They\’re still getting it wrong on climate change

Almost 200 governments have agreed to try to limit global warming to below 3.6F (2C) above pre-industrial times, which is seen as a threshold for dangerous changes including more droughts, extinctions, floods and rising seas that could swamp coastal regions and island nations. Temperatures have already risen by 1.4F (0.8C) since the Industrial Revolution.

No, please, none of the \”it\’s not happening\” stuff.

They\’re simply wrong at the most basic theoretical level. We do not want to try and limit temperature changes. We want to limit the costs of attempting to prevent temperature changes. Limit those costs to the costs of allowing the temperature changes to take place of course.

Imagine, just imagine: the actions we need to take to limit to a 2 oC warming include shutting down he entirety of industrial civilisation. Should we therefore do that?

No, clearly not, the costs to us of shutting down industrial civilisation would be vast: the death of perhaps 5 billion people for example. We do not want to have to bear that cost in order to avoid the terrors of climate change if we go over 2oC.

Similarly, if avoiding going over 1oC (again, just imagine) can be done by simply installing solar power as and when it becomes entirely grid comparable without subsidy (hhm, perhaps 10, perhaps 15 years) then we would indeed want to bear that cost even though we\’ll be going nowhere near a 2oC rise.

It is the cost of avoiding versus the benefits of what is being avoided that is the important question: not the actual temperature that is reached or not. They\’re running the entire world on the wrong assumptions.

10 thoughts on “They\’re still getting it wrong on climate change”

  1. All of the above assumes that the mean surface temperature of the globe immediately before the industrial revolution was somehow optimal. I have never seen any justification for that. A warmer (and therefore wetter) world, and one with more CO2, is more conducive to plant growth, including crop growth. I’ll pass on the frost fairs on the Thames thanks.

  2. @Neil, but the immediately pre-industrial revolution temperature was _natural_ – that’s why it is optimal. It’s what nature had given us before man started raping and pillaging the earth. And the naturally higher, and lower, natural temperatures, and fluctuations thereof for billions of years beforehand were also natural and therefore good.

  3. JamesV, I’m unsure if you’re being ironic. But if you’re not, why do you say man’s actions are extrinsic to nature?

  4. This is the fucking UN you are talking about Tim. You remember?–the same gang that produced Agenda 21, where they talk about how much nicer it would be if there were 6 billion fewer of us proles. Of course that won’t apply to the statist/socialist (progressive) elite who will still be flying to their Tuscan villas–so they think.

    Do I think they actually intend to carry out such a plan?. Well it is like 9/11–I have no doubt whatsoever that the scum of the state (either nation or wannabe worldwides) are evil enough to do exactly that, but I doubt only their competence. They might try to start their elite paradise but enough of them have the animal cunning to know that once you start things rolling backwards you may not be able to control it. Far from paradise (for them), Mad Max world is the more likely outcome.

  5. The problem with “No, please, none of the “it’s not happening” stuff.” is that so many previous projections by IPCC et al have proven to be mirages or that subsequent reality has taken a different path.

    Time after time in the last few decades we get another of those armageddon projected temp increases similar to those in the Telegraph article, always with a “95%” confidence level. yet subsequent reality has always shown them to be wrong such that those original 95% probabilities are now actually around 2% probability and will be 100% wrong in a year or so.

    Not so much, it’s not happening as it has not happened, whats new this time?

  6. “Imagine, just imagine: the actions we need to take to limit to a 2 oC warming include shutting down he entirety of industrial civilisation. Should we therefore do that?”

    You say that like Greens think it would be a bad thing. Many Greens openly aspire to it. The honest ones, that is.

  7. Assuming that CO2 has something to do with warming (ignoring the lack of warming for 18 years & assuming it is happening) the cheapest way to cut it would be to allow mass production and sale of nuclear reactors worldwide. They would probably come in at about the cost of a 747 (being less complex) and electricity costs would drop by at least 90% – and I don’t think anybody can suggest a lower cost than that negative one.

    If we just wanted cooling whatever the cause we could put sulphur crystals into the stratosphere for £10s of millions rather then hundreds of billions. Personally I would be against cooling the planet until we know there is dangerous warming – we might get what we seek.

  8. Agreed, Neil.

    And we could seed the ocean with iron too. The limited experiment off the Galapagos was a great success and no doubt the green algae were suitably thankful.

    But the Greens stopped that too. Just as they’ve stopped golden rice, thorium research, etc. If I didn’t make an effort every day to avoid conspiracy theories I’d start to believe they were in the pocket of the windfarmers.

  9. Very well put. I think the climate scientists should revisit the story of King Canute – at least when he tried to turn the tides back it was to show his courtiers that natural events will take their course regardless of who objects.

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