Extremely amusing

The latest warming alarm:

Earlier research had underestimated the impact, partly because a hole in the ozone level has so far offset global warming in the region.

Right, so if the sea level rise they\’re now predicting is so terrible, perhaps we should go back to pumping CFCs into the atmosphere? Given that non-CFCs cost us more than the older technology (which is why we needed to make CFCs illegal to stop people making and using them) this would of course be a less than zero cost solution. It would save us money while at the same time reducing global warming.

Sounds like an excellent idea really but I doubt its a chance of being adopted


If temperatures continue to increase in the next two to five hundred years, sea level rise could go up by 20 feet (6m) as more of Antarctica melts, the study indicated, which would be catastrophic for much of the world.

Well, no it wouldn\’t actually.

The best assumptions we can make about most things are straight line assumptions. Tomorrow is going to be much like today, the Sun will rise in the East, the earth will advance around 1/365th of its orbit around the Sun and so on. Ever since we invented this liberal capitalism thing those places which have practised it have seen something like a 2% rise per annum, per capita, in living standards. That\’s a euphemism for \”wealth\”, riches, spondoolies, the ability to do things.

It\’s also true that over each century we replace most of the physical capital of our societies twice: 50 years is, a few public buildings apart (and we pretty much rebuild them as well on longer time scales), a reasonable estimate for how often we replace everything. So over 200 years we\’re going to replace most stuff four times, over 500 years ten times.

So let\’s make the very reasonable assumption that the next couple of centuries are going to be much like the past couple of centuries. Why not, after all, the IPCC does make that assumption (actually, they put growth at 3%, not 2%) in one of their economic models so this is entirely consistent with the scientific consensus.

In 200 years time people will be 52 times richer than we are. In 500 years time, 20,000* times richer than we are. And they\’ll have had a few capital replacement cycles, a few centuries\’ worth in fact, to build anew things above the new shore line.

Personally, I think it blindingly obvious that a society 50 to 20,000 times richer than we are will be able to, over a couple of centuries, deal with a 20 ft sea rise without even breaking into a sweat.

One other thing we might note: if there is no economic growth then there won\’t be the warming that is predicted. If we look at the other economic models used by the IPCC we see that (this is gross economic growth, not per capita, simply because I can\’t be bothered to fiddle with the figures again) their *lowest* estimate of economic growth is 1.5% per annum over the coming century (derived from global GDP being roughly $50 trillion in 1990, the base year, their lowest prediction for 2100 being $250 trillion). Which means that in 2200 the world will be 19 times richer than it is now, in 2500, 1,700* times richer.

That still looks like a society rich enough to deal with this, with that few centuries warning, without stopping to pause for breath really.

And do please note: these are the IPCC assumptions. If we don\’t get this growth of between 1,700 times and 20,000 times in the economy by 2500 then we also ain\’t gonna get the warming that the climate models predict.

* Please do note that these huge numbers are not *20,000* percent, or 1,700 percent. They really are x *times* current GDP.

Please also note that the IPCC does not predict GDP beyond 2100. I\’ve simply applied a straight line extension of the forecasts they use to that point.

3 thoughts on “Extremely amusing”

  1. “Which means that in 2200 the world will be 19 times richer than it is now, in 2500, 1,700* times richer.”
    So their houses will be 19 times bigger in 2200? I would guess not so could you clarify 19 times richer please? I am 1.2 x times better off than I was 4 years ago and as a result I live in a home that is 20 % bigger than my old one.

  2. When I got married we went on honeymoon to the Maldives. We were told that in 20 years it would be underwater.

    We’ve just celebrated our 19th Anniversary, so it’s going to require some Day-After-Tomorrow style disaster to come true ….

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