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It seems like many people would like governments to stop worrying about climate change and focus on the economy. Imagine their surprise then, when they find out that according to a survey of economists conducted by the World Economic Forum, the top risk to the global economy is the failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Not only that, but many of the other top risks (large-scale involuntary migration, water crisis, extreme weather events, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse, food crises) are all events that are associated with climate change.

The lesson here is for those who think of the environmental issues as feel-good attempts by fuzzy-headed do-gooders. A healthy environment with a vibrant eco-system is not a nice-to-have, it's essential for a healthy economy.

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Imagine their surprise then, when they find out that according to a survey of economists

As per usual, you attempt to deceive people by misrepresenting who completed the survey.

http://reports.weforum.org/global-risks-2016/appendix-b-methodology/

Only 34% had expertise in economics. The rest are the usual collection of rent seeks from political, social and environmental sciences.

Ifailure of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

No economist worthy of the title believes that mitigation is a viable or worthwhile goal. Not being able to adapt to the weather is obviously a "risk" no matter is happening with climate. The only thing that has changed in 100 years is now every weather event is blamed on "climate" when in the past people understood that weather is just weather and one must prepare. Edited by TimG
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We have a pretty healthy environment. Much more so than some of our competitors like China. We need to focus on pro-growth policies, not anti-growth environmentalism.

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No economist worthy of the title believes that mitigation is a viable or worthwhile goal.

Really. And yet, here in that left wing rag, the Washington Post, is a report on a separate study, conducted by the New York University School of Law is another survey that says almost exactly the same thing.

When it comes to climate change, there’s broad consensus among economists that the potential economic impacts will be serious, widespread and more severe than previous estimates have indicated. At least, this is the conclusion of a new survey, published Monday by the New York University School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity — and experts say we should be listening to their warnings.

Additionally, the respondents seemed to agree broadly that strong action on climate change is necessary to mitigate these effects. More than three-quarters of them said they believed the U.S. should commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions regardless of the actions taken by other countries, and more than 80 percent of them said they believed the U.S. could induce other nations to reduce their greenhouse gases as well by adopting such policies.

Ouch! That's gotta hurt all the fossil fuel lovers out there.

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We have a pretty healthy environment. Much more so than some of our competitors like China. We need to focus on pro-growth policies, not anti-growth environmentalism.

And the people with expertise agree that the way to protect the economy is to protect the environment. Read the link I just posted - it says that economists agree that we need a carbon tax of more than $US37 per ton.

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published Monday by the New York University School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity

From their "methodology": http://policyintegrity.org/files/publications/ExpertConsensusReport.pdf

We sought to identify a pool of respondents with demonstrated expertise in the economics of climate change. Building

on the approach used in a prior survey by the Institute for Policy Integrity, we compiled a list of all authors who had published an article related to climate change in a leading economics or environmental economics journal since 1994.2

IOW, they only selected those economists which were already fully committed to the climate change agenda given the fact that they were paid to research it and developed papers with enough 'climate porn' to get them published in 'environmental economics journals'.

It should come as no surprise that this particular subset of experts would simple repeat the mantras of the climate change religion. It is does mean that these mantras make any rational sense.

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From their "methodology": http://policyintegrity.org/files/publications/ExpertConsensusReport.pdf

IOW, they only selected those economists which were already fully committed to the climate change agenda given the fact that they were paid to research it and developed papers with enough 'climate porn' to get them published in 'environmental economics journals'.

It should come as no surprise that this particular subset of experts would simple repeat the mantras of the climate change religion. It is does mean that these mantras make any rational sense.

They chose economists that published about climate change - they didn't stipulate what the findings were. If, as you claim, "no economist worth the title believes that mitigation is a viable or worthwhile goal", then show us some evidence. You like to try to poke holes in scientific studies but it's hard to find fault with your evidence - because you never seem to have any!

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They chose economists that published about climate change - they didn't stipulate what the findings were.

You should know how the game is played. If you want to be published in an environmental economics journal you got to toe the party line. Economists that don't feel the party line is reasonable don't bother to publish in such journals. Freedom of choice for academics means a lot of self-selection goes on which serves to perpetuate group think.

The example of Roger Pielke Jr is a good one. He tried to publish more rational commentary on climate politics and economics and bent over backwards to pay obeisance to the party line. He eventually got sick of the abuse and switched to a different field of study. Bottom line: you can't build a career on climate economics unless you already believe in the "cause".

In any case, these kinds of economic studies are all built on assumptions that the climate models are reasonable predictors of what may happen in the future because they don't have the expertise to claim otherwise. If the climate models are junk (which they most likely are) it means any economic study based on those model outputs is also junk.

If, as you claim, "no economist worth the title believes that mitigation is a viable or worthwhile goal", then show us some evidence.

It is my opinion based on an understanding of what mitigation policies exists and their horrible track record. Anyone who claims that mitigation policies do anything but keep armies of rent seekers employed while doing nothing for global emissions does not know what they are talking about.

You like to try to poke holes in scientific studies but it's hard to find fault with your evidence - because you never seem to have any!

Pro tip: the opinions of a self-selected group of climate alarmist economists is NOT evidence. Climate models are NOT evidence. Edited by TimG
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Most economists don't know anything about climate science.

For example, I bet if you asked them the following question:

Temperature as a function of CO2 concentrations is:

A. An accelerating function

B. A linear function

C. A decelerating function

The majority would get it wrong.

Read the link I just posted - it says that economists agree that we need a carbon tax of more than $US37 per ton.

Confirmation bias. As usual, you are just looking for evidence to support your pre-determined conclusion.

Why does it matter if most economists surveyed think X? There are all sorts of biases at play, from publication bias, to selection bias, to confirmation bias.

What was their methodology used to get $37? What level of climate sensitivity did they use? What discount rate? What coefficient of relative risk aversion? Etc.

If you look at the best estimates (such as by William Nordhaus and Richard Tol) they are closer to $20/ton.

Anyway, I'm not sure how much I can say since Michael Hardner doesn't really like me criticizing the morality of your position.

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The only thing that has changed in 100 years is now every weather event is blamed on "climate" when in the past people understood that weather is just weather and one must prepare.

That's happening and yes it's ridiculous, but that's not "the only thing that has changed in 100 years". Climates across the globe have clearly been changing and the earth warming at a good clip. It's going to cost a ton of money to adapt to it.

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That's happening and yes it's ridiculous, but that's not "the only thing that has changed in 100 years". Climates across the globe have clearly been changing and the earth warming at a good clip. It's going to cost a ton of money to adapt to it.

Weather has ALWAYS required a ton of money to adapt to it. To support your assertion you must demonstrate that 1) weather is more difficult to adapt to as a result of warming (hint there is no statistical evidence that weather today is worse than in the past) 2) the incremental cost of adaption over what we would have to do anyways is large enough to be a concern.
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You should know how the game is played. If you want to be published in an environmental economics journal you got to toe the party line. Economists that don't feel the party line is reasonable don't bother to publish in such journals. Freedom of choice for academics means a lot of self-selection goes on which serves to perpetuate group think.

Unsubstantiated accusation....

The example of Roger Pielke Jr is a good one. He tried to publish more rational commentary on climate politics and economics and bent over backwards to pay obeisance to the party line. He eventually got sick of the abuse and switched to a different field of study. Bottom line: you can't build a career on climate economics unless you already believe in the "cause".

Random anecdote....

In any case, these kinds of economic studies are all built on assumptions that the climate models are reasonable predictors of what may happen in the future because they don't have the expertise to claim otherwise. If the climate models are junk (which they most likely are) it means any economic study based on those model outputs is also junk.

More unsubstantiated claims...

It is my opinion based on an understanding of what mitigation policies exists and their horrible track record. Anyone who claims that mitigation policies do anything but keep armies of rent seekers employed while doing nothing for global emissions does not know what they are talking about.

Well. Let's all risk the future of society on your opinion.

Pro tip: the opinions of a self-selected group of climate alarmist economists is NOT evidence. Climate models are NOT evidence.

And yet, this research is good enough for it to be reported by the the Washington Post and the World Economic Forum. Do you think they are biased in favor of whatever cabal you think is running the climate change conspiracy?

You got nothing. No evidence. Just your own deeply held beliefs. I'll leave you to them.

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Most economists don't know anything about climate science.

And you're an expert? Because I'm waiting for you and Tim to publish your wealth of counter-evidence but all I'm seeing is a lot of unsubstantiated opinion.

Confirmation bias. As usual, you are just looking for evidence to support your pre-determined conclusion.

Why does it matter if most economists surveyed think X? There are all sorts of biases at play, from publication bias, to selection bias, to confirmation bias.

What was their methodology used to get $37? What level of climate sensitivity did they use? What discount rate? What coefficient of relative risk aversion? Etc.

Why don't you ask them? I have my biases but I also look at the available literature. There is much more (and better) evidence to support my position.

If you look at the best estimates (such as by William Nordhaus and Richard Tol) they are closer to $20/ton.

What level of climate sensitivity did they use? What discount rate? What coefficient of relative risk aversion? Etc
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What level of climate sensitivity did they use? What discount rate? What coefficient of relative risk aversion? Etc

DICE 2013 used 3.2 C ECS, 1.5% discount rate, 1.45 coefficient of relative risk aversion.

FUND used 1.08% discount rate, 1.47 coefficient of relative risk aversion, and from memory they used the full ensemble of CMIP5 climate models, which have a median ECS of 3.2 C (could be wrong on this).

Their ECS values are defiantly biased upwards given recent evidence which suggests ECS is closer to 2 C. Coefficients of relative risk aversion are probably slightly too high (I argue this here https://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/expected-social-welfare-maximization-2.pdf).As for the discount rates, Nordhaus seems like he is over discounting the future given his coefficient of relative risk aversion, where as Tol's choice of discount rate + coefficient of relative risk aversion satisfies Ramsey's equation, but is probably too low given that the choice of the coefficient of relative risk aversion is too high.

I have many other criticisms of their work, but it is still fairly reasonable.

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Well. Let's all risk the future of society on your opinion.

Well following your advice on mitigation does nothing for the 'future of society'. All it does is piss away resources that would be better spent adapting to whatever change may come. If someone had a plausible way to actually reduce emissions then I would not be so opposed.

And yet, this research is good enough for it to be reported by the the Washington Post and the World Economic Forum. Do you think they are biased in favor of whatever cabal you think is running the climate change conspiracy?

You seem to have no problem accepting that scientists in the employ of corporations are biased by their economic interests. Why do you assume that such biases do not exist elsewhere? That is all I am claiming. No conspiracy, just a self-selected group of people who's economic interests depend on governments believing in climate alarmism.

You got nothing. No evidence. Just your own deeply held beliefs.

That is all you got. Unsubstantiated opinions that are largely driven by your politics. You believe the people you choose to believe because they provide opinions which you find politically useful. It certainly is not based on evidence although that is a lie you tell yourself.

Personally, I prefer honesty: we can't know how the future will unfold. People who claim to predict the future are delusional. All we can do is evaluate policies designed to manage different possible futures (which does include the possibility that he alarmists are correct). My problem is all proposed mitigation policies are not likely to work and are therefore a waste of resources. If someone came up with a mitigation policy that actually made engineering and economic sense then I would consider it.

Edited by TimG
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If someone came up with a mitigation policy that actually made engineering and economic sense then I would consider it.

Sure:

Electricity Production:

  • Build out variable renewables (like wind and solar) to comprise 10-15% of world electricity production rather than the current ~3.5%.
  • Overcome regulatory, political and economic hurdles to building out as much nuclear power as possible, phasing out old dirty coal plants. Fast track the deployment of the latest generation of nuclear reactor designs which have many significant advantages over older designs.
  • Build out more hydro power wherever possible (the world can generate a lot more hydro power than it currently does)

Transportation Sector:

  • Invest more in high-speed public transit in major cities (reduce passenger vehicle emissions)
  • Invest in electric railways and build out more rail networks for shipping across land (reduce trucking emissions)
  • Develop nuclear-powered transport ships instead of petrol burning ones (reduce transport ship emissions)

Residential:

  • Provide additional incentives for greater home efficiency (insulation, more efficient appliances, etc) to reduce gas and electricity used for heating/cooling

International:

  • Impose import tariffs on nations which do not implement their own effective mitigation policies, to allow local industry to remain competitive
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Weather has ALWAYS required a ton of money to adapt to it. To support your assertion you must demonstrate that 1) weather is more difficult to adapt to as a result of warming (hint there is no statistical evidence that weather today is worse than in the past) 2) the incremental cost of adaption over what we would have to do anyways is large enough to be a concern.

Climate isn't weather. Climate is long-term. Ie: rising sea/water levels due to ice caps melting and the expansion of ocean water molecules due to warming isn't weather, and will be unprecedented in modern centuries. Changing climates will mean some places will become more habitable, some will be less. Adapting = money. For developing countries without the money to adapt, more drought or flooding could mean bad consequences. A global economy means it will often affect us somehow, like food prices.

Edited by Moonlight Graham
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Sure:

Good suggestions but they depend on rational people making decisions. There is very little rational in this debate. Look at the number of people who fuss over pipelines when they are the safest way to transport a product that our society needs to consume for the foreseeable future.

That said, trade sanctions are a bad idea because deciding what an 'effective mitigation policy' is way to subjective. It would be just become a tool for abuse much like carbon trading.

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rising sea/water levels due to ice caps melting and the expansion of ocean water molecules due to warming isn't weather, and will be unprecedented in modern centuries.

We don't know that. If one extrapolates the current trends the rise will be less than a meter. Greater estimates are based entirely on model outputs which makes them hypotheses - nothing more.

Changing climates will mean some places will become more habitable, some will be less.

Nothing new. Humans have always had to deal long term shifts in the weather (e.g. medieval warming period). We simply have more technology available to a now which can only help. Even without climate change some places would become less productive due to farming methods/over population and that costs money to change.

Basically, no matter what we do we need to spend money on adaption and developing wealthier societies with access to low cost energy is the best way to pay for it.

Edited by TimG
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Good suggestions but they depend on rational people making decisions. There is very little rational in this debate. Look at the number of people who fuss over pipelines when they are the safest way to transport a product that our society needs to consume for the foreseeable future.

Ok... but the point is rational policies that fit into the category of mitigation do exist. So some steps towards mitigation are technologically and economically feasible. Whether they might be implemented or not given the political climate or not is another issue. I agree that many of the people in the environmental movement seem to prefer symbolism over substance in terms of what kind of policies are put forward, but this is a problem not just on this issue but on almost all issues that must be decided politically.

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