Thursday, May 30, 2013

So Far, Climate Scepticism is Right

A new SPPI paper by Christopher Monckton of Brenchly

[Illustrations, footnotes and references available in PDF version]

So far, the climate skeptics are right, the cry-babies wrong.
The cost of mitigating just 1 C° of this century’s predicted 3 C° warming via worldwide carbon taxes, emissions trading, windmills and suchlike fooleries (for all are as cost-ineffective as Australia’s tax) would be $3.2 quadrillion.

Just to cut the 1/6 C° warming predicted for the current decade would cost the world $540 trillion, or $77,000 for every man, woman and child on Earth, or 80% of ten years’ global GDP. Yet the Stern report of 2006 costs letting 3 C° warming happen this century at just 1.5% of GDP. Even if the world warms by 3 C° this century (it won’t), and even if the cost of letting 3 C° happen were as much as 1.5% of GDP (it isn’t), it costs 50 times more to act today than to adapt later. 

The cost-ineffectiveness of probably-needless climate mitigation, not indifference to our grandchildren’s fate, is why governments are rightly ignoring the cry-babies crying Wolf.


  1. If you believe that planetary surface temperatures are all to do with radiative forcing rather than non-radiative heat transfers, then you are implicitly agreeing with IPCC authors (and Dr Roy Spencer) that a column of air in the troposphere would have been isothermal but for the assumed greenhouse effect. You are believing this because you are believing the 19th century simplification of the Second Law of Thermodynamics which said heat only transfers from hot to cold - a "law" which is indeed true for all radiation, but only strictly true in a horizontal plane for non-radiative heat transfer by conduction.
    The Second Law of Thermodynamics in its modern form explains a process in which thermodynamic equilibrium "spontaneously evolves" and that thermodynamic equilibrium will be the state of greatest accessible entropy.
    Now, thermodynamic equilibrium is not just about temperature, which is determined by the mean kinetic energy of molecules, and nothing else. Pressure, for example, does not control temperature. Thermodynamic equilibrium is a state in which total accessible energy (including potential energy) is homogeneous, because if it were not homogeneous, then work could be done and so entropy could still increase.
    When such a state of thermodynamic equilibrium evolves in a vertical plane in any solid, liquid or gas, molecules at the top of a column will have more gravitational potential energy (PE), and so they must have less kinetic energy (KE), and so a lower temperature, than molecules at the bottom of the column. This state evolves spontaneously as molecules interchange PE and KE in free flight between collisions, and then share the adjusted KE during the next collision.
    This postulate was put forward by the brilliant physicist Loschmidt in the 19th century, but has been swept under the carpet by those advocating that radiative forcing is necessary to explain the observed surface temperatures. Radiative forcing could never explain the mean temperature of the Venus surface, or that at the base of the troposphere of Uranus - or that at the surface of Earth.
    The gravitationally induced temperature gradient in every planetary troposphere is fully sufficient to explain all planetary surface temperatures. All the weak attempts to disprove it, such as a thought experiment with a wire outside a cylinder of gas, are flawed, simply because they neglect the temperature gradient in the wire itself, or other similar oversights.
    The gravity effect is a reality and the dispute is not an acceptable disagreement.
    The issue is easy to resolve with a straight forward, correct understanding of the implications of the spontaneous process described in statements of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
    Hence radiative forcing is not what causes the warming, and so carbon dioxide has nothing to do with what is just natural climate change.

    1. I don't believe "that planetary surface temperatures are all to do with radiative forcing" and have hundreds of posts demonstrating that

  2. Even if the Stern Report is right about the science of human-caused global warming and even if public spending could prevent the predicted global warming, the economic consequences of so much public spending would be more detrimental to mankind than global warming.

    Which would be worse the disease or the cure? The Stern Report accepts the diagnosis that human-caused global warming is the disease and prescribes public spending as the cure.

    Public spending to cure global warming must be supported by taxation that reduces private spending.

    For most people this would mean reduced standard of living. For the rich, this would mean less investment. Less investment would mean fewer jobs. For governments this would mean less infrastructure such as roads, power stations, water supplies, schools, hospitals.

    For the next hundred years at least public policy in all countries will be geared to restructuring the economies of these countries to reduce CO2 production and to sink CO2 into storage. All of this based upon cost-benefit analyses such as the Stern Report..

  3. In my opinion, the Stern Report is deficient as a cost-benefit study. Cost-benefit studies require analysts to estimate costs and all benefits to society and then to compare the "do-nothing" and "do-somthing" cases.

    Since the Stern Report focuses on global warming the Report must assess global costs and global benefits.

    I have no comment about the costs of mitigation as presented in the report. I comment here only on the assessment of the benefits, specifically under-estimation of the benefits of global warming.

    The benefits of global warming include longer cropping seasons, more options for plant varieties on the margins of climate zones, reduced risk of early/late frosts, etc.

    Warming means higher evapotranspiration, but this is reduced by the fact that in the presence of elevated CO2 plants develop smaller stomata and thus require less water. C3 and C4 plants differ in their response to elevated CO2 and although some crops will benefit more than others, the balance of economic benefit favours elevated CO2.

    (CO2 levels in the atmosphere are still far below optimal for many food crops, which is why greenhouse operators pump CO2 into their greenhouses.)

    The benefits of increased CO2 to agriculture, horticulture, aboriculture and animal husbandry may be expected to offset a substantial part of the costs of CO2 elevation and global warming through increased production.

    These benefits include CO2 enrichment for enhanced photosynthesis and reduced water needs resulting from smaller stomata.

    Higher cost of cooling by air-conditioning offsets savings in the cost of heating. The engineering estimates I have seen that compare cooling and heating costs show a clear net benefit from global warming.

    Loss of life is usually included in cost-benefit studies. Here also the net benefit favours global warming.

    In my opinion, the Stern Report grossly overestimates the net cost imputed to human-caused global warming. The Report therefore over-estimates the benefits of the policies it advocates.

    Further, the discount rate used in the Report implies a value-judgement about who would pay and who would benefit. The present generation would pay more and benefit less than their children, their children would pay more and benefit less than their children. The low discount rate implies that the poorer generation should subsidize the richer generation.

    Specifiaclly, the effect of the low discount rate is to favour great-great grandchildren much more than grand-children. As Richard Tol has pointed out, if the Report were correct in its assumptions, our great-great grandchildren will be richer than our grand-children.

    So how is equity served by making ourselves, our children and our grandchildren poorer in order to make our great-great grandchildren richer?

    See: Richard Tol, Biased Policy Advice From the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Energy and Environment Volume 18 No. 7 and 8 2007.

    In my opinion, the Stern Report is not a cost-benefit analysis it is a travesty of cost-benefit analysis.

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