Costing climate change. Show us your workings!

Revisited an old post on Lomborg’s economic analysis of the cost of warming.There seems to be a consensus around 3% of GDP. Is that happening at present, or is it a projection 80 to 100 years out with the assumption of more warming?

As to the impact of warming currently, accepting a rise in mean global temp of about 0.8C since the industrial revolution or 1850 I can’t see how there is any negative impact at all, given we are emerging from a little ice age and warming from that point is good not bad at all. Add to that the greening from additional CO2 which is vital plant food and sub-optimal at present by a factor of 5 or so.

Another old post with a link suggesting that extra CO2 does more good than harm.

To anticipate comments on the high cost of recent extreme weather events, bear in mind we are talking about the incidence of the events and the records show no upward trend in incidence of droughts, floods and other extreme weather events. The increase in costs comes from inflation and also the massive increase in the amount and cost of things that are built in vulnerable locations. That is a result of economic development, not warming. Beware of confusing correlation with causation.

A nice example of radical confusion of cause and effect comes from a paper by Karoly and others for the World Wildlife Fund on a drought in the Murray Darling Basin caused by the 2002-3 El Nino. They wrote:

The higher temperatures caused a marked increase in evaporation rates which sped up the loss of soil moisture and the drying of vegetation and watercourses. This is the first drought in Australia where the impact of human-induced global warming can be clearly observed.

They actually got it the wrong way around, when the solid is full of water the incoming energy evaporates the moisture in the surface layers of soil and when they are dry the surface temperature rises. First the evaporation then the higher local surface temperature. When the surface layers are dry there is no way that increased temperature can accelerate evaporation because there is no moisture there to evaporate.

Another blast from the past, my suggestion in 2011 to delay mitigation efforts for a decade or two to get a better fix on the trajectory of warming and the role of CO2.

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29 Responses to Costing climate change. Show us your workings!

  1. Chris

    Also, please provide ROI for abatement investment projects.

    Pffffthahahaha!!1!

  2. RobK

    .There seems to be a consensus around 3% of GDP. Is that happening at present, or is it a projection 80 to 100 years out with the assumption of more warming?
    If the UofWA hadn’t hounded Lomborg off with the student union’s “no platform”war cries, we’d all be the wiser.

  3. Bruce of Newcastle

    There hasn’t been any net change in global temperature this millennium, pretty much.
    Therefore the cost of global warming is nil, since nothing is happening.

    I wish I could say the same about the various mitigation efforts, but I expect to receive my next electricity bill this week.

  4. Jim Rose

    I had to take the New Zealand green party minister for climate change to the ombudsman under a local version of freedom of information laws to get hime to admit they had not received any advice on the cost of global warming to New Zealand as a percentage of GDP. Green

  5. Rafe Champion

    I am open to the suggestion of next to no warming, actually 0.8 is next to nothing over 150 years but I will concede that to get immediately to the next question – What is the Impact?
    And then – How is it going in Germany and South Australia?

  6. Entropy

    The cure is worse than the disease

  7. RobK

     How is it going in Germany and South Australia?
    My prediction is that real costs of electricity will keep going up as the penetration of RE increases. I base this on the cost of the transmission and services going up as RE increases. Storage costs are still high and RE needs a lot of storage compared to baseload ( i mean in the order of 10-100 times to be reliable, as RE approaches 100%). There will be a point where coal is gradually replaced by OC gas and the RET will be unable to supply the subsidies so some other impost will push the price even higher. Customers will be going off grid, so the price will be higher for the remainder. My hope is that the penny will drop before too much more damage is done.
    Germany has neighbours with lots of hydro and nukes so it has a buffer. SA needs to go to nukes or coal soon or it will be too late.

  8. stackja

    As long as there is money in climate change, the scam will continue.

  9. Bruce of Newcastle

    What is the Impact?

    Rafe – I’ve not recently seen an aggregate cost of all the misguided mitigation efforts, stupid research projects and corrupt spending around the world.

    For a single data point I recall Jo Nova’s various articles on the eastern Australian electricity market. Like this one from February which shows the price of electricity doubled in real terms due to climate policies.

    My last electricity bill tells me I paid 28.76 c/kWh. It looks like we use about 240 TWh of electricity per year nationally, and that has been reasonably steady since 2009. So since real electricity prices doubled that means we are spending about 240,000,000,000 x 0.2876 / 2 = $35 billion per year in mandatory climate related electricity expenses.

    If you take Jo’s graph and say it is basically a straight line since 2007 that means the total cost so far is $35 billion x (2018 – 2007) / 2 = $193 billion.

    So just in electricity the cost to Australia is already about a fifth of a trillion dollars – about 11.3% of current gross GDP.

  10. alan moran

    COST of warming cited in the three IPCC peered papers AR5 Table 10.B.1 cited in my book CLIMATE CHANGE: Treaties and Policies in the Trump Era. for a warming between 1.9 and 3 degrees were -2.5% Nordhaus, 0.5% Bosello et al, 1.8% Rosen and van der Mensbrugghe.

    Probably all are overstated since they take as given scary forecasts like the one about Australia not being able to conduct irrigated agriculture in 50 years. And the costs of coping with “climate refugees”

  11. nerblnob

    Arguments about warming are superfluous.

    You can’t prove or disprove a long term projection of an immeasurable.

    There are so many variables that anyone can justify any position.

    The only thing to focus on is whether the policies being followed under the Climate umbrella are net benefit or net detriment.

  12. egg_

    The cure is worse than the disease

    E’er the case with the Gangrenes.

  13. Leo G

    The higher temperatures caused a marked increase in evaporation rates which sped up the loss of soil moisture and the drying of vegetation and watercourses.

    A misleading statement by Karoly et al.
    The evaporation rate of water at sea level increases with temperature by about 0.3% per degree Celsius. The temperature anomaly for the Murray Darling Basin for the 2002-2003 El Nino was 2.5 degree Celsius, which implies only a 0.75% increase in evaporation (due to temperature).
    Is that really a marked increase in evaporation?

  14. cynical1

    These idiots also claim that insurance premiums have to go up because of the increased claims caused by climate change.

    How stupid do you have to be to give companies a license to print money and
    then gloat when they agree with you?

  15. You wouldn’t call the IPCC the bastion of optimism about the effects of climate change, but I believe even their baseline prediction has net positive effects out until 2070.

    If you start having suspicions that the amount of warming has been overstated, or that the future will have less warming than predicted, or that the negative effects are over-egged, you can get a very long, long way out before there are net negative effects.

    At which point, you would think the technology available to solve any potential problem will be a hell of a lot better than bloody windmills.

  16. Chris M

    Shouldn’t this be offset against the benefits of ‘Climate Change’ – more greening, less water requirements for flora etc.

  17. MACK

    The temperature range on earth at any time is from about -50 to +50 deg C. And at any place it varies 15 or so each day. So the impact of a fraction of a degree increase over a few decades is negligible, or for Greens voters – a fart in a thunderstorm.

  18. Mullumhillbilly

    When the surface layers are dry there is no way that increased temperature can accelerate evaporation because there is no moisture there to evaporate.

    Whilst I would agree with your overall thrust Rafe, you might want to reconsider that bit. Firstly diurnal soil water movement will bring deeper soil water towards the surface by capillary action, but more significantly evapotranspiration, water used by plants, is a far greater quantity than direct loss from the surface. A large eucalyptus tree, which is a fairly efficient water user in the scheme of things, might transpire a few hundred litres per day even when the soil appears bone dry at the surface. If plants don’t transpire, they overheat and die. Hot dry weather does lead to increased water loss from the soil.

  19. manalive

    …delay mitigation efforts for a decade or two to get a better fix on the trajectory of warming and the role of CO2 …

    Wise words.
    It must be very annoying when the global LT temperature even including the recent natural El Nino event doesn’t keep up with the models despite their best efforts.
    Even manmade global warming needs a bit of help from time to time.

  20. Just remember that all predictions are based, in some way, on past experiences, usually presented as statistics in one form or another. In this case, the stats show an increase of average temperature of 0.8 degrees over 150 years derived from daily (?) measurements over about 10% of the subject surface (70% is ocean (inaccessible for accurate measurement)and about 2/3 of the rest contributed no measurements) using various types of instruments which for the first 50 years had no standard structure or accuracy. The subject surface also sees temperature ranges of up to 80 degrees (-40 at the poles to +40 at the equator) on any one day. Similarly, we are told the atmospheric CO2 concentration is increasing when the measurement, other than in the electronic era, is even more vague over the enormous volume of the earth’s atmosphere with all its inherent variations of density, temperature,etc.

    So all this data is then processed through super computers, programmed by humans who may (or may not) have a preconceived outcome they wish to confirm(?) to produce one number (0.8) upon which so many hypotheses are based. These hypotheses are now the bases of many decisions by our elected Governments to run our daily lives, yet any challenge is met by the standard “it’s Climate Change and it’s a fact” mantra.

  21. Robber Baron

    Poverty is a small price to pay to save planet Earth. We must all sacrifice. Our leaders know what is good for us.

  22. manalive

    The higher temperatures caused a marked increase in evaporation rates which sped up the loss of soil moisture and the drying of vegetation and watercourses. This is the first drought in Australia where the impact of human-induced global warming can be clearly observed …

    That is an interesting quote that comes from a paper in 2003 making hay from the recent drought.
    Climate Change™ practitioners like chiropractors natural healers etc. don’t test their theory, they simply look for confirmation.

  23. Lutz

    And still nobody can tell us what the ideal temperature of the earth should be.
    Apart from the fact that an average temperature of the whole earth is total nonsense.

  24. egg_

    So all this data is then processed through super computers, programmed by humans who may (or may not) have a preconceived outcome they wish to confirm(?) to produce one number (0.8)

    Deep Thought says a delta of +0.8°C over 150 years at a margin of error of ±100% or thereabouts, eh?

    And this needs a ‘precautionary principle’?
    No wonder Al Gore was enlisted to sell this pup.

  25. Leo G

    Hot dry weather does lead to increased water loss from the soil.

    But prolonged drought reduces plant water potential and plants respond by suppressing transpiration (by stomatal closure etc). The highest transpiration rates tend to follow good rainfalls rather than droughts.
    Karoly stressed that the higher average temperature caused an increase water loss in the soil, as if changes in rainfall and cloudcover were not significant factors, when in fact the latter were more causal.

  26. RobK

    Rafe,
    Water for the Recovery of the Climate.
    If you haven’t come across it before, there’s a 95 page pdf from around 2007 called http://www.waterparadigm.org/download/Water_for_the_Recovery_of_the_Climate_A_New_Water_Paradigm.pdf
    It was written by hydrologists and gives a historical perspective as well as some interesting climate impacts.
    Conludes;
    The conservation of rainwater on land “in situ” and the conducting away only of the natural surplus of water in a region is “condicio sine qua non”—a condition essential for ensuring environmental security, global stability and the sustenance of economic growth. Fulfilling these conditions should be of interest to each individual and each community. This is the first time in the history of human civilization when the impact of mankind’s activities on the water cycle and the decrease of amount of water in it will have to be evaluated. The statement of the Srí Lankan king, Parakramabahu the Great—”Not even a single raindrop should be allowed to flow into the sea without it first having been used for the benefit of the people…” —is the best summing up of the new water paradigm, a statement which, in the coming decades, should become a slogan for mankind calling for the preservation of civilization.
    The whole thing is well worth a read.

  27. Kneel

    “Also, please provide ROI for abatement investment projects.”

    For “green” generation, we need not just financial ROI, energy ROI too – no point building something that consumes more energy to make than it will ever recover. Need ERoI of about 6 – solar isn’t even close, wind can sometimes make it. Less than 6 ERoI means you can’t keep creating new generators using existing ones to power the construction. Coal does about 20, IIRC – that is, accounting for coal mining, cement production etc, you get about 20 times more energy from a coal power station than it takes to build and run it.

    Besides, what will we do for such necessities as toothpaste and concrete fill if we don’t have fly-ash from a coal generator?

  28. Hello Rafe.

    Regarding that Karoly paper, Natalie Lockart published a study (December 2009 Geophysical Research Letters) thoroughly debunking the false assumptions made by Karoly.
    Here:
    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2009GL040598

    You and I know that warmists like Karoly don’t publish papers to further knowledge, they publish papers to “prove” the evils of CO2 and hope to gain citations in the IPCC AR’s.
    If Karoly was an honest researcher, he would have concluded that IT’S THE TOTAL SUNSHINE HOURS that matters, not a degree or two of extra warming.

    Lockart was demonised by Karoly for a long time after she published that paper debunking his false findings.

  29. manalive

    Baa Humbug at 1:59 pm
    From that paper:

    … to implicitly assume that the correlation represents an entirely correct model of the sole driver of maximum air temperature. This is clearly not the case …

    At a more fundamental level CO2 can’t turn itself on and off, if the monotonic increase in CO2 were the sole driver of the GAT the surface temperature record would also be monotonic but it’s not, although efforts have and will continue to present it as such.

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