IPCC's High-impact, low-probability risk media talking points

hml[1] ‘Abrupt Climate Change’ may turn out to be an IPCC own goal

Guest essay by Barry Brill

It’s one thing to terrify the populace with apocalyptic rhetoric and images of collapsing ice sheets or tsunamis. It’s quite another to gain ratification of a treaty obligation imposing huge costs on both the future economy and the individual voters.

The 2015 COP in Paris is scheduled to finalise a climate change treaty which imposes CO2-mitigation obligations on all 194 member countries. Members have four years to ratify  the whole agreement before it supposedly comes into force in 2020.

The process has many aspects of the prisoner’s dilemma, in that no country will want to ratify unless it believes others will do likewise. Nobody believes the majority will sign up in the absence of a benefit-cost analysis which can at least make sense to an alarmist.

These analyses are undertaken in economic models, which ascertain the present value of net impacts of expected temperatures, determined by climate models that are driven by CO2-e concentrations and sensitivities. The impacts will be taken from AR5 WG2 which should reflect the basic science in the WG1 draft released this week.

The prognosis for alarmists is not good. Richard Tol’s literature survey produced a well-known graph of 14 estimates of the global economic impact of climate change, expressed as the welfare-equivalent income gain or loss.

www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.23.2.29

This graph shows that net damages from warming don’t accrue until temperatures increase about 2.2°C from 2009, or 3°C from the usual 1850 baseline. However, after a very benign start, it is true that incremental welfare losses do begin to appear after temperatures have risen about 2°C from 1850 levels.

Tol_economic_AGW_fig1

Tol’s graph accounts for the 2°C upper limit adopted by the G8, which was proposed to the UNFCCC at Copenhagen, and adopted at Cancun (2010; COP16).

However, that 2°C target is becoming further and further out of reach. No progress at all has been made in the past 17 years and these doldrums may continue indefinitely. The SREX report has knocked over swathes of impact possibilities. And now there’s an inescapable need to reduce ECS by half, or at least a third!

This was a terribly dispiriting outlook for the climate industry – so it was essential that AR5 pull something out of the hat.

One area had potential for improvement. The “tipping point” or “irreversible” events that all previous reports had treated as too far-fetched to warrant much attention could be added into impact valuations if they were accorded a percentage probability. Insurance underwriters suggested “high-impact, low-probability risks” (eg http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/37612) might supply the best hope to justify imposition of an expensive premium payment under a global risk management plan.

AR5 duly introduced some new definitions and came up with the Table 12.4 discussed at the Royal Society meeting reported by Bishop Hill:

IPCC_catastrophe_table

http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2013/10/2/a-report-from-the-royal.html?lastPage=true&postSubmitted=true

Here we see a familiar list – collapse of ice-sheets, release of permafrost and clathrate methane, forest die-back and loss of monsoons. Sure they have low probabilities and varying confidence levels, but the impacts will run to trillions of dollars. Even 5% of one of these events is a very large number.

A great deal depends upon whether the probabilities are temperature-factored. If, for example, monsoonal collapse is included as a small risk from a low threshhold temperature, it might avoid much of the time-discounting effect. This could make it a major NPV player in future economic models. Such prospects explain why Table 12.4 held such an important place in the agenda of the Royal Society meeting.

There is also a (weak) philosophical argument that irreversibilty should overcome the usual effect of time-discounting. No doubt this will be a topic addressed by Oxford moral philosopher, John Broome, who is to be a lead author  of WG3.

But Table 12.4 might be a double-edged sword. The IPCC has given full rein to its penchant for sweeping and unusual definitions. Thus, TFE.5 says:

“Abrupt climate change is defined in AR5 as a large-scale change in the climate system that takes place over a few decades or less, persists (or is anticipated to persist) for at least a few decades, and causes substantial disruptions in human and natural systems.”

A change is said to be irreversible if the recovery timescale from this state due to natural processes is significantly longer than the time it takes for the system to reach this perturbed state.

“A few decades” is apparently capable of relating to each phase in a long-term process, because, for example, it does not omit the near-complete disintegration of the Greenland ice sheet. “Or less” covers things that take place instantaneously. So the occurrence time element seems to be a red herring.

The persistence time element won’t exclude much either, as the ‘commitment’ concept assumes the continuance of any damaging impact. “Large-scale change” only allows small regional effects to fall outside the ambit of the definition.

So, by and large, this Table 12.4 should include every expected large-scale change in the climate system that “causes substantial disruptions in human and natural systems”. If a feared impact is not mentioned in the table, it is reasonable to conclude that the IPCC does not expect that its “disruption” potential is “substantial”.

‘Abrupt climate change’, as defined, is a useful concept.

Lukewarmers (the majority of skeptics) do not generally hold dogmatic views that anthropogenic global warming (AGW) could never cause small-scale or medium-term changes capable of causing minor disruptions in existing systems. Where they differ from the IPCC is in disagreeing that any such disruptions would be “substantial”. This is usually expressed by saying that skeptics don’t believe in catastrophic (CAGW) or dangerous (DAGW) warming.

With the introduction of these innovative definitions, the lexicon can be re-framed. “Skeptics don’t accept that fossil fuel usage gives rise to any realistic or actionable threat of Abrupt Climate Change (ACC)”  is a statement that even the mainstream media might come to understand.

The items missing from Table 12.4 are like  Sherlock Holmes’ “curious incident of the dog in the night-time”. They are not even “exceptionally unlikely” or “low confidence” possibilities. They just don’t exist as real threats.

Few of the large number of previously accused items are expected by the IPCC to cause “substantial disruption”. Some excluded favourites are:

• persistent tornadoes or flooding or hurricanes (only droughts make the cut);

• non-ice-fed (thermic) sea level rise;

• productivity of food-producing land;

• spread of vector diseases;

• stoppage of Gulfstream flow;

• climate migration and warfare;

• melting of Antarctic sea ice;

• melting of the East Antarctic ice-sheet;

• interference with thermohaline circulation; and

• large-scale species extinction.

And the other good news is that every one of the “substantial disruption” possibilities are seen as “unlikely” by the IPCC except* Arctic Sea Ice melting. This is mainly positive in opening up new sea lanes – while albedo effects have low significance in a slow-warming world.

(*The low-confidence possibility of “permafrost carbon release” has been rendered toothless by its definition as ‘a net source of emissions’. I thought it already was.)

So, now remind me:  why do some see AGW as ‘the greatest moral challenge of our times’?

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DB

“Tol’s graph accounts for the 2°C upper limit adopted by the G8”
Tol’s graph is the temperature increase from now; the G8 limit of 2°C is from pre-industrial levels, i.e., 0.7°C lower.

[snip waaaaayyyyy off topic self serving link to your own website – Anthony]
[Note: for those who “re-blog”: most of the time re-blogging comments are deleted for the same reason. If there is an intelligent, on-topic comment along with the re-blogging that adds to the discussion, comments may get approved. But if they are used to simply promote the re-blogger’s website, they are usually deleted. ~ mod.]

I saw this earlier on the Katabasis entry on Bishop Hill. must admit I am somewhat agog that it was included. Pretty much every alarmist’s favorite catastrophe is included, and all but one basically discounted.
I’m really looking forward to the usual suspects parsing this one.

COP 2015 is scheduled for December 2-13. The unexamined yet overwhelming self-interest of the Planetary Saviors will be essential to maintain morale through the dark and cold weather.

Gary Pearse

“However, after a very benign start, it is true that incremental welfare losses do begin to appear after temperatures have risen about 2°C from 1850 levels.”
I’ve read a few of Richard Tol’s posts and they always leave me wondering if he is a CAGW mole! This stuff to many readers gives credence to the activist fantasy economic analyses. A journalist reading this would say “Prominent Skeptic Agrees Economic Meltdown to Appear After 2C Rise”. His overreaching, protesteth-too-much, obsessive articles and commmentary on Cook’s totally dismissible 97% thing did the same thing. Stop the activist literature searches already! it only gives their dreck more hits, creates internet discussion and encourages them more. You may only succeed in giving rabid CAGW an idea on how to be a mole.
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

Jquip

“Insurance underwriters suggested “high-impact, low-probability risks” …”
Yesterday I mentioned Bookies and the relation to Governments and Actuaries. And here we are. No need to employ competent actuaries or worry about taking the wrong bet on policy pricing if you can coerce governments to pay the insurance bills.

TinyCO2

And they say WE don’t understand risk assessment.

RC Saumarez

Modelling the economic effects of modelled Climate change? There might be some room for error?

Kaboom

Climate change is only then to be considered the greatest moral challenge of our times if we want to go ahead with Nuremberg style trials against the perpetrators and profiteers of the scam.

Dave

I know this is a bit off topic, but on the sea ice page, there is one chart where the ice levels have fallen in the past few days. This has to be an error. It is the NORSEX SSM/I chart. I wonder what has gone wrong?

Mike Bromley the Kurd

And where, oh where, would all the money go? Who would actually benefit? I’m forever scratching my head over this, for in the end, after all the money is spent and the catastrophe happens anyway, we will be unable to adapt. We won’t be able to leave a legacy of any kind. No nineteenth century-style seawall eroding out of a Carolina sand dune, or anything like it.
Of course, that assumes that this entire alarming scenario is ‘in the pipe’ to quote doomsday Jim Hansen. Funny, we don’t hear very much from him. Now that he’s out to pasture, he’s just another wacky catastrophist…..

The good news is that by 2020, if the current halt continues, the entire gig will be up. There will be no one willing to spend a dime on saving us from the now obviously non-existant problem.

JimS

Given that the previous 4 interglacial periods were much warmer than this present one, and all four of them ended and were followed by about 85,000 years of glaciation, I think it highly likely that our present interglacial period, will end exactly the same way:
http://www.climate4you.com/images/VostokTemp0-420000%20BP.gif

@JimS That is a good but frightening graph.

Elizabeth

Dave re ice DMI is showing a much faster increase in ice extent than previous. It also has been stopped…. it happens everytime the ice scenario goes against the AGW meme ALWAYS you can check it out from previous postings here and elsewhere.

So, now remind me: why do some see AGW as ‘the greatest moral challenge of our times’?
Because we are consciously denying clean water and basic sanitation to 100’s of millions of the poorest peoples on the basis of this idiotic premise.

This blog post, like virtually all other efforts dealing with “abrupt climate change”, conflates a geological catastrophe with a socioeconomic catastrophe. But a geological catastrophe does not necessarily a socioeconomic catastrophe make, unless society is immobilized, as noted in The Earth is Okay with a 400-Foot Sea-Level Rise (part of a 2008 web debate with Joe Romm and others hosted by Cato Unbound at http://www.cato-unbound.org/issues/august-2008/keeping-our-cool-what-do-about-global-warming). A much more detailed look at this matter is in this 2009 paper, Trapped Between the Falling Sky and the Rising Seas: The Imagined Terrors of the Impacts of Climate Change .
BTW, I think DB is correct, the 2 degree target, which is a politics-, rather than a risk-based, target is measured off the “perfect” pre-industrial climate!

mkelly

“Abrupt climate change is defined in AR5 as a large-scale change in the climate system that takes place over a few decades or less, persists (or is anticipated to persist) for at least a few decades, and causes substantial disruptions in human and natural systems.”
Since, we are at either 15, 17, or 22 years with no temperature increase the first part of the above is satisfied as to a “large-scale change in the climate system” having happened. We only now must wait to see if the “persists” part is valid. However, some say we are headed down in temperature so the “(or is anticipated to persist)” might apply.

Gail Combs

Jeff in Calgary says: @ October 3, 2013 at 8:34 am
The good news is that by 2020, if the current halt continues, the entire gig will be up….
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
That does not matter. What matters is getting in place more taxes, more regulations and funneling off more wealth.
Bureaucracies never go away they just continue to grow. Witness NASA with it’s new goal of ‘Muslim Outreach’
With CAGW however they missed the boat in 2009 and with luck, cooling weather and the disintegration of the EU’s economy the window of opportunity has closed.

Phil's Dad

Has anyone redone Richard Tol’s graph since “The SREX report has knocked over swathes of impact possibilities”. Would that not lift the curve(s)

Gail Combs

Mike Bromley the Kurd says: @ October 3, 2013 at 8:33 am
And where, oh where, would all the money go? Who would actually benefit?…
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
The International Monetary Fund answered that question.

International Monetary Fund
World Economy: Convergence, Interdependence, and Divergence
Finance & Development, September 2012, Vol. 49, No. 3
by Kemal Derviş
….Within many countries the dramatic divergence between the top 1 percent and the rest is a new reality. The increased share of the top 1 percent is clear in the United States and in some English-speaking countries and, to a lesser degree, in China and India….
This new divergence in income distribution may not always imply greater national inequality in all parts of a national distribution. It does, however, represent a concentration of income and, through income, of potential political influence at the very top, which may spur ever greater concentration of income. The factors—technological, fiscal, financial, and political—that led to this dynamic are still at work. …And the euro area crisis and its accompanying austerity policies will likely lead to further inequality in Europe as budget constraints curtail social expenditures while the mobility of capital and the highly skilled make it difficult to effectively increase taxes on the wealthiest….

From Pascal Lamy, just retired Director-general of the World Trade Organization.

Pascal Lamy: Whither Globalization?
…..climate change negotiations are not just about the global environment but global economics as well — the way that technology, costs and growth are to be distributed and shared….
Can we balance the need for a sustainable planet with the need to provide billions with decent living standards? Can we do that without questioning radically the Western way of life?

TRANSLATION:
The poor get poorer, the rich get richer and the middle class disappears.

vukcevic

[snip waaaaayyyyy off topic self serving link to your own website – Anthony]
My apology. In recognition of your comment, I have removed the link associated with my ‘blog name’
Btw. there are no sponsors, advertising or any other commercial value in my website, except a jumbled mess, as anyone venturing beyond front page may have found.

ColdinTN

From Let Science Set the Facts
By THOMAS LOVEJOY
Published: October 2, 2013 NYT
“In this particular case, it would appear that the oceans have been taking up more heat than previously thought. Since the oceans make up 71 percent of the planet, this is probably the consequence of a slightly different temporary behavior of a major current. There is considerable likelihood that at some point the ocean will release some of this recently absorbed heat.”
Later in the oped:
“The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said people are “entitled to their own opinions not their own facts.” Any debate involving science should be kept in the scientific arena.”
Doesn’t Lovejoy defeat his own argument here? He is making up his own opinions (unproven theory) about ocean heat that can’t even be measured. Shouldn’t he keep the debate in scientific arena based on his own reasoning?

Gail Combs

Indur Goklany says:
October 3, 2013 at 8:53 am
This blog post, like virtually all other efforts dealing with “abrupt climate change”, conflates a geological catastrophe with a socioeconomic catastrophe. But a geological catastrophe does not necessarily a socioeconomic catastrophe make, unless society is immobilized….
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
And Ironically that is EXACTLY what Agenda 21 – Transit Villages do, make it that much harder to deal with catastrophe by restricting movement, transportation and energy.
Sandy and Katrina are excellent examples of how politicians can really muck-up the works when it comes to dealing with catastrophes.
See: Teaching the Levees.org The Government on Trial: Guilty, as Charged

Neil Jordan

Peter Gleick has commented on the confidence of the IPCC findings. This morning’s Department of Water Resources California Water News carries an article about the IPCC report, noting that Peter Gleick has weighed in. The link:
http://mavensnotebook.com/2013/10/03/science-news-and-notes-new-tool-for-salmon-non-native-crayfish-groundwater-peter-gleick-on-the-ipcc-report-findings-and-el-ninos-effect-on-ghgs/
[begin quote]
Peter Gleick drills down the IPCC panel report’s findings on water: What does the IPCC say about water? Peter Gleick runs down some of the key water-related findings for precipitation, evaporation, glaciers, ice mass, and more here: What does the 2013 IPCC Summary Say About Water?
[end quote]
That link leads to yet another link:
http://scienceblogs.com/significantfigures/index.php/2013/09/27/what-does-the-2013-ipcc-summary-say-about-water/
[begin quote]
Significant Figures by Peter Gleick
What does the 2013 IPCC Summary Say About Water?
Posted by Peter Gleick on September 27, 2013
The latest in a long series of science summaries on climate change from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just been released. While the report has a massive amount of information in it, related to a wide range of geophysical implications of climate change, here are some of the key water-related findings for precipitation, evaporation, glaciers, ice mass, and more. While many other findings are reported that have hydrologic implications (such as all the findings related to temperature and warming), I have not usually included them here. Definitions of the confidence of the findings are provided below. The full IPCC summary can be found here:
[end quote]
In response to a commenter being confused about the confidence of the findings, Gleick responds:
[begin quote]
Peter Gleick
October 1, 2013
Thanks for the comment. Here, I’ve just laid out the original language (with the description/definitions used by the IPCC). I agree that they could be clearer and more consistent in their communications. Sigh.
[end quote]

A wasted useless exercise , since their temperature forecast is never going to occur.

Seriously? Sea level rise didn’t even make it into that table?

Lurker

Shouldn’t they also include as an offset the high impact low probability risk of the start of the next ice age and the positive value of mitigating against the temperature drop?

Dodgy Geezer

This is the ‘Precautionary Principle’, of course, that rhetorical excuse for people who can’t put a decent real reason together.
The thing that will undermine them is that, having accepted the idea that highly unlikely things which might cause major damage are not only confined to climate change. A large meteorite is a classic example.
Other ‘unlikely but possible’ thoughts include a major series of earthquakes caused by a volcano in the middle of Times Square, the world being caught in the ‘high radiation’ pulse from an exploding supernova, a disease killing off all plants in the world, or the world’s intelligentsia and politicians all suddenly going mad at once (See Charles MacKay) and splurging the entire GDP of every country of an insane attempt to live without energy.
On second thoughts, scrub that last one. I really don’t think that’s likely at all…

Gail Combs

Lurker says:
October 3, 2013 at 9:36 am
Shouldn’t they also include as an offset the high impact low probability risk of the start of the next ice age and the positive value of mitigating against the temperature drop?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>
It is a work of fiction so you do not want to include any reality that might wake-up the Sheeple.

Ben

Ocean acidification also did not make the cut apparently lol

Mark Bofill

probability of a wandering black hole encountering the Earth – infinitesimal
impacts of a wandering black hole encountering the Earth – infinite
So, why are we paying attention to GW at all?

Ian W

kingdube says:
October 3, 2013 at 8:51 am
So, now remind me: why do some see AGW as ‘the greatest moral challenge of our times’?
Because we are consciously denying clean water and basic sanitation to 100′s of millions of the poorest peoples on the basis of this idiotic premise.

Well if they keep talking about it being ‘the greatest moral challenge of our times” then they can continue making huge profits by doing things like turning food to fuel while the world goes hungry.
“The world is facing a hunger crisis unlike anything it has seen in more than 50 years.
870 million people are hungry.
Every year, 1.5 million people die from hunger, including 16,000 children. That’s one child every five seconds.
Every day, 20,864 people die from hunger related causes.”

And the Administration through the EPA is demanding more corn be fed to vehicles. The cropland wasted feeding cars could be providing food reducing world prices and saving lives. They don’t care money and power win out every time.

RE: Dave says:
October 3, 2013 at 8:30 am
RE: Elizabeth says:
October 3, 2013 at 8:49 am
Regarding the off-topic topic:
The new “baby ice” is very thin. There’s a big polar storm brewing up there, smashing up all that new ice. This causes a dip in the “extent” graphs. There is no sneaky “adjustment” behind the graph’s “dip” that I know of. (IMHO ice actually insulates the water, and the more open water you have after the midnight sun sets up there, and the longer that open water is kept ice free, the more the Arctic Sea is chilled right down to a depth of 400 feet, and the colder it will be up there next summer. In other words, “extent” is a lousy measure of whether it is cooling or warming, especially after the polar sunset.) (I’m keeping a layman’s diary of the ice-melt and refreeze at: http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/arctic-sea-ice-minimum-the-darkness-decends/ ) Now let’s get back on topic.

Ian W

Caleb says:
October 3, 2013 at 10:05 am

Good try but it is only the NERSC sites that are showing the dip. Danish, Japanese and US sites don’t show it.

Bob B.

I wonder what the damage from cooling will be when reality strikes.

Marcos

didnt the German climate scientist that came up with the 2 degree C target come out and say that he basically pulled that number out of a hat?

From Let Science Set the Facts
By THOMAS LOVEJOY
Published: October 2, 2013 NYT
“In this particular case, it would appear that the oceans have been taking up more heat than previously thought. Since the oceans make up 71 percent of the planet, this is probably the consequence of a slightly different temporary behavior of a major current. There is considerable likelihood that at some point the ocean will release some of this recently absorbed heat.”
The above is a classic example of the “science on the hoof, or let us keep alive the premise of AGW by making the facts fit our theory”.
Heat trapped by CO2 cannot warm the oceans significantly, water is an extremely poor conductor of heat, heat trapped by CO2 is not radiative either, heat radiation will warm water but not very efficiently. Convection is the main and most efficient way for heat to transfer through water. Any heat trapped by CO2 is only going to warm the surface of the oceans, resulting in increased evaporation which will remove most of this energy. Warming the top inch of water is not going to result in convection currents going several miles deep!
How can oceans “selectively” take up heat? If the ice caps are melting as the warmists state then the oceans should be cooling.
If the oceans are warming why has there been a decrease in the incidence of hurricanes and tropical storms?
Why have the Met Office predicted that here in the UK “snow will be a rare and exciting event” up until this year when after four cold very snowy winters, this prediction changes to the very opposite? The world will get warmer except for the UK in winter which will get colder and have more snow!
Where are all the climate refugees from Africa and Southern Europe, Central America and Mexico that we were promised would be migrating northwards?
The governments of the world will be barking mad to spend £trillions on fighting a problem that at its worst, will cause the worlds temperature to rise by less than a degree Celsius, based on beliefs and certainly not science!

from above:
“Members have four years to ratify the whole agreement before it supposedly comes into force in 2020.”
Assume our prediction of 2002 is correct and Earth is cooler by 2020.
What will happen to this agreement to “stop global warming?”
Based on the past scams of the IPCC et al, the agreement be declared an instant success!
Score 1 for the IPCC!

Chad Wozniak

@Ian W –
Yes, the AGW meme leads to mass death from starvation, thanks to the ethanol program, and also from hypothermia, thanks to carbon taxes. It is truly a new Holocaust, with a whole new set of Holocaust deniers. These crimes need to be as widely publicized as possible, and names need to be named as to who is responsible. Let’s also keep in mind that the deaths are not an unintended consequence of AGW-driven policies, any more than the Nazi slaughter of the Jews was an unintended consequence – they fit perfectly the Malthusian and otherwise anti-human mindset of the AGW crowd.

Greg Goodman

“Abrupt climate change is defined in AR5 as a large-scale change in the climate system that takes place over a few decades or less, persists (or is anticipated to persist)( for at least a few decades, and causes substantial disruptions in human and natural systems.”
don’t under-estimate their bureaucratic malevolence. That little sucker in brackets can mean whatever they want it to whenever “anticipate” persistence.
I find that text as reassuring as a cop having the right to shoot or tazer me if I threaten him (or if he anticipates that I may do).

Jurgen

An audio short circuit will cause a runaway volume increase capable causing serious damage to equipment e/o the ears.
A mental short circuit may cause mental trauma, as the emotional energy is not channeled in a healthy way outward but is short-circuited onto itself causing a mental breakdown.
After reading this post I suspect a substantial part of the CAGW hysteria is cause by a mental short circuit. The CAGW crowd are mainly busy with their own ideas, only listening to themselves, cut-off from reality, spinning all kind of subtle regulations and ideas about something that is non-existent.
If this analysis is correct, the CAGW hysteria will inevitably implode and collapse on itself. We will see.

Phil

I was taught that to calculate the cost of a probabilistic event, one multiplied the cost of the event should it occur by its probability of happening (i.e. its risk) to obtain the “expected value.” I am not aware of a mathematical derivation to support this operation, but, intuitively, it seems to make sense. I question, however, the mathematical validity of multiplying very large cost numbers (of catastrophic, but unlikely events) by these event’s inherently very small risk factors, as small differences in either the guesstimated cost or the guesstimated risk can make large differences in the “expected value.” I think you enter a realm of statistical chaos, not unlike that of the butterfly flapping its wings, where small changes in initial values can result in large changes in the outcomes of simulations. I would restrict this type of “expected value” analysis to events whose risk is within 2 sigmas of the mean, or, at most, no more than 3 sigmas (i.e. I don’t think that you can validly calculate the “expected value” for risks that are smaller than .05 or at most .01). Beyond that, I would suggest one would be in a statistical twilight zone.

Greg Goodman

“Abrupt climate change is defined in AR5 as a large-scale change in the climate system that takes place over a few decades or less, persists (or is anticipated to persist) for at least a few decades, and causes substantial disruptions in human and natural systems.”
Let’s consider the late 20th c. warming. It lasted form about 1974 to 1998 , that could be considered to qualify as “a few” decades. In 2000 it was strongly “anticipated to persist for at least a few decades” . Centuries in fact.
The fact that their ‘anticipations’ were unfounded does not alter the fact it had already qualified in 2000 as being “rapid and irreversible”. To hell with what climate really does in the next five or ten years that change is officially “irreversible”.

Mindbuilder

They also need to consider the effect of diverting those trillions away from other disaster prevention efforts like the possibility of super flu, nuclear war, an airborne aids virus or cancer or other disease treatments. Imagine that slight chance that one researcher but no others would cure alzheimers but his funding gets diverted to global warming.

Jeff L

NPV of possible climate impacts in 100 years = virtually zero at any reasonable discount rate. This is an Interesting post about how the alarmists would intend to reframe the argument to fit their needs & avoid this inconvenient truth

Robin Hewitt

From the BBC news…
One very senior Tory minister told me that what Labour has done is what oppositions always do and that is defining a problem. But, he said, only governments can actually affect solutions. So he said we should expect some kind of energy price cut, funded by a reduction in renewable subsidies, before the election
Also we had cuddly Professor Brian Cox starting his new BBC series last night by explaining how funding science leads to targeted science which is not necessarily a good thing. Cox has always been careful about professing climate change, I presumed he was enjoying his new celebrity and did not want to do a Bellamy. I learned that it was some chap called Perkins who discovered the Azo-dies in 1870 while trying to make quinine. I always enjoy learning new stuff.

Eliza

OT but google is permeated with alarmists move to bing
http://www.bing.com/news/search?q=global+warming&qs=n&form=NWBQBN&pq=global+warming&sc=0-0&sp=-1&sk=
much less bias

JimS

@Bob B. who wrote:
“I wonder what the damage from cooling will be when reality strikes.”
Based upon historical records describing past periods of climate cooling, the following happens to humans: mass migrations causing wars and conflicts; mass starvation and epidemics; mass destruction and death from flooding. Empires decline, and nations fall, and are replaced by cruel and brutal regimes. But sea levels do fall, if there is an upside to climate cooling, and if falling sea levels are anything positive.
We really do not know what will happen when a major glaciation period comes when global temperatures drop by 8 to 12 degrees C, but I imagine that human population will decline significantly and that civilization as we know it, will transform into something less palatable than we now have.

Eliza

Jim S assume temps will only go back to normal plus or minus 0 otherwise we become worse than the alarmist but on the cooling side LOL