original list appeared 4 months ago are shown below.
    In the centre of Australia, all the stations available in a circle of radius 1,000 km were showing very little or no warming, as still acknowledged in the GHCN v2 data set up to October 2011 (Fig. 6). … Table 1 presents the warming trend for the 30 longest temperature records of Australia collected in a single location, with measurements started before 1900 and continued until after 1985. … In the 30 locations, the monthly mean maximum temperature is warming 0.0004°C/year, or 0.04°C/century. That means there is no change within the limits of accuracy of the measurements.“

    The science is not settled and the wheels are starting to come off the AGW bandwagon.

  6. Garry

    Just watched that fat faced fool Brandis castigating Tony Abbott over his opposition to the goose from the USA who is apparently going to sing a song of sodomy at the NRLgrand final on Sunday. Any shred of hope that I might vote for the coalition at the next federal election is now well and truly gone. How can I vote for a party that has completely deserted the principles and morals that this country were built on and instead alight themselves with a deviant minority hell bent on imposing their twisted and disgusting beliefs on the rest of Australia. Labor is no better, probably worse so One Nation and Corey Bernardi!

  7. Entropy

    To be fair that $2000 reduction in2100 incomes would not be even. Some would lose a lot more than that…and others actually gain.

  8. cohenite

    To be fair that $2000 reduction in2100 incomes would not be even. Some would lose a lot more than that…and others actually gain.

    And most wouldn’t give a rats arse.

  9. The Warmists lost the scientific debate some time ago, so they refused any more debating and pursued the usual ad hominem attacks on the “science deniers”.

    If the issue seems to be receding into the background, I fear that it may be because the Warmists have already got what they set out to achieve, and plenty more in the pipeline. Money.

  10. BoyfromTottenham

    So my grandchildren’s income will fall by $2000 (in 2100) if we don’t reduce global temperatures by two degrees (or whatever). But what really matters to me as a grandfather is will they survive till then, given all the other bad things that the CAGW crowd say will happen!!!!!! Oh, wait, the eldest is 4 – she will be 85 in 2011, and will either be on a pension or … That does it, I’m not having any more grandchildren.

  11. BoyfromTottenham

    Garry,
    “How can I vote for a party that has completely deserted the principles and morals…”

    How old fashioned of you to think that such things as principles and morals still exist. Or don’t you read newspapers?

  12. Rob MW

    The incompetent predictive skills of the scare mongers is only matched by their competence in arse licking skills to utilize other people’s money to make continuous losing bets without any personal financial loss.

    If only taxpayers had access political max stupidity indemnity insurance.

  13. RobK

    ” They also strengthen the case of those who argue that any such transition should be driven by technological change, not government mandates.”
    Correct.
    Easily done but for mandated renewballs and aversion to HELE coal and nukes. I’d prefer to see the broadest range of generator types in competition so all our resources can be considered for development to maximize our returns. Different types have different niches. All will need development in the fullness of time.

  14. Pete of Perth

    CSIRO has yet to get the message. Their modeling predicts the coal with be insignificant by 2050. Their default senario.

  15. manalive

    According to the new estimates, the world is more likely than previously thought to achieve the main goal of the 2015 Paris agreement and limit global warming to only 1.5°C higher than was the case in the pre-industrial era …

    I know that’s what the study concludes but the statement is loaded, the use of “achieve the main goal” presupposes that the temperature trend since say 2000 has been the result of some policy success when it’s likely due to underestimation of natural climate variability.
    That spin enables the authors to avoid admitting that their assumptions about climate sensitivity to CO2 forcing, rather than being a wee bit overestimated, are be way too high.
    Whatever effect fossil fuel use is having on the global average temperature, so-called ‘renewables’ are no alternative.

  16. herodotus

    Can we now accept (1) that the hysteria is the product of the MSM, who boosted the narratives of wrongologist scientists (or worse, ones on the gravy train) plus those narratives of assorted environmental activists, and (2) that most media types and most pollies have no significant or worthwhile grasp of science anyway?

    (The bullying of sceptics over the past 20+ years fits the template of leftist bullying of anyone on any subject.)

  17. True Aussie

    The destruction of western civilisation is the end game.

    And they have been playing the game for over a hundred years. Feminism, multiculturalism, the ‘sexual’ revolution, racism, mass migration….

  18. Garry

    And now a proposal to allow deviants to marry!

  19. Rafe

    Jo Nova voiced a much less cheerful response to the admission that the models were too hot, pointing out they are still talking the talk about avoiding the apocalypse without accepting that there never was a problem and the whole shooting match was a gigantic. mistake, not just a minor miscalculation.

    It was most unfortunate that the models were built during a window of opportunity when the CO2 and temperature were for a short time in step (bearing in mind the temp went down from the 1940s to ’70s) and so they managed to use the correlation of temp and CO2 with some success up to the pause but they never rethinked after that because they had too much investment in CO2 to maintain the rage.

  20. stackja

    Rafe
    #2510650, posted on September 29, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    Fraudsters raging?

  21. egg_

    they had too much investment in CO2 to maintain the rage.

    Hubris from the Union of Concerned Scientists?

  22. egg_

    The destruction of western civilisation is the end game.

    And they have been playing the game for over a hundred years. Feminism, multiculturalism, the ‘sexual’ revolution, racism, mass migration….

    Divisivism – warmies and denialists.

  23. egg_

    “Our concern is about the reliability of the national energy market. The closure of Liddell in 2022 has just brought the issue into focus. We have a long-term contract with AGL until 2028. We’re obligated to buy and they’re obligated to supply. It’s the reliability of supply and how that affects us that is the issue,” he said.

    “We can’t afford to be exposed to the wholesale power price when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. I get asked why I don’t support batteries but it’s a nonsense and it needs to be called out for what it is. The batteries exist, but you can’t afford the costs.”

    Mr Howell is critical of AGL, and said interruptions initiated by AGL were “longer and they’re more frequent”.

    http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4919006/smelters-100m-decision/

  24. Shy Ted

    Marian Tup needs to listen to their ABC if she thinks the debate is cooling. If it’s not explicit it’s implicit in almost every segment. Latest thing is to not even mention coal in their “energy conversations”. Old king coal? Current and future king IMHO.

  25. egg_

    Marian Tup needs to listen to their ABC if she thinks the debate is cooling. If it’s not explicit it’s implicit in almost every segment. Latest thing is to not even mention coal in their “energy conversations”. Old king coal? Current and future king IMHO.

    During Hard Quiz on TheirABCTV last week Tom Gleeson said to the camera “climate change is real” out of the blue, as if it was a contractual obligation.

  26. Tom

    Good luck getting an apology for the wasted/rorted trillions.

    To be precise, $US1.5 trillion per annum, according to the insurance industry’s 2015 estimate. That’s the size of the Australian economy pissed against the wall every year in the biggest scam in human history.

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