I’ve been predicting for a long time that sooner or later we’d begin to see media stories start slowly to change their line on climate change, from “Not So Serious After All” to “Benefits of Global Warming,” and eventually to “Never Mind.” (When was the last time you saw a major media story about acid rain? It was ranked the Number One environmental problem in the late 1970s, and got commensurate media coverage.)
We’re starting to see Phase Two (“Benefits”), beginning with the indefatigable Matt Ridley on the cover of the latest Spectator:
Climate change has done more good than harm so far and is likely to continue doing so for most of this century. This is not some barmy, right-wing fantasy; it is the consensus of expert opinion. Yet almost nobody seems to know this. Whenever I make the point in public, I am told by those who are paid to insult anybody who departs from climate alarm that I have got it embarrassingly wrong, don’t know what I am talking about, must be referring to Britain only, rather than the world as a whole, and so forth.
At first, I thought this was just their usual bluster. But then I realised that they are genuinely unaware. Good news is no news, which is why the mainstream media largely ignores all studies showing net benefits of climate change. And academics have not exactly been keen to push such analysis forward. So here follows, for possibly the first time in history, an entire article in the national press on the net benefits of climate change.
There are many likely effects of climate change: positive and negative, economic and ecological, humanitarian and financial. And if you aggregate them all, the overall effect is positive today — and likely to stay positive until around 2080. That was the conclusion of Professor Richard Tol of Sussex University after he reviewed 14 different studies of the effects of future climate trends.
There’s more here about the Tol paper. Tol, a German economist, is regarded as one of the top environmental economists around. His work was cited extensively in the much ballyhooed Stern Review back around 2005 that said the economic costs of climate change would not only be huge, but are huge right now if we reckoned the economics right. Citing Tol was a major mistake. Tol said that if the Stern Review had been a paper from a first year econ grad student, he would have given it an “F.”