Claim: Social cost of climate change too low, Stanford scientists say

The ‘social cost’ of carbon dioxide emissions may not be $37, as previously estimated by a recent US government study, but $220. From the Stanford School of Engineering


This image shows the economic growth for nations has historically fluctuated over time. A new Stanford study suggests the long-term impacts of climate change could perturb GDP growth rates even further. Credit: Delavane Diaz

The economic damage caused by a ton of CO2 emissions-often referred to as the “social cost of carbon-could actually be six times higher than the value that the United States uses to guide current energy regulations, and possibly future mitigation policies, Stanford scientists say.

A recent U.S. government study concluded, based on the results of three widely used economic impact models, that an additional ton of CO2 emitted in 2015 would cause US$37 worth of economic damages. These damages are expected to take various forms, including decreased agricultural yields and harm to human health related to climate change.

But according to a new study, published online this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, the actual cost could be much higher. “We estimate that the social cost of carbon is not $37, as previously estimated, but $220,” said study coauthor Frances Moore, a PhD candidate in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources in Stanford’s School of Earth Sciences.

Based on the findings, countries may want to increase their efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, said study coauthor Delavane Diaz, a PhD candidate in the Department of Management Science and Engineering. “If the social cost of carbon is higher, many more mitigation measures will pass a cost-benefit analysis,” Diaz said. “Because carbon emissions are so harmful to society, even costly means of reducing emissions would be worthwhile.”

For their study, Moore and Diaz modified a well-known model for calculating the economic impacts of climate change, known as an integrated assessment model, or IAM. Their alternative formulation incorporated recent empirical findings suggesting that climate change could substantially slow economic growth rates, particularly in poor countries.

IAMs are important policy tools. Because they include both the costs and benefits of reducing emissions, they can inform governments about the optimal level of investment in emission reduction. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for example, uses the $37 average value from three IAMs to evaluate greenhouse gas regulations. Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Norway have also used IAMs to analyze climate and energy policy proposals.

While useful, IAMs have to make numerous simplifying assumptions. One limitation, for example, is that they fail to account for how the damages associated with climate change might persist through time. “For 20 years now, the models have assumed that climate change can’t affect the basic growth-rate of the economy,” Moore said. “But a number of new studies suggest this may not be true. If climate change affects not only a country’s economic output, but also its growth, then that has a permanent effect that accumulates over time, leading to a much higher social cost of carbon.”

In the new study, Moore and Diaz took a widely used IAM, called the Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy (DICE) model, and modified it in three ways: they allowed climate change to affect the growth rate of the economy; they accounted for adaptation to climate change; and they divided the model into two regions to represent high- and low-income countries.

“There have been many studies that suggest rich and poor countries will fare very differently when dealing with future climate change effects, and we wanted to explore that,” Diaz said.

One major finding of the new study is that the damages associated with reductions in economic growth rates justify very rapid and very early mitigation that is sufficient to limit the rise of global temperature to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This is the target that some experts say is necessary to avert the worst effects of global warming.

“This effect is not included in the standard IAMs,” Moore said, “so until now it’s been very difficult to justify aggressive and potentially expensive mitigation measures because the damages just aren’t large enough.”

The pair’s IAM also shows that developing countries may suffer the most from climate change effects. “If poor countries become less vulnerable to climate change as they become richer, then delaying some emissions reductions until they are more fully developed may in fact be the best policy,” Diaz said. “Our model shows that this is a major uncertainty in mitigation policy, and one not explored much in previous work.”

The pair notes two important caveats to their work, however. First, the DICE model’s representation of mitigation is limited. It doesn’t take into account, for example, the fact that low-carbon technologies take time to develop and deploy.

Secondly, while it explores the effects of temperature on economic growth, the model does not factor in the potential for mitigation efforts to also impact growth.

“For these two reasons, the rapid, near-term mitigation level found in our study may not necessarily be economically optimal”, Diaz said. “But this does not change the overall result that if temperature affects economic growth-rates, society could face much larger climate damages than previously thought, and this would justify more stringent mitigation policy.”


266 thoughts on “Claim: Social cost of climate change too low, Stanford scientists say

  1. if temperature affects economic growth-rates, society could face much larger climate damages than previously thought

    If …

      • Ok this is funny.
        Their claim: Each ton of CO2 equates to -$220 in the economy.
        World CO2 emissions last year: ~40 billion tons
        40*10^9 tons CO2 * $220/tonCO2 = $8.8 trillion
        That’s over 10% of the entire world’s GDP. Who knew that the direct economic activities that generate about 10% of all GDP are actually COSTING us that much instead! Imagine how rich we’d all be if we were still relying on horses for all transportation, burned candles for light, had no modern medicine, and farmed using donkeys and manual labor.
        Seriously, file this one under cuckoo for climate change.

      • Here are the economic costs of the unprecedented rise in co2 – greening biosphere and this bit of awful news late last year.

        Food & Agricultural Organization – Release date: 11/12/2014
        World cereal production in 2014 to surpass the record in 2013
        World cereal production in 2014 is forecast at a new record of 2 532 million tonnes (including rice in milled terms), 10 million tonnes higher than last month’s forecast and 7 million tonnes (0.3 percent) above last year’s peak….
        [more reported on WUWT]

        Globally standards of living are up compared to 1980, 1990 or the year 2000. The paper itself is garbage. Garbage in garbage and speculative drivel out. They did use a “Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy (DICE) model” after all.

      • The ghost of the late Stephen Schneider, Stanford Professor of Climatology and lead author of many IPCC reports, still haunts the corridors of Stanford, muttering, “We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination… So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts… Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

      • As soon as one sees a quote like “These damages are expected to take various forms, including decreased agricultural yields”, it is time to toss the “study” in the circular file.
        CO2 fertilization is indisputably, and substantially, INCREASING crop yields. A conservative estimate is 10%.
        CO2 fertilization is really beyond serious dispute, and to claim otherwise makes one a “denier”, to borrow a term.

      • And bullfrogs with pistols in their pockets, and not afraid of Black Snakes. (Thank you Dan Rather.)

    • These damages are expected to take various forms, including decreased agricultural yields and harm to human health related to climate change.

      The problem with sitting in an ivory tower playing with computers is that you aren’t out in the field exercising your common sense. Around the world increased CO2 has lead to a substantial increase in agricultural yields. Yet the model says decreased yields. Around the world people are living longer and in better heath during a time of increased CO2 and global warming. Yet the models say decreased health.
      The observational data shows that global warming leads to increased agriculture and improved health. Models are speculation, they are not observation. Speculation is not evidence. Observation is evidence. Where is the observational evidence showing that global warming and increased CO2 is on average anything but beneficial?

      • Another of today’s articles cites a study out of Australia that finds that it’s cold that kills people, not heat.
        As usual, the warmistas make their assumptions. Build them into their models, and then declare that the science supports them.

      • Reality? Nice place and I think they should visit it sometime. Like you point out they “assume” that rising CO2 is bad and the ONLY equation they are willing to look at is the “cost of reducing CO2 vs benefits of reducing CO2”. There is nothing about the value of adding more CO2. It is totally divorced from reality.

      • This is surely a spoof document that we can all see through,as it does not show anwhere how they have arrived at their silly conclusions.
        “A recent U.S. government study concluded”
        Obviously she is trying to make her name with Obama at all costs, especially as she was given a huge fee to come up with the right answer.
        As usual, no mention of 18 years of no warming.
        “These damages are expected to take various forms, including decreased agricultural yields and harm to human health related to climate change”
        She obviously hasn’t read that World food production in 2014 was an all time record.even though she and her cohorts are insisting that GW has not stopped, and I wonder where she obtained her information about the effect on health from climate change? On sorry, from a model.

      • Our atmosphere is currently at 400ppm. Will 600ppm destroy agriculture. Yes according to the models, no say experiments which have been running for years apparently.
        Pity the greenhouse growers for they know not what they do.

        Technical aspects, management and control of CO2 enrichment in greenhouses-refereed paper
        This paper outlines the present state of the art of CO2 enrichment as it is practiced in commercial greenhouses, particularly in moderate climates. Some scientific work is discussed and conclusions and practical guidelines are presented……
        …..CO2 strategies should be based on physiological aspects (CO2 level of 1000 ppm favorable), economic criteria (costs for enrichment increase at increasing ventilation)……
        Plug “N” Grow
        When and how much CO2 ?
        Generally, enriching the garden’s air to raise the level between 1,000 and 1,500 ppm is recommended. There is apparently no benefit to augment the concentration higher than 1,500 ppm.

      • Small correction
        “Our atmosphere is currently at 400ppm”
        Should read:
        “Our atmosphere currently has 400ppm of co2”

      • Well you know that sea level has been rising and soon NYC will be under water, don’t you? I mean at 1-3mm/yr it will eventually happen in a few centuries as long as the next glacial does get here before then.

      • Ferdberple is correct — “Around the world increased CO2 has lead to a substantial increase in agricultural yields. Yet the model says decreased yields. Around the world people are living longer and in better heath during a time of increased CO2 and global warming. Yet the models say decreased health.”
        {my emphasis}
        In case you all haven’t noticed yet, the only thing wrong with models developed by progressives is a minus sign missing at the front.
        So whenever you read this stuff, just multiply by -1 to correct the output.
        So from this study and model output, I conclude that we get +$220US benefit from every ton of CO2 emissions, rather than -$220US. The government was previously underestimating only +$37US of benefit.
        …there fixed it for you all.
        Or, alternatively as kids, progressive children started playing the “opposite day” game and forgot to ever stop.
        Or, alternatively, warmists are educated far beyond their IQs.

    • What is the social cost of 20% less world wide food production if we go back to 280 ppm CO2 like everybody wants to do.
      That’s about 1.4 billion people who would starve to death.
      Let’s start the program on the Stanford campus.

      • I don’t think “everybody wants to” go back to 280 ppm, though some would have you believe that.

      • Quite so. Therefore we should speak about the benefits of CO2 and not of non-existing alleged costs…
        By the way, this is a good opportunity for a second run of the “Carbonist Manifesto” after it was mostly overlooked when posted in an already older blog discussion some weeks ago:
        A spectre is haunting the Earth — the spectre of carbonism. All the powers of the old World have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and UN, Obama and Merkel, Greenpeace Radicals and Internet IPCC-trolls.
        Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as carbonistic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of carbonism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?
        Two things result from this fact:
        I. Carbonism is already acknowledged by all World powers to be itself a power.
        II. It is high time that Carbonists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the spectre of carbonism with a manifesto of the Carbon Liberation Party itself.
        To this end, carbonists of various nationalities have assembled in the World Wide Web and sketched the following manifesto, to be published as a clear statement how valuable and important the liberation of carbon is in order to deliver enough CO2 as essential plant food for a better human nourishment and much improved and greener environment.

    • If … emissions reduction measures were effective, then their cost could be as low as $220 per ton of emission reduction. But they aren’t effective, so the cost is much much higher. Computer models show that at any cost above $1.23/t they aren’t cost-effective.

    • One wonders what the social cost would be of making electric power intermittent and 4x to 10x more expensive. How many hospitals would have to close? How much manufacturing would be lost? How far would harvests fall? How much R&D would disappear along with lost profits? How many emergency services would have to be terminated? How much would unemployment rise?
      How, in short, do the very well known and quantifiable economic benefits of CO2 compare to the purported costs?
      The important metric is cost-benefit. Not just cost.

    • If the social cost of climate change is too low, how do they propose to raise the social cost of climate change, so that it is in line with other social costs, like poverty, racism, starvation, disease ….. ??
      I would think the idea would be to reduce the social costs of any malady.

  2. So far, there is not a single negative impact from the small temperature increase. Not a real one anyway. There is just a lot of exaggeration and boy crying wolf but nothing at all has really happened.
    The only real impact is that plants are growing better. Is that not a positive impact instead. There is no “cost”, there is only “gain”.

    • “there is not a single negative impact from the small temperature increase.”
      I always ask that of alarmists; Tell us exactly what HAS changed from all of this horrific CO2 and the 0.8C warming over the past 100 years? Name ONE thing! A real effect, not modeled, projected, or predicted.
      Concludes any discussions, queues the ad hom, or steers into world population “problem”.

    • Actually there are more impacts than that. In Montana, Glacier Park set a record for visitations for 2014 with the commensurate tourist dollar impact. Also, Montana’s snow pack is currently 109% of normal. The winter recreation industry is thriving. Those lemons are blessed with a golden liquid. Imagination and vision are key to grasping opportunity. No person or country can merely hope there way to success and prosperity.

  3. This is just a play for more funding based on some creative accounting. I wonder what the social cost of diverting funds to climate studies and meetings actually is – not might be. Billions of dollars spent – actual progress – nil.

    • Right on, Goldie. Channel those funds to mitigate a Superfund site to do some real good. By the way, with all the hoopla over global warming, when was the last time anyone heard anyone else even mention the word “Superfund”?

    • I disagree.
      This is a play to give the alarmists a little more ammo to start a UN tax or carbon credits.
      Liars like Obama will latch on to any lie to save their cause.
      These guys (scientists or model majors?) are cannon fodder for the cause.
      Since imo they cannot believe they have done any science they dig through their make up data for anything.
      They lie, torture data and make up correlations no matter how remote the possibilities there is an endless supply of if, might, may, could, should etc and then they ignore all the good CO2 does for people.
      Maybe they consider CO2 bad because this is an attempt to increase control of the masses?
      Ya think?
      “We’ll tell you when and how much you can breathe.”

      • Bingo Mike…
        “If the social cost of carbon is higher, many more mitigation measures will pass a cost-benefit analysis,” Diaz said. “Because carbon emissions are so harmful to society, even costly means of reducing emissions would be worthwhile.”
        …and then, they came for your wallet.

  4. What if higher temps and the demonstrated improvements in plant productivity INCREASE economic growth. Seems all the historic “warm periods” are associated with substantial advance of human civilization.
    IAM – models all the way down. Switch the assumptions to benefits and see what happens.

  5. The only damage I have seen in an economoy is largely caused by politicians, greed, religion, poverty and war. I have not seen ANY economic “damage” caused by CO2. Not in my nearly 49 years.

    • Is there a prize for being the first person to mention religion – negatively, of course – in a WUWT post? Seems like there’s a quite a few people who think that there is. Also seems like there’s a consensus (so it must be right) among a certain group of people that religion can only be viewed negatively. Or maybe that’s just an article of faith.

      • Crusades, remember those, or Islamist attacks? And the retaliatory attacks by each sect, remember those? Or child sex abuse in the Catholic Church, remember that (I certainly do)? Wars? God is on *OUR* side? No? Lets not forget tribal differences, even language FFS. *ALL* have bases in “religions/faith/BELIEF” structures, maybe not monotheistic/ordered religion, as with Judaism/Christianity/Islam, but religion all the same.

      • I find it fascinating the way people who take great pride in knowing nothing about religion, hate all religion so much.
        It’s almost like they have made up their mind and are searching for evidence to support their personal biases.

      • Can you indentify anything in my post that is incorrect Alex and MarkW that cannot be proven with a simple book search? Having lived in deeply religious countries and communities, and having read the 3 main “bibles” I do have some expereince. My position/view is not uninfomred. Recent attacks in Sydney, Australia, Paris, France were not spawned from a religious perspective?

      • Patrick
        I was not addressing you. I was addressing Alba. The timeshift in posts can be confusing. I have no problem with what you said.

      • Communism Patrick. Atheist are just as capable as believers of promoting hatred and fear. As you have amply shown here.

      • Patrick, your error, like that of most bigots, is assigning to the object of your hatred, traits that are not appropriate.
        You also have a nasty habit of assuming that all religions are equal, if you knew half as much as you think you do, you would know that is not correct.

      • MarkW, thankyou for the insult. A bigot, moi? Ha! BTW, ALL of the 3 main monotheistic religions worship THE SAME GOD! So go deal with that little “paradox” buddy!

    • That’s basically true, but one could argue that without any of those things, we probably wouldn’t have an economy ;)…we wouldn’t need one.

    • Religion in your list, is actually a subset of the other things. Politicians have done things in the name of religion, that they would have done anyway, they would have just found another excuse.

    • Like religion?
      Yes, that darn Protestant Work Ethic!
      Imagine where we would be without it! Good riddance!
      (NB: “Protestant Work Ethic” first outlined by Marxist Max Weber, both religion-hating atheists.)

    • Completely off subject, but…
      The problem with your blanket attack on religion, Patrick, is that you’re doing exactly the same thing that the Stanford researchers are doing: noting only negative impacts and completely ignoring positive ones. That people sometimes do terrible things is not a fault of religion. Despicable things have been done by nominal disciples of various religions. By “nominal” I mean those who profess faith but in actuality their adherence or understanding of their faith is nominal, their understanding of its teachings is simplistic, and the atrocities they commit are condemned by their own religion. They twist their religion to justify their acts. However, atrocities committed in the name of religion are far eclipsed by those committed by irreligious people. For example, consider the hundred million or more who were killed or starved because of Communism which is atheistic.
      One can argue that, on balance, religions have been perhaps the greatest civilizing force in human history. Religion is a formalized philosophy of life and death that usually includes principles and rules for dealing with other people and encourages introspection. The most prominent religions in the world today all teach respect for others (and even the natural world), tolerance, charity, hospitality, piety. It’s difficult to argue that “love (ie; respect) your neighbor as yourself” is a bad idea. The so-called Golden Rule is a tenet of all the major world religions. The philosophical underpinnings of most modern constitutions are founded on Christian principles. The idea of a secular, non-religious government came from the experiences of Christians who were persecuted for their refusal to accept the teachings of the state church.

      • No-one needs faith or a religion to hold “christian” values (Given that many Christian values were hijacked from pagamism. Easter? LOL). You will also note that most protesters are singling out ONE of the issues i list. I list several, INCLUDING religion. And yet, RELIGION has been singled out! Tough! History proves religion is, at the fundamental level, the driver of most ill.
        If you are not one of us, you are against us!
        The sooner we “monkeys” realise that there is no “God”, the better. I understand Gene Roddernberry had the same vision!

  6. Really? Releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere results in lowered agricultural yields?
    What planet does this occur on???

    • There’ll be a few more “horrific” studies due out before the State of the Union Address. Obama needs ammunition to impose taxes or more spending on the environment otherwise the Greenies will pull their political funds. The idea is to create soundbites. They can be proven wrong after the address, because no one will really care then.

    • Amazing, isn’t it. Especially since it’s actually rainfall that lowers crop yields. And droughts improve them.
      And, no I’m not insane. Tee hee. Too hoo. Ha ha. Hee hee. Abedee abedee abedee

  7. The Powers That Be are going to ram a carbon tax on the citizens one way or another. They have no empirical evidence of Carbon Dioxide harming the environment, but resort to slanted models to show hypothetical effects sometime in the future. Then they roll out the precautionary principle that it is better to do something drastic now (just in case), rather than wait and see if the future is as bad as they predict.

    • Once the carbon taxes are in place it’s a win-win for the alarmist, no matter what happens.
      If it cools; “See, the taxes worked!”
      If it warms; “See, more taxes are needed!”

  8. I hope they follow this with an assessment of the costs of things like wind turbines and solar arrays, obviously including the backup capacities for when those can’t meet demand.

  9. They have not even begun to consider the social cost of energy poverty in the developed world, caused by CO2 taxation pricing electricity beyond the means of the less-well-off in society.
    They have not even begun to consider the social cost of energy poverty in the developing world, caused by lack of access to electricity and the consequences to health arising from that (e.g. indoor cooking fires).
    Do I detect the stench of BULL541T in search of a grant?
    Why yes, I believe I do.

    • “IAMs … include both the costs and benefits of reducing emissions”
      Funny how the costs and benefits are never discussed. The language is always slanted towards alarmism by the climastrologists.

      • I’ve heard of “doubling down”, but going from $37/ton of CO2 to $220/ton is a factor of 6! They’re getting really desperate now.

    • Instead of models, we could go with the pricing mechanism from our recent past.
      As we reported almost two weeks ago, the Gore and Pachauri advised Chicago Carbon Exchange (CCX) has closed. Closing price? A nickel per ton of CO2.
      After all we have this on ‘models’ based on ‘climate models’.
      Richard Betts, who heads the Climate Impacts area of the UK Met Office, claims his areas of expertise as a climate modeler and was one of the lead authors of the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report (WG2). Says –

      “Everyone (Apart from a few who think that observations of a decade or three of small forcing can be extrapolated to indicate the response to long-term larger forcing with confidence) agrees that we can’t predict the long-term response of the climate to ongoing CO2 rise with great accuracy. It could be large, it could be small. We don’t know. The old-style energy balance models got us this far. We can’t be certain of large changes in future, but can’t rule them out either.”

      So your carbon pricing scam study is based on “We Don’t Know.”

  10. But for fossil fuels, many millions in North America would have frozen to death in the last 10 days. Yet this fool, and EPA, think they endanger human health and welfare.

  11. What would be the political fallout in 2016 if the Republican candidate for President threw all caution to the winds and simply labeled AGW as a hoax? Would that policy position virtually guarantee the election of Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren, whichever one is eventually the Democrat’s nominee?

    • If Inhofe grabs the opportunity to call GISS/NOAA and USHCN to account for their “homogenization” of US and Global temperatures and can show (along the lines of Goddard/Heller and others) that the global warming is substantially “man made” rather than CO2 induced, then this could be a great idea. I am waiting for the announcement that a Senate hearing has been set up and an enquiry launched into the veracity of the way temperature records are treated. I would include the difference between tide gauges and satellite measurements of sea levels as well as Argos raw v. homogenized data for ocean heat content. Will I be lucky or draw a short straw?

    • Obama didn’t mention his climate plans during the past election. What is require is a presidential candidate that simply points out that one cannot control the weather via taxes. And if you cannot control the weather you cannot control the climate.
      Over the years I’ve heard bad weather blamed on everything from nuclear weapons testing to Chinese smog. In the past it was blamed on witches and people were burned at the stake.
      No matter what we do, no matter how high a tax we pay, bad weather will continue to happen. As has happened countless times throughout history. Long before anyone used fossil fuels as an energy source.
      What we as people can do is prepare for bad weather. Make sure our houses are well insulated, our energy supplies are secure, and our roads, bridges and seawalls are in good repair.
      No matter what action we take, problems will always find us. Even if you had unlimited funds you could not prevent all problems. Thus, common sense tells us the solution to our problems is to be prepared.
      When it looks like rain, the solution is to carry an umbrella. The solution is not to try and change the weather.

    • Every poll I’ve seen puts global warming dead last in the list of things that worry people.
      The number of people who believe that global warming is going to cause measurable problems is small and shrinking by the year.
      The media would make a big deal about it, but they would do that no matter what any Republican said.

  12. What is this “social” costs anyway? People getting mad about hot temps? Relationships breaking down? Fights breaking out? Anytime you see “social” anything, suspect socialist propaganda developed by psychology majors.
    Socialists, when you want to define something, be specific instead of the adolescent “social” meme.

    • Well beng1, there have been a lot of black eyes in the climate science and MSM crowds lately. What does a black eye treatment cost? I just paid $191 to get my teeth cleaned.

  13. The pair’s IAM also shows that developing countries may suffer the most from climate change effects. “If poor countries become less vulnerable to climate change as they become richer, then delaying some emissions reductions until they are more fully developed may in fact be the best policy,” Diaz said. “Our model shows that this is a major uncertainty in mitigation policy, and one not explored much in previous work.”

    Note how developing countries’ vulnerability to climate change actually militates against imposing emissions restrictions.

  14. sorry to read this crap. it was concocted by a PhD wannabe. it is about time we start focussing on the social cost of real calamities, just mentioning the ebola crisis but there are many more real threats to economies throughout the world. Mr (DR?) wannabe might better spend his ammunition on real stuff like that.

      • Geology used to be a venerable, no nonsense science until it got annointed “Earth Sciences” a wishy washy step towards social sciences fuzziness. Social Science, Political Science… call themselves “Science” right in the name of their (arty) subject. I remember over 50 years ago, a faculty of Home Economics, which was a fairly apt name until militant women who were arising during those times caused the subject to be changed to Domestic Science (I was in sympathy with much of the women’s rights cause but I don’t forgive them diluting and degrading the term science. In the 50s and 60s at the beginning of the so-called Space Age everyone wanted to call themselves engineers and scientists. Even adds on TV for dish soap claimed their product had been ‘engineered’ to clean your dishes and be gentle on your hands. After that breakthrough, everything got ‘engineered’.
        The ‘arts’ need this prop because there is a lot of doubt that they are sciences. They surely are not scientific in their highly subjective, ideological, take-a-rapist-to-lunch style of inquiry. It is precisely why, despots add the term “democratic” to their counties’ names: Democratic Republic of Zaire and how about “Deutsche Demokratische Republik” one of the most tyrannical spots on earth for about 60 years. Similarly the EU “Social Democrats”, Canada’s “New Democratic Party” and even US Democrats. These guys need to advertise otherwise they might be thought not to be so.

    • Not only is she a PhD wannabe, she is also an activist wannabe.

      …..She combines statistical and mathematical modeling with agricultural data and climate model output in order to better understand how farmers will respond to a changing climate…..
      She observed and participated in several of the UNFCCC meetings, culminating in COP15 in Copenhagen.

      This is not a good start at all.

    • Patrick — “it is about time we start focussing on the social cost of real calamities…”
      Or more rightly, maybe we need to start focusing on the negative social costs of climate science related PhD candidates. They seem to be the biggest threat to our future well-being.

  15. This is a complete “make believe” “research”.
    Let us suppose there is actually negative influence on economy.
    Let us also suppose there is negative influence on agriculture…
    CO2 is proved to be net benefit to plants – either by excess growth or by endurance to heat and dryness.
    Hot climate historically was beneficial to civilizations – all over the world. It was the cold that did the most damage.
    This is so maddening, seeing “scientists” pretending to do science but only a “make believe” one with spurious suppositions that are fed to those ever knowing computer models that spew the junk they are fed obediently.
    GIGO all the way to the press.

    • Can you imagine the social cost if the crazys get their way and no fossel fuels were allowed to be used?

  16. “IAM” very disappointed that this has come down to nothing more than a roll of the “DICE”. None of these people live on a planet resembling, in any way, this third rock from the Sun called Earth. All models should be confined to the catwalk.

  17. This PhD student has been well trained in the art of rent seeking by way of bs. There are no rational arguments to offer that show even $37 per ton of “economic damage” from CO2, much less $220.
    Hansen, Mann, Gore, Steyer, Grantham and the others seeking to profit so nicely from the climate obsession should pay this kid nicely.

  18. $37 or $220, that is quite some uncertainty.
    But predicating the future is always hard. I personally find their conclusions to be logical.
    Poverty is more of a problem now.
    Climate Change may be a problem later.
    Deal with Poverty now and Climate Change when you have the cash.
    But I don’t need a model that is very sensitive to initial assumptions in order to work that out.

    • I have a great problem with the idea of the plausibility of a scientific construct made by politicians (Thatcher, Dr. Evil Maurice Strong…) for other purposes. So far, it’s just as if the juggernaut of global warming was never postulated. So far it’s just more of the same stuff we’ve had for millions of years. Why should one be wondering if it is going to cause a disaster. Without all this we would simply be saying “Its a scorcher of a day!” “Boy, its colder than a witches heart, today.” By golly, the wind last week blew over my 400 year old maple tree”. All the real evidence points to the 30s and 40s still holding the real record for warmth in the instrumental record (all the state high records in the US and provinces in Canada still have 1930s as the hottest). We all know that Hansen, when he found 1998 not to be the hottest, had the record jiggered to make it the hottest after the fact.
      and many others.

  19. The warmer the climate in the wheat-growing areas of Canada, the further north a viable wheat crop can be grown. Every meter that line moves north means thousands of additional bushels of grain.

  20. Maybe this could be an entry in Anthony’s upcoming “Climate Madlibs” ?
    __1__ said. “Our model shows that this is __2__ in mitigation policy, and one not explored much ___3___.”
    1. Diaz, the Ayatollah, Bugs Bunny, Genghis Khan
    2. a major uncertainty, worse than we thought, laughable, boring
    3. in previous work, among disbelievers, in Hillary’s knickers, on other planets

  21. I seem to have a problem with anyone connected to Stanford. They should change the medication of their ‘scientists’. For some reason whenever I hear ‘Stanford’ I think of one of those institutes in the past where they performed horrible experiments on patients and at some point the lunatics take over the asylum. I can never be sure which group is producing the reports. Shudder!

  22. Wow! Multi-colored spaghetti lines on a chart with no numbers on the vertical axis, all on a background of steam clouds photographed in early morning light for maximum humidity and contrast. Visually stunning – and meaningless.
    Color me – Unimpressed.

    • Exactly. I too wondered how science-challenged people are supposed to “see” all that nasty carbon dioxide hiding in the “smoke.” Not saying there is no CO2 present in that photo, just that it is NOT visible. But, an image from NASA’s OCO-2 satellite wouldn’t have the same effect.

      • Bubba Cow:
        Then from what you have said, the art of climate modelling should now officially be called: ‘CLIMATE ART MODELS’

  23. Given that earth has not warming and given that they told us the current amount of CO2 concentration is worth ~2 degrees, couldn’t it then be argued that the ‘extra’ CO2 has prevented ~2 degrees of cooling which would have caused $X amount of climate damage so each ton of CO2 actually saved us $100’s? per ton?

  24. …Their alternative formulation incorporated recent empirical findings suggesting that climate change could substantially slow economic growth rates…
    Er… I thought ALL climate change mitigation proposals were DESIGNED to slow economic growth? That was always the hidden agenda.
    They got away with it in the early years by claiming that ‘renewable energy’ would increase growth and jobs. We now have a host of proofs that it doesn’t.
    This looks like another shot in the foot for the warmist side – they are starting to do this quite often, aren’t they…?

    • They merely omitted one word, accidentally on purpose –
      “Their alternative formulation incorporated recent empirical findings suggesting that combating climate change could substantially slow economic growth rates…”

  25. Duh. Poor countries emit very little CO2 compared to rich countries. Rich countries need to take the lead in developing renewable and low emission energy sources, and then pass these on to the poor countries after they’ve been able to develop further with “cheap” energy sources.

    • Any clue as to which “renewable and low emission energy sources” we should develop? I noticed that you didn’t include the words “safe, cheap and reliable” as metrics for these new resources.
      Oh, but “cats kill lots of birds”, right? Do you defend that rationalization?

    • The recent image from the NASA CO2 observatory suggests you are wrong. Most of the central south of the continent is spewing CO2 in to the air. Who is right?

      • You’re referring to about one month of data, I think. Let’s see how things average out over an annual cycle. Also, if the southern hemisphere emissions are primarily from savannas burning, the next question that needs to be asked is how much of this burning is natural (i.e., caused by lightening). Then, even if there is significant anthropogenic emissions, I still say let the poor countries develop (hopefully by managing their natural resources well), and the rich countries can offset their emissions.

    • “Rich countries need to take the lead in developing renewable and low emission energy sources”
      No they don’t. No one does, rich or poor.

    • Barry
      January 13, 2015 at 6:23 am
      ……Rich countries need to take the lead in developing renewable and low emission energy sources…

      Now why not start with Stanford NOT taking oil money? You know it makes sense.

      Stanford School of Engineering
      Corporate Sponsors
      Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E)
      Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

    • Barry:
      Your comment appears to contain zero intelligence, or I don’t understand your point, or both.
      This wikipedia link ( has some nifty sortable tables regarding carbon emission by country & per capita.
      About 66% of world CO2 comes from (descending sequence): China, USA, EU, Russia, India – note 3 out of the 5 are not rich. Oh yea, and total USA CO2 is actually going down.
      Per capita, USA is 10th, somewhere below Luxembourg.
      Stats are pretty much a dog’s breakfast without considerations like tropical (Fiji) vs tundra (Canada) countries, or countries that produce goods people actually want to buy (USA vs Russia).
      Oh yea, and most small countries are poor – they’d use more energy if they could (Latvia, Lybia, Albania)

    • Uh, Barry, check your facts..
      Not so, sattelite says CO2 is NOT being generated in developed countries, rather the underdeveloped equatorial regions are to blame. Australia, the apparent winner of the CO2 sinner sweepstakes, sinks over 20 x its emmission so that with biosequestration being up some 6 or 7 % since 1990 our increase in sequestration is now about 1.2 times our TOTAL emission. In nett terms Australia emits less CO2 than it did in 1850 thanks to CO2 fertilisation.

  26. I have seldom read such self-evident BS as this.
    Anyone with the slightest shred of the scientific method within them would shudder at such nonsense – snouts in the trough alarmists excepted of course.

  27. “If climate change affects not only a country’s economic output, but also its growth, then that has a permanent effect that accumulates over time”
    An assumption made without justification. GIGO model – assume your conclusion and voila, your conclusion is deemed correct.
    Regulations lower growth rates. The social cost of this GIGO model and paper could be measured in hundreds of billions, if it leads to bad policies.

  28. “…could actually be six times higher…”
    Which means it could be six times lower, too.
    Anytime we see “could be”…we know it’ll be worse than we thought.

  29. If they are going to pick numbers out of their … errr … hat, why not go with something really scary like $1 million.

  30. Could this all be about rationalizing a massive transfer of wealth from rich countries to poor countries. Also, could someone explain what the $220 per ton “social cost” actually means? Is this a worldwide number multiplied times the tonnage of CO2 put into the atmosphere by humans? What about natural causes of CO2? This whole thing seems like nonsense.

  31. Instead we should be worried about the social cost for the faux agenda of the climate change/global warming advocates. The US budget alone exceeds $20 Billion annually to combat climate change. Add to that the cost of green energy and the taxes on energy that is needed to keep our economy running as well as the impact of preventing 3rd world economies from getting access to fossil fuels. Think of all the fossil fuels and government $$$ are expended flying all those elites around to periodic UN and other climate change, and alternative fuel conferences.

  32. It’s simple, really… this research was paid for and it’s conclusions ordained, in order to support the statist platform, that the populace must be more heavily taxed and controlled. Government radio (NPR) and gov’t TV (PBS) will quickly begin touting this paper as proof that the gov’t (really, a handful of elites,) agenda must be advanced.

  33. “Nature Climate Change” publishes a lot of low quality papers like this. In general what we see in both Nature journals and Scientific Anerican (owned by the same publishing house) is serial publishing of low quality material.
    I’m used to seeing this type of work performed by undergrads. But I haven’t seen graduate students spend time performing this type of simulation and getting it published afterwards.
    We also have to recall that an integrated assessment model isn’t a climate model. Its a dynamic model. Think of it as a very complex spreadsheet running with macros, and you’ll get an idea. I’ve assembled simple versions of these models, reviewed the manuals prepared for very complex versions such as DICE, and can confirm they are easy to modify to perform what if exercises.
    The problem I see is the complete lack of support and verification for the internal logic, as well as the validity of what goes in the what if questions themselves.

    • How can we get our hands on the code and data to run one of these ourselves? If gradual students can do it, why not us. Why should universities have the exclusive voice in creating virtual reality?

      • Fernando, thanks for the pointer to DICE. (the reply button in missing on your comment, so not sure where this will show up, sorry)
        The DICE manual says it all:
        “The DICE model views the economics of climate change from the perspective of neoclassical economic growth theory (see particularly Solow 1970). In this approach, economies make investments in capital, education, and technologies, thereby reducing consumption today, in order to increase consumption in the future. The DICE model extends this approach by including the “natural capital” of the climate system. In other words, it views concentrations of GHGs as negative natural capital, and emissions reductions as investments that raise the quantity of natural capital (or reduce the negative capital). By devoting output to emissions reductions, economies reduce consumption today but prevent economically harmful climate change and thereby increase consumption possibilities in the future.”
        GHGs are “negative nature capital” emission reductions are “investments” and “harmful climate change” is assumed. I didn’t look too deep, but maybe somewhere in the function set they have a “grant auto-generate” button.

  34. Stanford students are smart. They know how to suck funding out of the government funding trough. Well done, Stanford students. Keep this up and we taxpayers will pay for your 2 million dollar San Jose bungalow one day.

    • Well, the government grant research slurpers are not the ones buying the $2 million houses. Stanford works in wondrous ways. Their real business is technology transfer. After WWII a very smart prof, Dr. Fred Terman, set up a research (industrial) park on the property of Stanford, to capitalize on the talent coming out of the school. First big success was HP. Cisco, Sun, Intel, AMD and most of the Silicon Valley feeds (or has fed) off their technology research, turning it into companies. Jimbo is right on pointing out the corporate sponsors of Stanford research.
      One clear example: The first DARPA challenge for autonomous vehicles (in the desert, remember?) was won by a vehicle designed and built at Stanford by some very, very smart students. Afterwards, the best were snapped up by the BMW/VW research labs (and others) that are located virtually on the campus. The second DARPA challenge was won be a VW vehicle, designed by the very same, now employed, engineers.
      After an initial small slurp facilitated by the school, successful people and tech moves directly to private companies with stock options and public offerings, which is how engineers buy the $2 million “starter houses.”
      If you want to make big money out of government slurping, you have to set up a company designed from the ground up to do mega-slurping. For that you need to go to the Stanford Business School. Then you can afford the $50 million “grownup” houses and laugh with your VC (venture capital) buddies about how the government overpaid for that crappy solar technology that nobody in the private sector would touch.

  35. There is only one kind of quantifiable cost- ACTUAL COSTS.
    Anything else is trying to calculate how much I like the colour blue.
    How does this stuff get published?

  36. Tell the people in China that the social cost of carbon is $220 a ton and they will laugh in your face. The US is living in a fools paradise. Carbon regulations will drive industry and jobs to China, weakening the US to the point of economic collapse.
    This process is already well underway. China is a booming, modern economy, while the US continues to struggle. Compare Detroit with Shanghai. Tens of thousands of abandoned buildings as compared to one of the most modern cities on the planet.
    There is a lot of hype over sustainable policies. The national debt is never mentioned. Yet it is the only true unsustainable policy. When you spend more than you earn, year after year after year, the end result is unsustainable.
    Only the current near zero interests rates allow the debt to be maintained. When interest rates return to their past levels, as they must eventually, the US will wake up to find itself bankrupt.
    You cannot spend yourself out of debt. No matter how high you run up the charges on your credit card, the balance will not go to zero, except by way of bankruptcy court.

    • You are hitting the nail on the head there. I remember when a certain Ontario NDP government tried to spend it’s way out of a recession. Ended up turning a 8 billion dollar deficit into a 40 billion dollar deficit in one four year term.

  37. Paywalled, but check the references.
    All IAMs are so laden with assumptions as to be able to create any answer. See MIT’s Pindyk paper critique or Dr. Murphys congressional testimony available oon YouTube. (Both available via the Hockeyschtick link upthread).
    This new paper used negative agricultural impacts from the Lobell (also Stanford) papers. Those are fatally flawed, discussed at length in the climate change chapter of Gaia’s Limits. So put provably faulty extreme negatives, themselves predicated on GCMs that are too sensitive by half, into the manipulable DICE IAM, and Ph.D candidates can easily produce the catastrophic modelled result needed to be admitted to the CAGW academic priesthood, and get published in CAGW’s main academic propaganda organ.

    • When projecting economic or social impacts far into the future, you have to use a discount rate. The discount rate chosen largely determines the results of your analysis. If your discount rate is too small, you effectively end up valuing future lives more highly than people alive today. There has been debate over appropriate discount rates since at least the Stern Review in 2006.
      Here is a non-paywalled link to a 2013 publication (Stanford lead author) that recommends using two discount rates — one for economic outcomes (presumed to be more objective) and one for social welfare outcomes (more subjective). In case the link won’t work for you, the title is “The Choice of Discount Rate for Climate Change Policy Evaluation” by Goulder and Williams.,%20CCE%202012).pdf

      • I’ve discussed using two discount rates in the same run. When I bring it up I get blank stares from economists. I suppose they just don’t have enough exposure to real life.

    • Best summary so far, Rud. It doesn’t take much scholarship to come up with such stuff.
      The worrying thing is that irrelevant and distorted nonsense like this is published, cited, re-cited, expanded upon, beatified, and finally incorporated into policy. Leaves me feeling pretty miserable.
      ‘social cost’ and ‘environmental cost’ calculations have been a most useful invention and can be deployed to justify just about any authoritarian intervention you desire.

    • Their paper is mainly an argument in economics and factors such as CO2 mitigation , expressed forcibly above and below , are dealt with by reference mainly to a paper by Schlenker and Roberts . The latter conducted a historical analysis of harvest data for corn and soybean correlated against growing season temperatures (US) and indeed established optimum temperatures for both crops , after which yields decline sharply . However S and R add a caveat , namely they have not, obviously, allowed for CO2 mitigation . For that one has to look elsewhere such as the formidable review by Long et al , on the results of CO2 enrichment on yields ; eg
      and many other papers on the subject .
      In open field studies the effect of CO2 enrichment does not follow the increased yields found in enclosed studies , it seems , nevertheless there is mitigation of the effects of temperature and it is disappointing that the students’ supervisors did not direct them in the direction of the Agriculture Dept ( Although to be fair they may cover that aspect more thoroughly in their theses) .
      Neither do they allow for the work such as that at Monsanto on commercial development of heat resistant strains.
      The episode shows that when writing economic analyses on problems that are basically technical or scientific an ignorance of the surrounding scientific literature can result in undesirable consequences , even if the analysis itself is conducted well by its own terms.

  38. What made pre-industrial cold the standard? And who is to say that we haven’t yet reached an “optimum” around which we might naturally cycle by a couple of degrees up and down? (Say, that sounds like the history of earth.)

  39. Take a graph of countries and compare CO2 output/capita (proxy for fossil fuel use) with standard of living, life expectancy.
    It would seem in the real world the social cost is in NOT using fossil fuels.

  40. This lie built climate change fraud, look at it this way. The fail by the US in the war on terror is in large part due to not being able or willing to name the issue and deal with it from there.
    Same here with global warming, climate change, fear CO2, those are not the issues/problems, it is the
    REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH operation that is useing the fudged, made up data to push forward on the real goal.

  41. Look to the past if you want to understand and see the social benefits of a ton of carbon emissions. We don’t want to go back to a time when housework was so onerous and time consuming that women work expected NOT to be in the workforce. Social benefits have to be way over $220 per ton.

  42. That is an amazing graph but it would be even better if you were to draw the face of Satan in the condensation. Take out the horizontal lines too, those only distract from the confusion of the graph. Then a dead polar bear should be photo shopped in.

  43. Just need to remind the folks that this administration is robbing social security funds to fund there war on global climate.

  44. @Patrick 6:21
    Bloody crusades have been done by christianists, nothing to do with christians.
    Just as islamism has nothing to do with islam.

    • Thats not in question. No-one knows what they said. In terms of “Jesus”, “his writings” appeared ~70 years after his death.

    • The 1st Crusades were ordered by the Pope…so I don’t know where you get the idea that it had nothing to do with Christians. They started as a pilgrimage and ended in war in order to reclaim the “holy land” after they were captured during Muhammad’s conquests of the 7th century.

      • Excellent revisionist history there Robert.
        The First Crusade was a defensive action in response to the Caliphate attacking towards France through Spain as part of the grand expansion of Islam. It was the later Crusades that fall within your explaination and they may not have happened at all if not for the cause of the First. Ignoring the real causes does however make it so much easier to criticise those ‘nasty’ Christians.

  45. Depriving the world of cheap fossil fuel energy in exchange for more expensive, less efficient, less reliable, highly intermittent and highly diffuse alternative energy sources like wind and solar is economic suicide, especially if other manufacturing powerhouses like China and India increase their competitive advantage by not adopting such insane CO2 sequestration policies.
    Moreover, depriving developing 3rd-world economies access to cheap fossil fuels will kill millions and prevent any possible economic advancement.
    How can these “scientists” assign CAGW “damages” when there hasn’t been any increase in severe weather trends, sea level rise stuck at 6″ per century for the past 200 years, approximately just 0.2C of CO2 induced warming since 1850, U.S. crop yields have increased 80% just since 1980, doubling CO2 to 560ppm will increase crop yields 50%, higher CO2 levels will enable plants to thrive on less water, etc….
    Just where, exactly, will all this CAGW economic damage come from? The DICE and IAM models are a little vague on this point…
    The empirical evidence is now suggesting actual ECS will be perhaps 50% to 75% less than the 2C target the CAGW advocates wish to achieve after wasting $10’s of trillions on senseless CO2 sequestration policies.
    How does this make any sense?

  46. If one removes logic and reason from the analysis, the ‘analysis’ should no longer be called ‘analysis’.
    The warmists are at their wits end as they continue try to create fantasy tales based on ‘scientific’ climate models which are obviously incorrect to convince us to spend trillions of dollars which our countries do not have on green scams that do not work, to reduce the emissions of a gas that is absolutely essential for life on this planet, to stop warming that is not occurring.
    Roy Spencer: Ocean surface temperature is not warming in the tropics.

    • Willis has elegantly shown with his colored scatter plots of Erbes (?) data that the maximum temperature that open ocean SSTs can achieve is ~31C. The temperature of Lagos Nigeria is the same, about 28-30, as it was when I was there in the mid 1960s which I believe was a cold period globally. The Intertropical convegence zone has likely never been hotter than that – it is ‘governed’ at this upper limit – not so the lower limit though!

  47. Those of us who know our bible would point out that the one of the names of the big guy is “I AM”…probably a coincidence. I hope.
    BTW, lovely that this is coming along, as here in Ontario, Canada, our recently re-elected corrupt to the core Liberal government has floated a trial balloon concerning a carbon tax. Gas prices are down, doncha know, have to get money to kick back to our corporate friends from SOMEWHERE. Why not try the taxpayer?

    • CaligulaJones: Can’t you get it right – it’s not a ‘carbon tax – it’s a neutral ‘Revenue Tool’ – money that should not be in your pocket.

  48. So lets see,
    (220 $/ton CO2) X (3.6 X10^9 tons CO2 produced) = 79.2 X 10^12
    So these PhD students have justified spending 79.2 TRILLION dollars in CO2 taxes to offset the “social costs” of CO2.
    Yeah, that’s reasonable.
    How in the name of Zeus did this lunacy get past their graduate advisers, let alone the sacred and infallible process of “peer review”?

    • With you on “how in the….” comment…peer reviewed hockey stick type lunacy. Hope their Oral exam is on YouTube.

  49. Incredibly silly!
    in fact the World development has been, and still is, directly linked to the use of energy, 86% of which is nowadays supplied by fossil fuels.
    For each ton of carbon burnt, the World GDP increases by 150 US$, and this in a very tight correlation since more than 50 years.
    Any reduction of the use of energy means a lack of development opportunity for everybody on this planet. Alternative sources, substitutes, are ridiculously anecdotal, and efficiency improvements need time, investment and … energy.
    Another study should be made about the “Social cost of misanthropic climate activism”

    • I’d like to make three points.
      Firstly, the English word needed in the graph is ‘Cumulative’, not ‘Cumulated’.
      Secondly, thanks for telling us that you got the data from the World Bank. But could you please link us to the document where the World Bank said that, so we can replicate your work?
      Finally, thanks for this graph, If it does hold up to replication, it’s a serious and major contribution to the discussion.

    • The fact that the world population has increased by about 140% in the same period seems to have been forgotten by the world bank.
      We might as well link the GDP growth to total global water use and claim that every ton of extra water used means an increase of X dollars in GDP, which would also be a correct statement when just looked at those two parameters.
      Fossil fuels or water do not create GDP, people do.

    • the graph shows that $50 trillion dollars benefit was received from 350 billion tons of carbon.
      = $142.86 BENEFIT per ton of carbon.
      So, it would appear that not only does CO2 drive surface temperatures, it also drives the world economy.

      • ps: if the social cost of carbon is really $220/ton, the the true benefit of carbon must be:
        = $142.86 NET BENEFIT + $220 SOCIAL COST = $362.86 GROSS BENEFIT per ton of carbon.
        Otherwise, if carbon was only a cost, then for every ton of carbon emitted the worlds GDP would shrink. But it continues to grow, showing that CO2 is thus delivering a net benefit

    • Michel hits upon the very heart of what the Red-greens are after. World-wide economic growth is tightly dependent on energy use growth (of which carbon emissions are a central metric). And human population growth is tightly coupled to economic growth. Having one enables the other. And to the Greens intent on population control that means economic growth must be limited by any means. The green socialists have seized upon Climate Change with CO2 their metric as the means to achieve that end.
      Everyone who has seen the words of Ehrlich and Holdren understand the true purpose of the Climate Change Fraud is to throttle industrial development, which means human population growth will decline due to disease, starvation, and ensuing wars. In doing so, they see the resulting death and deprivations that will occur in the developing world as a necessary means to an end.
      John Holdren (Obama’s Science advisor) and Paul Ehrlich laid it all out in 1974:
      A position which they must still believe, but at least for Holdren, he cannot openly express that today.
      Jonathan Gruber was correct in that is how Progressives operate. They must lie to hide the from the general “stupid” public the true intentions of their policies. The public must not be allowed to understand the true costs of their Climate Change policy prescriptions.

  50. ‘this week in the journal Nature Climate Change,’
    So a bunch of highly politicized individuals in a journal that owns its very existence to a particular idea do ‘research’; which is nothing but worthless models that supports their political outlook, and the journal’s purpose.
    In more news, bears find woods a good place to deposit their personal waste, and the Pope tells us that good really exists.
    They must spend every day thanking god that they can get away with such BS and still get paid.

  51. Why did they stop at $220? Conversely: Is there an integrated benefits assessment? For example: there has been storm loss (Sandy, Haiyan, Hagupit) but what about the lack of loss from relative calm in the hurricanes and typhoons? There have been droughts and floods, but what about the increased crop yields? Truth is, they can’t blame every loss on humans any more than they can attribute every benefit to humans (though there are a lot of benefits!).

  52. Just imagine how enormous our economy (and the worlds economy) would be right now if they had banned CO2 emmissions starting back in the 1850s. Everyone on the planet would be billionaires by now according to their calculatioins. At $220 a ton, and multi-trillions of tons over that time frame…. wow!
    /sarc (in case you were in doubt).

    • if we could only find someone willing to pay us $220 for every ton of carbon we don’t emit. perhaps we can tax the termites. they are the largest CO2 producers on the planet. they should be the ones footing the bill. even china looks good compared to the termites. perhaps this explains why the termites continue to boycott climate conferences. they don’t want obama to subject them to the horrors of “shame and blame”.

      • ferd
        Whoa, big guy.
        This is my 1st year end with residential solar PV, which has generated a certificate for my 9,500 pounds of carbon offset, which I can sell (I’ll inform the group of the price when I actually do the sale).
        Needless to say, I’m hoping to get a zillion dollars per ton. I think I need to hire me on of those Stanford dudes.

  53. They cost of a butterfly flapping its wings could be as high as one Bajillion dollars. Time to exterminate all butterflies.

  54. ‘…countries may want to increase their efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, said study coauthor Delavane Diaz, a PhD candidate in the Department of Management Science and Engineering. “If the social cost of carbon is higher, many more mitigation measures will pass a cost-benefit analysis,” Diaz said.’
    A sense of responsibility (towards the American worker) requires me, Delavane Diaz, to inform you that if your research funding, and thus your income, is reduced to a much lower level then your continued employment at the taxpayer financed watering trough might actually pass a cost-benefit analysis. Additionally, through the subsequent reduction in policy recommendations that will ensue, I believe that the “social cost” will be considerably lower too.
    P.S. I suspect you haven’t lived long enough to actually appreciate what real (and not dreamed up) social costs truly are, and what they actually look like. Not what you think. And not a pretty sight.

  55. They must have worked fantastically hard to come up with that increased figure from $37 to $220 – the cost for each of us if we ignore her wild model projections. How on earth did her fellow warmists get the figure so wrong in the first place? This is surely going to create some squabbling amongst the Church of AGW believers. Anyway, I’ve put the money aside just in case.

  56. “so until now it’s been very difficult to justify aggressive and potentially expensive mitigation measures because the damages just aren’t large enough.”
    S, let’s increase the predicted damages! Justification now justified! Voila!

  57. The money quote is: ““If poor countries become less vulnerable to climate change as they become richer, then delaying some emissions reductions until they are more fully developed may in fact be the best policy,” Diaz said.” This directly contradicts some of the major conclusions in the article summary, particularly for poor countries. The costs of mitigating the paltry emissions in less developed countries will cause much more damage than any possible effects of CO2. In fact, as a couple others pointed out, the best mitigation/adaptation strategy to to help less developed countries develop as fast as possible to limit population growth and CO2. Once they reach a certain level of development all sorts of problems can be alleviated or better coped with. The social costs of aggressive, early CO2 reductions are much higher than any future costs associated with CO2

  58. so until now it’s been very difficult to justify aggressive and potentially expensive mitigation measures because the damages just aren’t large enough.

    Until now? What did I miss? What large damages from climate change are they talking about that now justify expensive mitigation? They mention “decreased agricultural yields and harm to human health related to climate change.” But when did those occur? You would think such events would have been reported on the news.
    Oh I see, it all came from a model. They’ve been playing with loaded DICE again. Does their model even allow for the possibility that more CO2, and a little warming, might be net beneficial to the planet? If all these “damages” came not from observations but from their model, then the easiest way to fix the problem is to fix their model, no expensive mitigation measures necessary. If these people really think the output from models is the same as reality, then I suggest we have a model print their salaries. They obviously can’t tell the difference between monopoly money and the genuine thing.

    • I put this in a comment above, but it’s worth repeating. From the DICE user manual h/t to Fernando:
      The DICE model views the economics of climate change from the perspective of neoclassical economic growth theory (see particularly Solow 1970). In this approach, economies make investments in capital, education, and technologies, thereby reducing consumption today, in order to increase consumption in the future. The DICE model extends this approach by including the “natural capital” of the climate system. In other words, it views concentrations of GHGs as negative natural capital, and emissions reductions as investments that raise the quantity of natural capital (or reduce the negative capital). By devoting output to emissions reductions, economies reduce consumption today but prevent economically harmful climate change and thereby increase consumption possibilities in the future.
      “Concentrations of GHG are negative capital” and “By devoting output to emissions reductions, economies reduce consumption today but prevent economically harmful climate change and thereby increase consumption possibilities in the future.” You get what you ask for.

      • Who decides which capital is positive, which his negative?
        Are externalities, if existing, always negative?
        Is investing in a law firm something positive while it exclusively deals with negative aspects of human relations?
        What about investing in road construction, in car making, in crop processing, in health services, + or- ?
        Is investing in thinking (not a monetary investment) positive as long as you think like me, and negative when your views are the opposite of mine?
        All this pseudo-objectivism is ultimately absurd.

  59. All of this only means something in a warming world. If the world is not warming it ia a total waste of physical and human resources. And guess what? The world is not warming. It has not warmed for 18 years. The only recent true warming was the short-lived super El Nino of 1998 which had absolutely nothing to do with atmospheric carbon dioxide these guys are talking about. And prior to the arrival of the super El Nino there was yet another eighteen year period of no-warming in the eighties and nineties that the global warming gang is hiding by showing a fake warming in its place. Fortunately they still don’t control the satellites and you can see this no-warming period in satellite data sets. ENSO was also active in the eighties and nineties and created five El Nino peaks there. To determine global mean temperature in the presence of ENSO draw a line from rhe tip of an El Nino peak to the bottom of the adjacent valley and mark its center point. Doing that for the eighties and nineties you find that the dots line up as a horizontal straight line, 18 years long, the same as the current hiatus is. These two hiatuses together give us 35 years of no-warming, This is over two-thirds of the time since 1988 when IPCC was first organized. They have done all tyey can to suppress any knowledge of hiatuses during their existence They are plenty worried about the current hiatus and have written over 50 peer reviewed articles in an attempt to get rid of it. It gets comical when they start looking for the lost heat in the ocean bottom. They have not succeeded so far and they have not even acknowledged that there is another hiarus hiding in the eighties and nineties. To see it clearly look at figure 15 in my book “What Warming?”

  60. There of reason why you should not implement mitigation policies even if we assume that catastrophic global warming is a very real possibility and the revised social cost of carbon is correct.
    1. They recognize climate change will retard economic growth (with little evidence of this actually happening) but do not recognize the effects of policy on economic growth.
    2. Assumptions about the effectiveness of policy have been shown by experience to be wrong.
    3. There have been a huge number of policy failures, and there are no proper procedures to stop useless and harmful policies being implemented in the future.
    3. Not all major emitters are introducing emissions reduction policies. The emerging economies (China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, etc. etc.) are not doing anything to reduce emissions. These countries alone will soon be producing enough emissions to exceed the 2 degree threshold.
    Factor in these elements and future generations will be poorer due to policy, and will still have most of the harms of climate change in the future.
    But in economics, you need to look at the assumptions.
    First is the discount rate. I do not know what it is. Mainstream climate economists use 3%. Use 1% or 0.1% like Stern did and the long-term costs are magnified.
    Second is adaptation. Like the high-cost estimates of the past, this paper assumes people do not adapt very well. It depends on the context. If warming throws the climate into chaos, then people cannot adapt – but this is highly speculative. If it is sea levels rising by 3-30mm a year, then slow, and low-cost, adaptation is feasible. If is slow changes to climate (like becoming drier & warmer) then changes to crops and water supplies are possible.

    • If a person is of a “progressive mindset”, then your #3, “Assumptions about the effectiveness of policy have been shown by experience to be wrong”, only means that in the next policy cycle, more resources and tighter controls must be allocated.
      With Progressives there is fundamentally no Limiting Principle, ever. For example, If 30% of a nation’s GDP doesn’t solve poverty, then in the next policy cycle try 35%. Of course when 35% of GDP still doesn’t “solve” poverty, it was because it should have been 40% of GDP. The cycle continues until the economic conditions bring about the entire societal collapse. It will be the same for climate change whereby they have declared that CO2 is the climate control knob, thus by simply turning the dial they can fix the “climate.” All it takes is assigning a value to the increments on the knob, extracting that value from the economy to re-distribute, and thus Viola!, climate change solved.
      Of course when it doesn’t it only meant they assigned too low a value to the CO2, and so they continue.
      No limiting Principle… ever, for Progressives and their watermelon friends.

  61. Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
    Benjamin: Yes, sir.
    Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
    Benjamin: Yes, I am.
    Mr. McGuire: Models.
    Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?
    Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in models. Think about it. Will you think about it?

    • I had to play “Mrs. Robinson” after reading that, followed it up with “So Long FLW” and “America”.

  62. Another idiotic scientist basing claims based on AGW theory which has been busted not only by the climatic data for the past 18 years but even more importantly by the atmospheric processes AGW theory stated would occur due to this theory.
    Most notable is the lower tropospheric hot spot and more El Nino or El Nino like patterns which has not occurred , not to mention the other wrong call for a more zonal atmospheric circulation which has not occurred.
    They then try to cover themselves by saying the lack of Arctic Sea Ice due to global warming is the explanation for the more meridional atmospheric circulation(opposite of what they called for originally) which is more BS and one can prove this by looking at the atmospheric circulation versus Arctic Sea Ice values in the 1970’s.
    Not to mention the fact that while Arctic Sea Ice has declined Antarctic Sea Ice has risen even faster resulting in overall global Sea Ice being above normal. Their great wrong theory said both poles would exhibit Sea Ice loss due to AGW theory.

  63. Nothing will slow economic development of poor countries more than lack of reliable, inexpensive energy.
    A computer model of this sort is nothing more, and I mean nothing, than the assumptions baked-in early. There is no physics involved at all.

  64. “Social Cost.”
    Talk about a meaningless, made-up, impossible to weight “statistic.” It’s like trying to asses the true value of “pain and personal suffering” like they end up with in lawsuits.

    • Never under esteem the ‘value’ of the impossible to weight “statistic to those looking to work in an area that requires no real ‘proof’ to actual base your claims on.

  65. Doesn’t really matter.
    Saudi holding oil production high, and price per barrel diving to $30 for a decade if not longer the “social cost” arguments are moot.
    Saudi just became the IPCC killer; Tesla Motors will burn through cash and be bankrupt before the next year and GM wont be a buyer as it ditches it’s own electric car plans. ’15 will be tough year for Musk.
    Haha not.

  66. “If the social cost of carbon is higher, many more mitigation measures will pass a cost-benefit analysis,” Diaz said.
    And there you have it. Re-submit all those business cases because now they’re viable. Yeah right.

  67. Translation:
    We are PHD candidates looking for a career. We have created a model(GIGO) to do just that, ensure adequate funding for our lifetimes. At everyone else’s expense. I wonder who is paying for their education, if it is us taxpayers, I want my money back. If it is their parents, I can only hope someone explains to them what their children are planning to do to them in the near future, and all the money they struggled to make to send them to school was apparently wasted.

  68. Sorry, but as soon as I hit “could” in the first sentence, I realized I had better things to do, like watch the white Gorbull warming falling.

  69. “so until now it’s been very difficult to justify aggressive and potentially expensive mitigation measures because the damages just aren’t large enough.” This says it all, the study’s purpose was to find a justification for the mitigation measures the “progressives” wish to impose on us, is it any surprise that they found that justification using a computer model as flawed as the climate models used by the IPCC?

  70. What’s the social cost of undermining public confidence in science by using fake science to promote a political agenda?

  71. Oh my goodness!!! There are a lot of ifs, buts, coulds, woulds, maybes and models in here. I think they have assumptions up the ying yang, and their models are based on other models that failed to predict a pause.

  72. “Social” cost of carbon.
    Hmmm….if I’m not mistaken, concrete is one of the unsung heroes in the advancement of society.
    What are the ingredients of concrete? One of them is lime. Made from limestone. They take limestone and crush it then heat it to drive off a CO2 molecule from the calcium carbonate.
    What would be the cost to a society if the manufacture of concrete was banned?
    Anybody out there drink water? If it’s from a municipal source then there’s a good chance the water plant uses lime to treat the water. More CO2.
    Part of the process in many of those water plants is adding CO2 back into the water after the lime addition and settling. (To change the remaining carbonates back into bicarbonates.)
    We release about 5 tons a day, everyday where I work. Some of it escapes into the air.
    How many “CO2 is pollution” promoters are willing to not have a road to drive on or mortar to bond the bricks of their houses?
    Would they go back to hauling their water from the nearest stream?
    Coal, gas, and oil energy production aren’t the only things that produce CO2 emissions.
    PS Our current CO2 suppler gets it from ethanol production.
    What goes around comes around.

  73. This is just the same old pseudoscientific, pseudointellectual, Leftist bullshit. What about the economic GAINS – to countries rich and poor – of NOT spending trillions on the emperor’s new clothes? What about the economic GAINS of NOT taxing the f— out of natural fuels? What about the economic GAINS of every Western leader over the last 30-40 years NOT spending the Western hemisphere into irreconcilable DEBT? Angry? Moi? Doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about the sorts of useful-cretins-with-an-agenda who produce these biased reports.

  74. Jo Nova calculated that the recently demised Australian Carbon (dioxide) tax was costing the country over $5.000 per tonne of CO2. Fortunately the Abbott government realized the problem and repealed the tax over a year ago. The economy is now rebounding.

  75. The problem with sitting in an ivory tower playing with computers is that you aren’t out in the field exercising your common sense
    These idiots have no common sense to exercise. Money, Money, Money.

  76. This stupid paper is getting a lot of attention. Just dismiss it as Girlie Science.
    Meanwhile somewhere someone is about to cite it in a paper of their own and give it credibility it does not deserve. Isn’t this how it works?

  77. Have a look at the list of U.S. states by economic growth rate.
    One can clearly see there is no correlation whatsoever between average temperature and economic growth rate. Is there a legitimate reason to suppose the Immortal Powers should prefer a temporal correlation to a spatial one?
    BTW, does anyone still remember the thing called sanity check from olden times?

    • You are onto something here. A famous Willi’s E graph perhaps. plot regional change in GDP vs regional change in temperature over the past century, with different colored bubbles to show the size of the region.

  78. Social cost of carbon has to be made $221 because if not all the EPA’s regulations go out the window. They are required by law to show net benefit in their cost-benefit analysis projections, and the costs they estimated when they wrote the Regulatory Impact Analyses were way too low. At the time the costs were just guesses too (not totally legit, but that’s what they did), but over time the true costs of Carbon Capture and Sequestration have proven to be much higher than they estimated, and so they have to balance their numbers. They can only do this with a much higher social cost of carbon.

  79. The social cost of the taxes to pay these leaches to do these nonsensical studies is too high.

  80. Six times higher? That’s nothing, I could put together something in a jiffy showing 8 times, 10 times higher social costs, whatever you want. Just make sure and spell my name correctly on the grant checks.

  81. Just more proof that you can make any model spit out any number you want, especially an economic one based mainly on ifs and mays.
    The idea that burning fossil fuels does as much damage as good is patently absurd.
    It sounds like all the positive impacts of energy are effectively ignored by these modelers. For example, much of the increase in CO2 will come from underdeveloped countries, which stand to reap disproportionately large benefit from the energy produced. Also, higher CO2 concentration increases agricultural production, yet these authors apparently claim the opposite.
    Like the 97% claims, this $220 claim will be picked up and used by the AGW crowd, and they will use it for years despite it repeatedly being shown to be unsupportable.

  82. LOL, this is like out of a climate based twilight zone episode. This line could be right out of 1984 as an example of doublespeak…
    “Their alternative formulation incorporated recent EMPIRICAL findings SUGGESTING that climate change COULD substantially slow economic growth rates, particularly in poor countries.”
    Yet in reality we have every reason to think the social cost of carbon is much lower then currently thought, not higher. Possibly even a net benefit for literally the same reasons they cite dangers. Never mind the obvious social impacts because of the use of fossil fuels themselves which are clearly beneficial to humans.

  83. What’s the Social Cost of Alcohol?
    What’s the Social Cost of Tobacco?
    What’s the Social Cost of Failing to Educate Girls?
    What’s the Social Cost of Porn?
    What’s the Social Cost of Racism?
    There is a paper by Samer Abdelnour debunking the “improved stoves given to refugee women reduces the chance they will be raped” myth. He observes that in the West, the “technologization of social pathologies” – reframing the problem to give the impression that ‘hardware’ solves social problems, send money. It is used as a way to avoid dealing with real problems and as a fundraising technique.
    It seems this ‘social cost of carbon’ is exactly the same: pay money and avoid blah-blah-blah and if you don’t you are guilty, guilty I tell you, of causing this needless suffering that would be avoided if you were not such a despicable penny pincher.
    This is extortion, and it works (in some cultures). It is not really a matter of placing a material, monetary value on the damage, it is a matter of selling the guilt as a method of fundraising and influence peddling. In both cases, the funds will be more and the influence greater than the peddlers would ever get by normal, rational, cost/benefit competitive processes.
    I have concluded that CAGW is like shouting, “Fire!” in a crowded theater, blocking the exit with a counter and till, then charging money to leave the premises.
    This article announces a planned rise in the price of a guilt-assuaging Exit Ticket. Buy (into it) now to avoid disappointment!

    • Crispin in Waterloo but really in Ulaanbaatar
      January 13, 2015 at 5:40 pm
      “There is a paper by Samer Abdelnour debunking the “improved stoves given to refugee women reduces the chance they will be raped” myth.”
      Does giving improved stoves to refugee men reduce the chance they rape a woman in the land of their refuge as well?

  84. Crispin says:
    …CAGW is like shouting, “Fire!” in a crowded theater, blocking the exit with a counter and till, then charging money to leave the premises.
    Excellent alalogy! What’s more, they are falsely shouting “Fire!!”

    • dbstealey
      I have been working on this analogy for a while. It works on many levels.
      When people at the back of the line start protesting that there is no fire as far as they can see (after all they have been standing in line for 17 years) the gate keepers claim they have a smoke detector and it clearly shows there is smoke therefore there is a fire and everyone will get burned up if out, now. Some grumble about whether or not there really is a smoke detector that can detect undetectable smoke and how effective it might be as no one has smelled anything during the wait. The reply comes that the smoke has actually been predicted by a computer model based on an algorithm that the gatekeepers have all agreed predicts smoke and therefore fire and therefore calamity. Asked to see the programme, they replied, “It is proprietary and you would only try to find something wrong with it. In any case you know nothing about smoke. We are professionals, trust us.”
      When the people in line protest about the cost of leaving, they are reminded that not paying will mean their children and grandchildren will suffer terribly if everyone dies in the fire.
      When some patrons give up and return to their seats to watch the movie, they are insulted by the gatekeepers as being so totally crazy that “they will not even act to save themselves from a burning theater.”
      In the meantime the gatekeepers have been talking up the benefits of fleeing and raised the exit price by a factor of $220/$37 = 5.95.

  85. I am more concerned over the social cost of the tax payer wealth that the greenies squander on these “studies”. What is the social damage caused by indoctrinating our children with such nonsense? Also, more than 230 of us have spent some of our valuable time to comment on this drivel. What is the social cot of that?

    • …..”more than 230 of us have spent some of our valuable time to comment on this drivel.”
      Who made it happen ??
      I don’t want to keep harping on this, but it is our “host” Anthony Watts, that lets us comment on this drivel.
      You think your time is valuable ? Try running this website.

  86. I don’t want to hear anything about the social costs of carbon unless they also discuss the social benefits of carbon. I’m sure that the social benefits of carbon are multiple times the costs. You really can’t do a cost-benefit analysis if you only do the cost part.

    • No carbon no life no society , hows that for the social benefits of carbon
      sSill it would be fun if we could get these ‘researches’ to sign up to a real ‘zero carbon ‘ lifestyle , sadly a rather short and for them terminal fun, but if your ‘saving the planet ‘ how can any price be to high .

  87. Human beings produce 15kg of CO2 per month just by breathing normally. With the estimated cost in this article of $220 per ton of CO2, that means that we will soon be taxed worldwide 3,3$ a month per person, just for the right to breathe. Prepare your wallets.

  88. It’s quite an irony. People who call themselves green demonize the very thing that makes the world green.
    This study has got it the wrong way round. Increased CO2 is an enormous benefit. It’s the mad attempts by governments around the world to massively cut CO2 emissions that will cost the earth. Oh, yes, and it will achieve precisely nothing, except more human misery.

  89. The complexity of the model is exponentially correlated to the enormity of the lies it can generate…………

  90. More evidence – as if we needed any – that social cost of carbon analysis is computer-aided sophistry. By fiddling with non-validated climate parameters, made-up damage functions, and below-market discount rates, SCC analysts can make fossil fuels look unaffordable no matter how cheap and renewable energy look like a bargain at any price.

  91. I like that they call their model DICE.
    Maybe, in the interest of a more convincing “science” communication, they should consider calling it “SERIOUSLYDUDE” or something similar that doesn’t betray its nature.

  92. When you consider the fact that carbon is the base of all life on Earth; and before the industrial revolution, atmospheric carbon dioxide was at an historically low level; you might say that moden humans have rescued the planet from near death. By releasing a very small percentage of the carbon that would have been locked up in sedimentary rocks for eons, humans have managed to increase atmospheric carbon dioxide from an anemic 280 ppm to a slightly more healthy 400 ppm. For life forms that depend on an ample supply of carbon that can only be a good thing.

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