I’d love to be wrong on my prognostications about the consequences of a warming climate as that would mean that the future is not so bleak as I’ve often made it out to be. And I guess it’s a bit braggadocios to be an “I told you so”. But, as has been the case over and over, the early warnings that I have been posting in this communication to you over the years that the conventional wisdom is way to conservative continually turns out to be correct. And here we go again…
This time Harvard and the London School of Economics, two pretty legitimate and credible institutions, are confirming what I’ve been saying for years…there’s:
“mounting evidence that current economic models of the aggregate global impacts of climate change are inadequate in their treatment of uncertainty and grossly underestimate potential future risks”.
The reason that I write this blog is to provide education, insight and information to people who can and will do something to change the direction we are headed with significantly greater resolve than is currently the case. Of course we can all vote for candidates that can and will provide stronger leadership in terms of legislation and resources to move us more forcefully and quickly to mitigation and adaptation. Furthermore, many of you are in positions to help the right candidates get elected or influence elected officials’ policy decisions and votes. Many of you are also able to influence the direction of or our society in other ways. I hope that you will use this capacity in an assertive way to help save our planet and climate in the best interests of humanity and civil society before it’s too late. One thing you can also do is to support Sierra Club (or some other environmental advocacy organization) in our endeavors by becoming a member. Or, if you’re already one, increasing your support either financially or by getting involved as an activist. Here’s the link to the website to make it easy to figure out what’s best for you. sierraclub.org.
Our grandkids are counting on US.
Economic Models Significantly Underestimate Climate Change Risks
Policymakers are being misinformed by the results of economic models that underestimate the future risks of climate change impacts, according to a new journal paper by authors in the United States and the United Kingdom, which is published today (4 June 2018).
The paper in the Review of Environmental Economics and Policy calls for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to improve how it analyses the results of economic modeling as it prepares its Sixth Assessment Report, due to be published in 2021 and 2022.
The paper’s authors, Thomas Stoerk of the Environmental Defense Fund, Gernot Wagner of the Harvard University Center for the Environment and Bob Ward of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science, draw attention to “mounting evidence that current economic models of the aggregate global impacts of climate change are inadequate in their treatment of uncertainty and grossly underestimate potential future risks”.
They warn that the “integrated assessment models” used by economists “largely ignore the potential for ‘tipping points’ beyond which impacts accelerate, become unstoppable, or become irreversible”. As a result “they inadequately account for the potential damages from climate change, especially at moderate to high levels of warming”, due to rises in global mean temperature of more than 2 Celsius degrees.
The authors draw attention to “a major discrepancy between scientific and economic estimates of the impacts of unmanaged future climate change”. They state: “These discrepancies between the physical and the economic impact estimates are large, and they matter. However, physical impacts are often not translated into monetary terms and they have largely been ignored by climate economists.”
The paper states that the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report should “strengthen its focus on decision making under uncertainty” and “focus on estimating how the uncertainty itself affects economic and financial cost estimates of climate change”.
The authors point out that the preparation of the report “can act as a broad forum that brings together scientists and economists with a goal of quantifying the impacts of climate change”.
They suggest that this would allow the IPCC to “provide policymakers with a more robust and rigorous way of assessing the potential future risks of economic damage from climate change“.
The authors have written to Professor Hans-Otto Pörtner and Professor Debra Roberts, the Co-Chairs of IPCC Working Group II, to draw attention to the new paper.
More information: Review Of Environmental Economics And Policy (2018). DOI: 10.1093/reep/rey005
Provided by: London School of Economics