If you want to get into the weeds of climate science and policy (and other science issues), you should bookmark the science blog of Roger Pielke Jr of the University of Colorado. Pielke is not a climate skeptic. Like Bjorn Lomborg, he accepts the conventional or “consensus” view that future climate change could be potentially very serious 100 years out from now. Here I should disclose that I have a slightly different view about climate change than John; I don’t think climate change is a complete hoax. I think it is far from adequately understood and almost certainly to be recognized someday as having been vastly overestimated (like most past envrio-scares from the population bomb through acid rain). The cabal pushing the issue are acting in supremely bad faith, and their prescriptions (Kyoto Protocol, etc) are idiotic and tyrannical.
That said, aspects of this issue are worth taking seriously, and few do it better than Pielke, who, while accepting the so-called “consensus,” spends a lot of his time knocking down the extravagant and often reckless claims of the climate campaigners, like this fisking of Paul Krugman’s recent column invoking climate change to explain Egypt. Needless to say, the climate campaigners hate Pielke for this. You can read my Weekly Standard review of Pielke’s fine new book The Climate Fix here for additional background on what I regard as his superior analytical approach to climate issues.
Roger has an interesting post up this morning about two new papers that throw cold water, so to speak, on one of the favorite talking points of the climate campaign–that climate change will mean a huge increase in extreme weather events that will be extremely costly to the economy and will threaten millions of lives. One of the studies Pielke cites concludes:
Given empirical evidence about the link between climate and damages, climate change is calculated to increase the damages from these five extreme events [local storms, heat waves, cold spells, floods, and droughts] by between $11 and $16 billion a year by 2100. There is little supporting evidence that climate affects deaths from these events (except for the possibility of local storm deaths increasing).
The last sentence there is especially telling. This projection is for the year 2100, which means the potential upper-bound $16 billion cost would amount to 0.015% of global GDP in the year 2100, practically a rounding error in the economy 90 years from now, and way lower than projections the Al Gore crowd likes to throw around.
What coal-funded stooge produced this study? The World Bank. Strangely, though, the link Roger puts in his post is not working this morning; it says “access to this document has been denied.” Has the World Bank blocked access to the study because its findings are . . . inconvenient? (Though a second similar World Bank paper Roger links to is available, so it could be a simple case of bureaucratic confusion.) It wouldn’t be the first time that a study was suppressed or altered though. Two years ago the International Energy Agency in Paris produced a report that called into question climate orthodoxy about energy trends, and after they took fire from the climate campaign more or less recanted completely in their next big energy survey.
Let’s keep our eye on this, and also watch to see whether this World Bank study gets any notice from the media that otherwise reports slavishly any study that concludes doom is upon us.
UPDATE: The World Bank link is now fixed (or a different one is working–Roger’s original link still seems to be dead for some reason.)