According to research jumped on in Reuters based on no domain knowledge by clueless bureaucrats on the dole (sound familiar?):
- A weaker sun over the next 90 years is not likely to significantly delay a rise in global temperature caused by greenhouse gases,a report said Monday.
The study, by Britain’s Meteorological Office and the university of Reading, found that the Sun’s output would decrease up until 2100 but this would only lead to a fall in global temperatures of 0.08 degrees Celsius.
Scientists have warned that more extreme weather is likely across the globe this century as the Earth’s climate warms.
The world is expected to heat up by over 2 degrees Celsius this century due to increased greenhouse gas emissions.
Current global pledges to cut carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions are not seen as sufficient to stop the planet heating up beyond 2 degrees, a threshold scientists say risks an unstable climate in which weather extremes are common.
“This research shows that the most likely change in the sun’s output will not have a big impact on global temperatures or do much to slow the warming we expect from greenhouse gases,” said Gareth Jones, climate change detection scientist at the Met Office.
Astrophysicist Meteorologist and Climate Forecaster Piers Corbyn responds:
This UK Met Office and BBC promoted statement (Reuters) is extremely delusional and dishonest and a cover-up of reality.
Their ‘expectation’ that the world will warm by 2C this century ‘due to increased greenhouse gas emissions’ is proven drivel based on their own failed self-serving fraudulent models.
They deliberately choose to know almost nothing about solar influences on earth’s weather and climate and create ‘information’ designed to deceive.
It is the largely predictable vast changes in solar charged particle flux and sun-earth magnetic connectivity which control weather and climate.
That is why we at WeatherAction.com long range forecasters:
1. Confidently predict that the world will continue general cooling to 2035 - see presentation in submission to UK parliament enquiry into Dec 2010 supercold which we predicted
2. Systematically predict and will continue to predict extreme weather events and situations many months ahead around the world
The CO2 driver theory of weather and climate is delusional nonsense propagated by a self-serving failed sect. Their ‘theory’ fails to explain past weather and climate; all its predictions over the last ten years have failed and it cannot and never will predict anything.
The dangerous delusional CO2 sect must be destroyed before it’s diktats destroy the world economy and thousands more lives are lost from the chosen refusal of governments across the world to allow the application of scientific advanced forecasting of extreme weather which can help reduce disruption and destruction and save money and lives.
Piers Corbyn, MSc ARCS FRAS FRMetS,
WeatherAction.com long range weather and climate forecasters
See also some very different concluding solar research by David Archibald here.
Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)
Oregonians will finally get a chance to hear what three Oregon scientists would have told them in November, if it had not been for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. At the very last minute, they pulled the plug on the scientific meeting of the American Meteorological Society, scheduled to occur at OMSI.
Here is the new schedule and official announcement from the AMS:
(Cancelled November Global Warming Meeting Rescheduled)
WHAT: The much talked about Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) meeting on anthropogenic (human caused) global warming has been rescheduled! Come take a look at the science, both the logic and the evidence. Is human caused global warming the greatest scientific myth of our generation?
WHEN: Wednesday, January 25th 2012 from 7-9 PM. Please plan to arrive early. A large turnout is expected. There will be a no-host social hour in the Shilo restaurant from 5-7pm. Come eat dinner and/or have a beverage. Catch up with friends and colleagues!
WHERE: Portland Airport Shilo Inn Convention Center Ballroom 11707 NE Airport Way, Portland, OR 97220. Hotel directions: http://tinyurl.com/7jmpz3m
COST: FREE and open to the general public. Media is also welcome. Please re-forward this communication to all those who may have originally received it in November.
GUEST SPEAKERS: Former Oregon State Climatologist George Taylor, Meteorologist Chuck Wiese and Physicist Gordon Fulks, PhD.
AGENDA: Come hear Mr. Taylor, Mr. Wiese and Dr. Fulks explore what they consider to be the many problems with the theory of catastrophic human-caused climate change. They will also present their own forecasts for the next decade, century, millennium and beyond. There will also be a public Q & A session at the conclusion of the meeting.
Here is a little history:
In November, what do you suppose panicked OMSI into an irrational decision that was even condemned by The Oregonian newspaper? Apparently, Professor Phil Mote of Oregon State University and other leaders of the Global Warming cartel in Oregon were concerned that we would threaten their claims that our planet is headed for catastrophe unless we continue to fund their climate hysteria. With OMSI also heavily involved in the hysteria and related crony capitalism, they saw no option but to silence the opposition. The utter stupidity of this was, as The Oregonian pointed out, to call attention to the arguments against climate hysteria. Despite their call for “Balance,” it was crystal clear to everyone that the climate cartel was worried that we three musketeers would convince other scientists and the general public that man-made global warming was a “hoax.” It was a risk they could not take. (The Oregon AMS changed “hoax” to “myth” in their meeting title above to please OMSI and their own board members who support the hysteria.)
What was so dangerous about the truth that would cause OMSI and Mote to blunder in the way they did? A few years ago, they were riding very high with everything going their way. With only token opposition from then Oregon State Climatologist George Taylor and a global temperature that had risen slightly over the 20th century along with carbon dioxide, it was easy to convince the unsophisticated that man-made carbon dioxide was to blame. All they had to do was get rid of George, and they could live happily ever after. A debate was arranged at OMSI between Taylor and Mote, and the ensuing controversy forced George out of his position at OSU as State Climatologist.
But rather than quiet the opposition, this brought it more out into the open, with meteorologist Chuck Wiese, astrophysicist Gordon Fulks, and others taking up the battle in Oregon. Subsequent events, especially ClimateGate I and II, showed widespread bad behavior in the climate cartel that brought into question their abilities and honesty. The climate itself favored skeptics by refusing to warm as alarmists continued to predict. Privately, alarmists lamented their inability to explain climate variations over the last 15 years, while publically they embraced ever more ridiculous theories such as Global Warming ‘could mean colder winters.’
To find out the truth as best we know it, please join us at the Airport Shilo Inn on Wednesday January 25 from 7 to 9 pm.
Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)
Corbett, Oregon USA
P.S. I am grateful to the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society for making this meeting possible. They have risen above the bad behavior of their national organization which has a policy supporting climate hysteria. We hope that their courage will extend beyond this one meeting into a new era of openness where opposing ideas can be discussed without any demands for political correctness.
To accomplish this, they will need to divorce themselves from their still close links to the climate cartel and especially to OMSI. Although OMSI normally offers them free space for their meetings, this ‘no cost’ comes at a very high price: control of the agenda. ‘Agenda-driven science’ is the scourge of modern science, with problems extending far beyond climate science. They should realize that any ‘science’ where the result is predetermined by political authorities is not science at all. Furthermore, any ‘science’ that cannot be questioned is not science at all.
Does the Oregon AMS Board really understand this? Time will tell.
Roger Pielke Jr.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is a federal agency that does a lot of excellent work related to weather, climate and the oceans. In fact, it is the primary sponsor of CIRES here at the University of Colorado where I serve as a Fellow. However, NOAA has been publishing information related to disasters that is extremely misleading and scientifically inaccurate.
The graph above (enlarged) shows NOAA’s tally of “billion dollar disasters” which NOAA defines as “the 1980-2005 events which resulted in at least $1 billion in overall damages/costs at the time of the event” (emphasis added, source here in PDF). The bolded part of that sentence is where NOAA’s methodology has a serious flaw, as $1 billion does not mean the same thing today as it did in 1980. In fact, adjusting just for inflation means that $1 billion today would have been the equivalent of $400 million in 1980. And that is not all, because there has been considerable development across the nation since 1980, meaning that there is more property and wealth to be damaged, $1 billion in damage today is actually equivalent to about $170 million in 1980.
Events which would have caused $1 billion in damage today, but did not when they occurred are not included in the NOAA listing. So by focusing on a $1 billion threshold, as $1 billion comes to represent less and less over time, NOAA has built in a strong bias in their analysis which creates the illusion of trend. If the point of the analysis is to say something about trends in weather, it will always be better to look at weather data, not damage data.
Think of this analogy: Imagine if you had a shopping cart and added up the number products in your basket costing more than $5. In 1980 you would not have very many, and today you’d have a lot. Would a index of “number of products costing more than $5 in a basket” tell you anything about the overall cost of food? No.
The New York Times recently published an editorial that serves as a good example of how NOAA’s data is misleading (Nature however is not fooled):
A typical year in the United States features three or four weather disasters costing more than $1 billion. In 2009 there were nine. Last year brought a dozen, at a cost of $52 billion, making it the most extreme year for weather since accurate record keeping began in the 19th century.
To be sure, 2011 saw some very extreme events in the United States. But was it the “most extreme year for weather” since the 19th century? Not by a long shot, whether the metric is dollar damage or loss of life.
The NOAA “billion dollar” data has only 1 event from 1980 costing $1 billion, a major drought. I have quickly compiled a list of other events that would have certainly resulted in more than $1 billion in damage were they to occur today and a second list of events that lack detailed accounting, but would be worth a further look (note that a rigorous analysis would implement the methodology of economic normalization that we have applied in a range of contexts).
1980 Disasters Greater than $1 Billion in Normalized 2011 Dollars But Not on the NOAA List
Hurricane Allen - Aug 9, 1980 - $2.0 billion
Grand Island Tornadoes - June 3, 1980 - $1.7 billion
Western Wisconsin Derecho—July 16, 1980 - $3.8 billion
California/Arizona Floods—February 13-21, 1980 -$2.0 billion
Other candidates for inclusion but lacking a rigorous quantitative accounting:
Hampton Roads “Circus” Blizzard— January
There are thus 4 events that clearly would have been $1 billion events had they occurred in 2011 and I can find 5 other candidates for which data is lacking, but which could possibly have reached $170 million in damage in 1980 (especially if data collection were as intensive as today). Regardless, of whether the total is 4 or 9 missed events or somewhere in the middle, NOAA’s data misses at least 80% of the billion dollar disasters in 1980. Not good. No doubt that a reanalysis of the years 1981 to present would turn up many more such events that failed to meet the contemporary billion-dollar threshold but would certainly do so today.
It is extremely misleading to use economic impacts as the basis for making claims about weather and climate. NOAA should take immediate steps to improve the scientific quality of its tabulation of “billion dollar disasters” lest it find itself accused of misleading the public and decision makers with scientifically unsound information.
By David Fleshler, Sun Sentinel
Driven by plunging temperatures, hundreds of manatees stampeded south on the Intracoastal Waterway over the past two days toward the warm water of power plant discharges in Riviera Beach and Fort Lauderdale.
Cold snaps have emerged as a leading killer of manatees over the past three years, exceeding deaths by boat collisions, according to figures kept by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“Manatees are tropical animals so they start to suffer when the water temperature goes below 68 degrees,” said Kathryn Curtin, a contract biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey based at Port Everglades.
An aerial count Wednesday in Broward County found 63 manatees heading toward Port Everglades, where the Florida Power & Light plant sucks in water for cooling and emits it at a higher temperature. A total of 472 manatees were counted in Broward Wednesday, and that number could climb to 800 or so if the cold weather continues, said Pat Quinn, the county’s manatee coordinator.
In Riviera Beach, where the power plant is offline for modernization, FPL provides heated water anyway for manatees that have learned to expect it. The company turned on the heaters for the first time Tuesday night, said Paul Davis, Palm Beach County’s manatee coordinator. Although hard numbers were not available, he said there were probably hundreds in the county, particularly around the plant.
At Port Everglades, manatees could be seen swimming around a basin popular with mothers with calves. Curtin said calves are particularly vulnerable to cold, making new mothers among the first to show up at the power plant when temperatures drop.
The Fish and Wildlife commission said Wednesday that cold weather killed 112 manatees last year, 282 in 2010 and 56 in 2009, much higher numbers than in previous years. Over the same three-year period, boats killed 258 manatees.
“We are concerned about the number of manatee deaths the past three years, including those resulting from exposure to cold weather,” said Gil McRae, director of the commission’s Research Institute. “Over the next few years, we will use data from monitoring programs to better understand any long-term implications for the population.”
The cold also makes manatees more vulnerable to collisions with boats, because they travel between power plant refuges and sources of food that could be miles away. Although Palm Beach County has extensive stands of sea grass, Broward does not, forcing manatees to travel long distances for meals.
At Port Everglades, Curtin works in a program that tracks manatees by the unique pattern of prop scars on their backs. She said 80-90 percent of manatees have these scars, which allow researchers to track manatees’ movements, calving and other aspects of their life histories.
Power plants became more important to manatees as natural sources of warm water dried up, due to human consumption or development.
New Paper: The Sun’s Impact On Earth’s Temperature Goes Far Beyond the simplistic total solar irradiance (TSI)
TSI is the only measure Warmists will consider
A recent paper published by the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar Terrestial Physics (74) 2012 87-93 and authored by Souza Echer et al. suggests that solar cycles, to a substantial extent, drive global temperatures, and that likely through amplification mechanisms.
The paper is titled: “On the relationship between global, hemispheric and latitudinal averaged air surface temperature (GISS time series) and solar activity”
The authors decomposed average air surface temperature series obtained from GISS and sunspot number (Rz) from 1880 - 2005 to see if a correlation could be found. They performed a cross correlation analysis between band-passed filtered data around 11-year and 22 years.
Although the authors did not find a strong correlation with the 11-year solar cycle, they found a “very significant correlation” in the 22-year Hale cycle band. The abstract states:
A very significant correlation (Rz 0.57 to 0.80) is found in the 22 yr solar Hale cycle band (16 - 32 years ) with lags from zero to four years between latitudinal averages air surface temperature and Rz. Therefore it seems that the 22 yr magnetic field solar cycle might have a higher effect on Earth’s climate than solar variations related to the 11-yr sunspot cycle.”
Well then, can we not assume that if the 22-year cycles have an impact, also the 78-year, 210-year, and 1000-year solar activity cycles must have a “significant correlation” with the earth’s climate too? Already there are dozens of proxy records showing that this is precisely the case.
Recall that the CO2 warmists in their half-baked models stubbornly keep focusing only on total solar irradiance (TSI), which itself varies only about 0.1% over an 11-year cycle (and thus by itself is no real climate driver) and ignore all the other amplification mechanisms. Well, the results of this study, as do dozens of others studies, show you can’t do that. Like it or not - the sun is a real player. Eventually the CO2 warmists will have to admit this, as anyone with even just an inkling of intuition would do.
Obviously there are others who feel the same way when it comes to the role of the sun on the earth’s climate. Another paper just published at the same journal shows that other scientists are hot on the sun’s trail. Here Magee and Kavic in their paper titled: “Probing the climatological impact of a cosmic ray–cloud connection through low-frequency radio observations” suspect a solar mechanism and so propose a method of observation. In the abstract they write:
…in order to establish whether or not such a relationship exists, measurements of short-timescale solar events, individual cosmic ray events, and spatially correlated cloud parameters could be of great significance. Here we propose such a comparison using observations from a pair of radio telescopes arrays,the Long Wavelength Array (LWA) and the Eight-meter-wavelength Transient Array (ETA). These low-frequency radio arrays have a unique ability to simultaneously conduct solar, ionospheric and cosmic rays observations and are thus ideal for such a comparison.:
The direction of climate science and investigation is clear. The real discoveries will involve unraveling the solar mechanisms, and not baking simplistic, straight-line CO2-temperature models. With each new study, the CO2 warmists look more and more like broken records that keep repeating: CO2…CO2…CO2…CO2…
Obviously some scientists just aren’t clever enough to snap out of it.
SOURCE (See the original for links)
Shock News : Sea Level Almost As High As Eight Years Ago
Sea level has been rising over the last few months (as it does every Northern Hemisphere autumn) and is almost as high now as when Envisat started taking measurements in 2003. If sea level continues to rise at this rate, an ant may drown sometime in the next millennium. Or perhaps not.
SOURCE (See the original for links)
Apologies, apologies! I’ve been on sabbatical, working on several other projects during the past months and have been remiss in my column writing. So it’s time to put pen to paper and continue where I left off: exposing the greatest fraud in the history of science: the theory (yes, theory) of man-made global warming, aka “climate change” and “climate disruption.” (The charlatans and ignoramuses promoting this alarmist nonsense can’t decide what name to give their junk science.)
From this day forward, I will endeavor to regularly inform, enlighten and entertain those readers (both skeptics and self-confessed warmists) who are exposed daily to a constant stream of climate change propaganda peddled by lazy, uninquisitive reporters who willingly serve as advocate-stenographers (Andrew Revkin, are you reading?) for global warming alarmism.
As I’ve done in the past, let me mention one very important point: the theory of human-induced global warming is exactly that—a theory. The scientists promoting it—the Jim Hansens, Kenneth Trenberths and Phil Joneses of the world—have never demonstrated conclusively that human CO2 emissions are warming the planet. Even laymen researchers who’ve done a few hours of homework (and don’t rely on PR releases for their data) know that humans produce a whopping 0.28 percent of the so-called greenhouse gases, with anthropogenic (man-made) CO2 accounting for a minuscule 0.117 percent of the total. Using a real-world comparison, 0.117 percent of a football field would equal just over four inches.
The warmists’ scientific conclusions are based purely on climate modeling, not experimentation, observation or hard empirical data. Worse, they’ve turned the scientific method on its head. Instead of constructing a theory and then rigorously testing and re-testing to see if it stands up to scientific examination, they start with a pre-ordained conclusion (i.e., fossil fuel-based CO2 emissions cause the earth to warm) and then manipulate and tune their computer models to churn out data that support it. In short, human-induced global warming is the product of laboratory computer simulations and over-active imaginations; it doesn’t exist in the real world.
Another article of faith that deserves a healthy dose of skepticism—from warmists and lukewarmists alike—is the so-called greenhouse theory. According to this sacrosanct doctrine, CO2 and other greenhouse gases “trap” infrared readiation, thus acting like a thermal blanket, raising the earth’s atmospheric temperature to a cozy 33 degrees centigrade. Lucky humanity: Without this atmospheric greenhouse guardian, we’d spend a small fortune heating our homes while arming ourselves against nuisance polar bears roaming the countryside.
It should be noted that the greenhouse theory is relatively modern in origin and, as astrophysicist Joseph Postma observes, “is never mentioned in any fundamental work of thermodynamics, physical kinetics or radiation theory.” Try as you may, you won’t find the terms greenhouse effect or glass-house effect mentioned in any classical textbooks on experimental or theoretical physics.
According to Postma, “the Greenhouse Effect is indeed a theory; it is not a benign empirical fact, such as the existence of the sun, for example. As a theory it has a scientific development which is open to inspection and review.”
But in the minds of the warmists, questioning the theology of greenhouse warming is akin to blasphemy. Better to be caught red-handed showering with a 12-year-old in a Penn State locker room.
As W.R. Pratt points out in his article, “The Science is Settled?” a scientific hypothesis is not established science. Yes, the greenhouse hypothesis has been around for 180 years since it was first proposed in the 1820s by Joseph Fourier and later refined by John Tyndall, professor of physics at the Royal Institution of Great Britain in the 1850s. But, according to Pratt, the hypothesis remains unproven despite arguments to the contrary.
As he explains:
“In order to single out certain atmospheric gases and demonize them as the culprits responsible for atmospheric warming, it was necessary to attribute certain characteristics to the so-called ‘Greenhouse Gases’ with regard to radiant heat, which would set them apart from the two most abundant atmospheric gases, Oxygen and Nitrogen.”
According to Pratt, Tyndall fallaciously argued that oxygen and nitrogen are “practically transparent to radiant heat,” a hypothesis that serves as the foundation of today’s AGW fraud. He challenges Tyndall’s thesis:
“It has been suggested that the ability of oxygen and nitrogen to absorb heat is virtually undetectable under laboratory conditions but it must be remembered that the quantities examined under such conditions would be minute. These two gases alone make up 99% of all the atmosphere, so their overall effect on atmospheric temperature is not to be underestimated.
“Firstly, Oxygen and Nitrogen both have higher specific heat capacities than CO2 [see:Specific heat capacity of Gases]. Secondly, and above all, Oxygen and Nitrogen, of course, do indeed absorb infrared radiation [see: Infrared absorption bands for OXYGEN and A close-up of an infrared absorption band for NITROGEN]. The problem for the hypothesis of the ‘Greenhouse Effect’ and, of course, AGW itself is that the basic premise on which the hypothesis is based is false.”
Is Pratt correct? I don’t know, but his arguments deserve a fair hearing. As skeptics have long argued, science is about debate and the dogged pursuit of facts supported by down-and-dirty research and rigorous experimentation. Science thrives on different points of view that are openly debated. But it suffers when scientists who should know better argue that the “science is settled” (science is never settled) while ridiculing and denouncing anyone who expresses opposing viewpoints.
As the Nobel Prize-winnng American physicist Richard P. Feynman once said,
“It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”
WELCOME BACK KIRK, YOU HAVE BEEN MISSED.
Prof. Michael E. Mann writes ("Climate Contrarians Ignore Overwhelming Evidence,” Letters, Dec. 5) that his 1999 “hockey stick” graph “showed that average temperatures today are higher than they have been for at least the past 1,000 years.”
But Mr. Mann’s paper only covered the northern hemisphere. It included the questionable use of annual bristlecone-pine tree rings for temperature reconstruction. Even then, it replaced some tree-ring data with estimates. Tree-ring series that showed a 20th-century uptick were given 390 times the weighting of other series, according to a 2005 study by Ross McKitrick, an environmental economist at the University of Guelph. Mr. Mann and his fellow Climategate emailers used what they called “Mann’s Nature trick” to “hide” the mismatch between late-20th-century warming and the cooling the tree-rings showed.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mann has often refused to supply programs and data to researchers wishing to verify his work. The 2006 Wegman report for the U.S. House of Representatives showed that many of the papers supporting Mr. Mann’s results, which appeared shortly after Mr. McKitrick and his colleague Stephen McIntyre published their expose of his graph, were written largely by Mr. Mann’s associates and co-authors.
The National Academy of Sciences did not, as Mr. Mann says, “affirm” his conclusions, for the data were insufficient. Papers by scientists from all over the world show the medieval warm period that Mr. Mann’s work appeared to abolish was real, global and warmer than today.
Mr. Mann’s questionable result casts doubt on the scientific standards of the Climategate scientists and the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Indur M. Goklany and Julian Morris
It is frequently asserted that climate change could have devastating consequences for poor countries. Indeed, this assertion is used by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other organizations as one of the primary justifications for imposing restrictions on human emissions of greenhouse gases.
But there is an internal contradiction in the IPCC’s own claims. Indeed, the same highly influential report from the IPCC claims both that poor countries will fare terribly and that they will be much better off than they are today. So, which is it? The apparent contradiction arises because of inconsistencies in the way the IPCC assesses impacts. The process begins with various scenarios of future emissions.
These scenarios are themselves predicated on certain assumptions about the rate of economic growth and related technological change. Under the IPCC’s highest growth scenario, by 2100 GDP per capita in poor countries will be double the U.S.’s 2006 level, even taking into account any negative impact of climate change. (By 2200, it will be triple.) Yet that very same scenario is also the one that leads to the greatest rise in temperature - and is the one that has been used to justify all sorts of scare stories about the impact of climate change on the poor. Under this highest growth scenario (known as A1FI), the poor will logically have adopted, adapted and innovated all manner of new technololgies, making them far better able to adapt to the future climate. But these improvements in adaptive capacity are virtually ignored by most global warming impact assessments. Consequently, the IPCC’s “impacts” assessments systematically overestimate the negative impact of global warming, while underestimating the positive impact. Moreover, in these “impacts” assessments, global warming is not expected for the most part to create new problems; rather, it is expected to exacerbate some existing problems of poverty (in particular, hunger, disease, extreme events), while relieving others (such as habitat loss and water shortages in some places).
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which would reduce every warming impact regardless of whether it is good or bad, is but one approach to dealing with the consequences of warming. And it would likely be very costly. In fact, reducing emissions is unlikely to help poorer countries deal with most of the problems they face either today or in the future. With respect to mortality from hunger, malaria and extreme events, for example, global warming is estimated to contribute to only 13% of the problem in 2085.
Another approach to reducing the impact of global warming would be to reduce the climatesensitive problems of poverty through “focused adaptation.” This might involve, for example, major investments in early warning systems, the development of new crop varieties, and public health interventions. Focused adaptation would allow society to capture the benefits of global warming while allowing it to reduce climate-sensitive problems that global warming might worsen. For instance, emission reductions would at most reduce mortality from hunger, malaria and extreme events by only 13%, whereas focused adaptation could essentially eliminate these causes of mortality.
A third approach would be to fix the root cause of why developing countries are deemed to be most at-risk, namely, poverty. Sustained economic growth would, as is evident from the experience of developed countries, address virtually all problems of poverty, not just that portion exacerbated by global warming. It is far more certain that sustainable economic growth will provide greater benefits than emission reductions: while there is no doubt that poverty leads to disease and death, there is substantial doubt regarding the reality and magnitude of the negative impact of global warming. This is especially true as assessments often ignore improvements in adaptive capacity. Of these three approaches, human well-being in poorer countries is likely to be advanced most effectively by sustained economic development and least by emission reductions. In addition, because of the inertia of the climate system, economic development is likely to bear fruit faster than any emission reductions.
For richer countries, too, net GDP per capita in the future is expected to be much higher than it is today despite any climate change. Thus, all countries should focus on generating sustained economic development. This approach would not only address all of the current problems that might get worse in the future but would also enable humanity to address more effectively any other future problems it encounters, whether climate-related or otherwise.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deems poor countries to be at greater risk from global warming (GW) than rich countries because they are less able to mobilize the resources required to use technologies needed to cope with the impact of GW. That is, their “adaptive capacity” is low.
The IPCC also claims that GW will exacerbate many problems - such as malaria and other vector-borne diseases, hunger, water shortages, vulnerability to extreme weather events and flooding - that the poor currently face and with which they have difficulty coping. Yet aren’t these both basically the same thing and both caused by an underlying lack of economic development?
Building on the notion that the current adaptive capacity of poor countries is low, the IPCC, among others, claims that global warming could also hinder their sustainable development. Others argue that the impact of global warming could overwhelm weak or poor governments, leading to economic and political instability, which, in turn, could breed terrorism and conflict, and precipitate mass migration to richer countries.
This paper seeks to assess whether these assertions are justified. It begins with a discussion that sheds light on the main factors that affect the trends in climate-sensitive indicators of human wellbeing. The discussion recognizes the role of fossil fuels in powering economic and technological development.
Next, it examines the notion - implicit in the view that poor countries will be swamped by the future impact of GW - that their adaptive capacity will remain low in the future. It specifically examines whether this view is justified in light of the economic assumptions built into the IPCC scenarios.
These economic assumptions are among the primary drivers of the IPCC’s climate change projections, which are then used to estimate the likely future impact (including specific damages) from GW. They are, thus, fundamental to estimates of the magnitude and direction of the future impact of GW. The paper then considers the proposition that while higher rates of economic development would lead to greater climate-related impact from GW, it would also result in higher adaptive capacity. This raises the question as to whether or not the economic development and associated technological change assumed by the IPCC scenarios will increase the damage from GW faster than the increases in adaptive capacity and, consequently, hinder sustainable development. Likewise, it raises the question as to whether insufficient economic and technological development would hinder the ability to cope with future GW.
The answers to these questions are crucial in determining which policy is best suited to addressing GW resulting from human activity. Finally, based on the foregoing analysis, the paper outlines policies to help advance human wellbeing in poor countries while enhancing their ability to cope with GW.