See the cost to America of damage from climate change in the 21st century

By Larry Kummer. From the Fabius Maximus website.

Summary: Another peer-reviewed paper predicting disaster from climate change by misrepresenting and exaggerating the science. We can still learn much from it.

Estimating economic damage from climate change in the United States

By Solomon Hsiang et al in Science, 3 June 2017.

“Estimates of climate change damage are central to the design of climate policies. Here, we develop a flexible architecture for computing damages that integrates climate science, econometric analyses, and process models. We use this approach to construct spatially explicit, probabilistic, and empirically derived estimates of economic damage in the United States from climate change.

We start with the abstract, dry language for bombshell conclusions. Then we examine the assumptions and conclusions that mainstream journalists gloss over.

“The combined value of market and nonmarket damage across analyzed sectors — agriculture, crime, coastal storms, energy, human mortality, and labor — increases quadratically in global mean temperature, costing roughly 1.2% of gross domestic product per +1°C on average. Importantly, risk is distributed unequally across locations, generating a large transfer of value northward and westward that increases economic inequality. By the late 21st century, the poorest third of counties are projected to experience damages between 2 and 20% of county income (90% chance) under business-as-usual emissions (Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5).”

The press coverage was enthusiastic, even fawning. Reading closely brings out some odd aspects of the reporting. For example, Seth Borenstein’s AP story gave a quote demonstrating a rule about climate change stories: omitted factors can only make the effect of warming worse, never less. This is a subset of the master narrative for news articles about climate change: its effects are only bad. Good effects, such improved plant activity from fertilization by higher CO2 levels, must be ignored.

“Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann called it ‘a fascinating and ambitious study.’ But because many extreme weather factors weren’t or can’t yet be calculated, he said the study ‘can at best only provide a very lower limit on the extent of damages likely to result from projected climate changes.'”

Another rule in the master narrative: the only true experts are those writing about extreme adverse effects of warming. No matter how eminent, anyone speaking otherwise is bogus.

“For a quarter century, economists have made (lame) assumptions on climate damages. The adults have entered the room.”

Tweet by Gernot Wagner, economist at Harvard and the Environmental Defense Fund (bio here).

But the more interesting aspects of the paper are its description of RCP8.5 as a “business as usual” scenario — and the reactions of some scientists to its methodology and conclusions.

The big lie

This is another in the long series of papers I’ve documented that are Manufacturing climate nightmares: misusing science to create horrific predictions. What a disgrace that statements like these in this paper survive peer review in a major journal (red emphasis added).

“…business-as-usual emissions (Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5).”

“Figure 2 and fig. S2 display the median average impact during the period 2080 to 2099 due to climate changes in RCP8.5, a trajectory consistent with fossil-fuel–intensive economic growth, for each county.”

The latter statement is scientific-sounding nonsense. The RCP8.5 scenario is also consistent with our sun going nova. That is not a useful description of the worst-case scenario given in AR5.

The description of RCP8.5 as “business as usual” is a common misrepresentation. RCP8.5. is the worst-case of the four scenarios used in the IPCC’s AR5 report. Neither AR5 nor the paper describing RCP8.5 call it a “business as usual” scenario, because it is not (correction: Riahi 2011 calls it a “conservative business as usual case”). Such a scenario would assume continuation of existing trends through 2100. A worst-case scenario assumes trends change for the worse. RCP8.5 assumes population growth at the 90th percentile of the probability forecast for 2100 (i.e., not considering real-world factors) and near-stagnation of technological progress.

  • The almost universal trend of falling fertility with development makes the former unlikely. People assumed that a fundamentalist Islamic theocracy would keep Iran’s fertility high. It was 7 in 1960 and still 6.5 in 1982. By 2014 it had fallen to 1.7 — below replacement level.
  • The irresistible tide of technological progress makes the latter unlikely. In RCP8.5 coal is the fuel of the late 21st century. The major car companies are rolling out mass production of electric cars. Solar is cheaper than coal in India. “Grid parity” is the key, when the cost of new solar or wind generations equals that of fossil fuels. According to the World Economic Forum “more than 30 countries have already reached grid parity without subsidies, and around two-thirds of the world should reach grid parity in the next couple of years.”

See this for more about the unlikely RCP8.5 scenario. See this for the long history of misrepresenting RCP8.5.


Some scientists look at the paper

Richard Tol, professor of economics at U Sussex, gave a brief critique of the paper to the Daily Caller.

“There are two problems with this paper,” Tol told the Daily Caller News Foundation. … “First, except for energy demand, these are impacts of weather variability rather than climate change,” Tol said. “The key difference is that weather shocks are unexpected, but climate change is not.” “People would therefore adjust their behavior in response to climate change but not in response to weather shocks,” Tol said. …A hurricane can form and hit land relatively quickly, and will happen regardless of whether or not there’s man-made warming. Climate change would be slow relative to the pace of the economy. If the climate continues unabated warming from now through 2099, people would, for example, plant different crops, Tol said. …

“Second, they study the effect of future climate change on the economy of the recent past,” Tol said. “They find that the currently poor are more vulnerable, but the currently poor would be lot richer in the future when climate change hits them.”

“And of course we have an economics paper published in a non-economics journal.”

Marshall Burke (asst prof of earth system science at Stanford) provided some context for the paper’s findings to Axios:

“Poor counties in the U.S. will be harder hit, mainly because they are already hot. Whether we should think of climate change as a ‘transfer’ of wealth is less clear to me, though, and it is also less clear that even if we want to use ‘transfer’ in the way they are using it, that this would be the biggest transfer in U.S. history. For instance, I think it’s correct that the differential growth in incomes between the poorest 20% of U.S. household and the richest 1% has been a lot bigger over the last 20 years than the effects they find here.”

Roger Pielke Jr. (environmental studies program, U CO-Boulder) provided this comment to Seth Borenstein of the AP (who, of course, quoted only those making alarming statements).

“I point you to this paper’s bottom line conclusion (which is similar to Stern’s): “Our market estimates are for a 1.0 to 3.0% loss of annual national average GDP under RCP8.5 at the end of the century.” US GDP in 2015 was ~$18 trillion. In 2100 at 2% annual GDP growth it will be ~$97 trillion. Under the scenario presented in this paper it will be $94 trillion.

“Thus, this paper confirms what past studies have already told us – climate change is real and, under various assumptions for how the future will play out, may indeed have meaningful economic impacts. On the one hand, 3% of 2100 GDP is a big number, on the other hand under this same scenario, GDP is still expected to increase by >500%.

“As the paper notes correctly, future climate impacts will take place in a world where we have many choices in how to mitigate and how to adapt, which can make the future better or worse. Those decisions matter. Studies like this should tell us clearly that uncertain projections of distant damage are unlikely to be a strong motivation for policy change today. The costs and benefits of climate policy need to become aligned on timescales of politics, not centuries. We should stop trying to use apocalyptic scenarios to scare people – the science doesn’t support it and it doesn’t work anyway.”

Roger Pielke Sr. (bio) repeatedly points to the elephant in the room about these papers — the ignored assumption that climate models’ predictions about global climate (when fed accurate predictions about emissions) are a sufficiently skillful basis for public policy — and that downscaling these models produces regional forecasts also useful for making public policy. There is little evidence of either. See here for a discussion of the literature about model validation (see the end section here for links to the literature). He says there is even less evidence for their skill at regional levels. He reviewed the literature validating regional downsizing five years ago, and relatively little progress has been made since then.

Matthew E. Kahn, Professor of Economics at USC, writes about this paper’s methodological weakness in “Climate Change Adaptation Economics Must Confront the Lucas Critique.” This brief excerpt describes but can not explain his analysis. Links to Wikipedia added.

“{The authors} predict future economic outcomes under the assumption that the historical correlation between weather and economic outcomes persists into the future. This bold writing violates the Lucas Critique. Robert Lucas is one of the University of Chicago’s greatest economists. I was not one of his greatest students but I learned from him that as the “Rules of the Game” change that forward looking decision makers re-optimize. He studied this issue in the context of government counter-cyclical macro policy (i.e tax cuts during recessions) but the same point applies in the case of climate change. …

“As these changes takes place {adaption and mitigation}, the historical correlations between climate and economic losses are attenuated. This is why I don’t have much confidence in the predictions reported in the new Science Paper. …”

Watch the world burn


“We don’t even plan for the past.”

— Steven Mosher (member of Berkeley Earth; bio here), a comment posted at Climate Etc.

Anthropogenic climate change is real and a serious problem. But the campaign to warn the public has been incompetently done, failing to provide the transparency and level of evidence proportional to the magnitude of the solutions proposed (details here). This paper adds to two decades of examples. The politicization of science has helped neither the processes of science or politics. The result has left America vulnerable to even the inevitable repeat of past weather, let alone future climate change.

But it is not too late to restart the debate. We can end the climate policy wars: demand a test of the models!

For More Information

For more information about this vital issue see the posts about the RCPs, about the keys to understanding climate change and these posts about the politics of climate change…

  1. Important: climate scientists can restart the climate change debate – & win.
  2. We can end the climate policy wars: demand a test of the models.
  3. About RCP8.5: Is our certain fate a coal-burning climate apocalypse? No!
  4. Manufacturing climate nightmares: misusing science to create horrific predictions.
  5. Ignoring science to convince the public that we’re doomed by climate change.
  6. Stratfor gives us good news, showing when renewables will replace fossil fuels.
  7. Good news for the New Year! Salon explains that the global climate emergency is over.

110 thoughts on “See the cost to America of damage from climate change in the 21st century

  1. Anthropogenic climate change is real and a serious problem……
    uh well………
    By all rights it’s perfectly natural and normal…..we’ve already been doing it for thousands of years

  2. RCP 8.5 is a scare scenario, not a “business as usual” scenario. It belongs with the writings of Paul Ehrich and John Holdren in the class of horror stories for those tired of vampires and zombies, with about as much attention to reality.

      • I disagree. Risk management certainly requires a worst-case scenario but that scenario needs to be rooted to some extent in reality. And the reality is that the most extreme projections of climate science cannot come about by man’s actions on a planet with a surface 75% water.
        Atmospheric physics won’t permit it and the undisputed aspects of the science tell us that RCP8.5 is impossible because it would require burning of all the world’s fossil fuels by the end of the century.
        Risk assessment is supposed to be based on reality not on myth.

  3. “For a quarter century, economists have made (lame) assumptions on climate damages. The adults have entered the room.”
    — Tweet by Gernot Wagner, economist

    Of all the experts, economists are probably the most discredited. link
    Clearly Gernot Wagner is one of the worst sort, a hedgehog. Such experts have a simple, clear, wrong answer for everything.
    Here’s a maxim this person should take to heart, but won’t: It’s better to be silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt. link

    • The only thing less reliable than an economist’s prediction is a consensus prediction from a group of economists.

  4. The sad fact is that, while Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change Alarmists rank high on the list mass murderers and thieves in world history, none of them, not even the ring leaders and capi di tutti capi like Hansen, Jones, Mann, Schmidt, Trenberth and Overpeck, will ever be held accountable for the tens of millions of death they’ve caused and tens of trillions of dollars they’ve stolen and caused to be squandered.

    • So far, the CACA cr!minals rank ahead of Pol Pot but behind Stalin, Mao, H!tler, Hirohito and especially Rachel Carson on the all-time genocidal mass murderer charts, but where they really stand out is, like Carson, as enemies of all humanity, not just certain ethnic or religious groups or rich farmers, ie the most productive members of society, who must therefore die.

      • I see you been to Breitbartipedia. What a wealth of fair, balanced, well-researched, peer-reviewed data.

      • National Geographic, “About 3.5 million people, mainly women and children, die each year from respiratory illness due to harmful indoor air pollution from wood and biomass cookstoves. due to energy poverty.
        That number doesn’t include people who die from polluted water, especially polluted with enteric bacteria.
        World Health Organization, “An estimated 12.6 million deaths each year are attributable to unhealthy environments,” most of which would be prevented with adequate access to electricity.
        Electricity readily available using the very fossil fuels climate scientists such as Michael Mann, and green NGOs with their agents embedded in government, work so hard to constrain and eliminate. After all, we need to spend 10s of billions a year to prevent catastrophic global warming.
        Let’s see: 3.5 million/year * 30 years = 105 million people dead from fuel poverty since 1987, the year Jim Hansen went global warming big-time.
        How is Gabro wrong? Evidence seems to show he understated the case.

      • Everyone needs to know that tony mcleod’s opinion is a better source of factual data about death and disease than National Geographic or the World Health Organization.
        Everyone should all also know that tony’s unsubstantiated opinionizing is a fully objective review of science.
        Isn’t that right, tony.

      • Tony, can you point us to the articles on Breitbartipedia that you are referring to. If you can’t then what you said is just a smear. As worthless as what you are accusing Gabro of.

      • I Came I Saw I Left
        Tony, can you point us to the articles on Breitbartipedia that you are referring to. If you can’t then what you said is just a smear. As worthless as what you are accusing Gabro of.
        A thousand pardons for almost smearing and so close perilously close to being worthless.
        You, ah, could have googled it yourself with a couple of clicks, but I suppose it must have been easier for you just to be churlish.

      • So Tony, are you saying that over the period specified, millions of people didn’t die from malaria and other insect-borne diseases?
        Or are you claiming that DDT didn’t kill said insects?
        Or are you saying that the replacement for DDT was just as good at killing them?
        Or what exactly? Simply saying “that site is political” means nothing. Why is it wrong?

      • So Tony, are you saying that over the period specified, millions of people didn’t die from malaria and other insect-borne diseases?
        Or are you claiming that DDT didn’t kill said insects?
        Or are you saying that the replacement for DDT was just as good at killing them?

        I think he’s saying “it was not my fault”. But truely the ban of DDT (which never happened they say, in which they might be technically right) did cause a lot of fatalities, which the usual suspects deny, since they don’t bear responsibility on opinions they give for free.

    • But give them just ten more years, and they’ll be right up there with mass murdering chart toppers.

  5. AND….wait for it….temperatures actually go down in the real world MUST mean that we start reaping financial rewards – not pay penalties.
    Hmmm…did they cover that possibility I wonder?

  6. Global temperatures appear to be somewhere between the lowest RCP2.6 projection and RCP4.5. Sea level rise is below RCP2.6. Currently no one is really doing anything significant to curb greenhouse gas emissions (“business as usual”) but we’re nowhere close to the ridiculously dire RCP8.5 projection which is the one that is always used for these kinds of studies. I think we can safely call those who use RCP8.5 science deniers.

  7. “Some scientists look at the paper
    Richard Tol, professor of economics at U Sussex, gave a brief critique of the paper to the Daily Caller.
    “There are two problems with this paper,” Tol told the Daily Caller…”
    Hold it right there. Scientist? Told the Daily Caller?
    And you want this stuff to be taken seriously? It’s worse than junk Larry and you should know it.
    Try harder next time.

      • Tony,
        “Tol is a doubt-monger”
        One constant in the climate wars are laypeople playing Pope of Science. It’s done by both sides When you have a high h-index in a field, then folks will pay attention to you declaring who is good or bad in that field! Until then this kind of labeling is treating this as baseball, with people screaming cheers and boos from the bleachers.
        “Should we just cross our fingers?”
        Let’s replay the tape from the conclusions of this post:

        “Anthropogenic climate change is real and a serious problem. But the campaign to warn the public has been incompetently done, failing to provide the transparency and level of evidence proportional to the magnitude of the solutions proposed (details here). This paper adds to two decades of examples.”

        Comments like yours smearing eminent scientists don’t help either.

      • I wonder if Tol endorses this kind of disingenuos confectionary from the GWPF (the very nonsense seen oft repeated in this very echo-chamber btw. I know, just a coincidence):
        Human emissions of carbon dioxide, a transparent, odorless, non-toxic gas, essential for plant growth and contained at about 40,000 parts per million (ppm) in our own breaths. Carbon dioxide has been mercilessly demonized as ‘carbon pollution’, when in fact it is a benefit to the planet.
        From Tol:
        “Climate change is a relatively small problem that can easily be solved”, and
        ““It is pretty damn obvious that there are positive impacts of climate change…”
        Professional doubt-monger Larry. Eminent or not if you lay with dogs, you know what happens.

      • Tony,
        Both of those statements are not just correct, but incontrovertible.
        (1) “Climate change is a relatively small problem that can easily be solved”.
        He is speaking as an economist because he is an economist. Simple public policy changes could put us on any of the mitigation scenarios used in the IPCC AR5. Such as, for example, a combination of sufficiently large carbon taxes and subsidies for non-carbon fuels. To paraphrase Clausewitz: “Everything is very simple in economics, but the simplest thing is difficult in politics.”
        (2) “It is pretty damn obvious that there are positive impacts of climate change…”
        To name one of many, CO2 fertilization. Activists lie about the existence of positive effects. The key policy question is the magnitude of the net (negative) effect of climate change for a given increase in GHG.

      • 1 Transistioning society to an alternative energy source is a “small problem”? Can you name me a bigger one?
        2. Trying to focus on the highly speculative positives is disingenuous.

      • The positives are known, real world observations in hundreds of studies in thousands of experiments in the field. The harms of CO2 are failing to manifest except in failed computer models.

      • Countering the doomsday liars is now doubt mongering.
        McClod, if you didn’t exist, we realists would have to invent you.

      • 1 Transistioning society to an alternative energy source is a “small problem”? Can you name me a bigger one?

        Our children will be killed by ordinary bacteria if we don’t do something to emerging antibiotic resistence. This is a huge and continuing problem that exceeds any plausible DAGW in bad consequences to humanity, and has a high probability of coming true unless we work hard to solve it.

  8. Climate scare is the operative “business as usual” here. It’s been the dominant, indeed the only, climate-relevant business as usual for the past 30 years.
    Climate scare is what makes RCP 8.5 the business as usual instrumentality. RCP 8.5 is the usual business employed to make scary global warming fairy tales seem credible.
    The beat goes on. No matter what. No matter the contrary evidence, no matter the failed predictions, the narrative is never broken.
    Hence the paper in Science Magazine, fake scientists using fake models to make fake predictions about fake disasters, to be touted by ethically corrupted (i.e., fake) reporters.
    Maybe we should call the propensity to make repeatedly failed predictions of disaster the Paul Ehrlich Syndrome (failed ecodoom predictions).
    No matter how events develop to disprove your predictions, repeatedly update the disasters and predict them again.
    You’ll always find prejudiced reporters and editors, and news outlets, eager advocate sensationalist nonsense to an audience willing (or desiring) to believe sensationalist nonsense.

      • oh my… a poof looking for some Rs…
        but seriously- why would you troll pat frank? he’s always been a very sensible person in the years he’s been posting here. he’s too smart to be good sport. i can recommend some properly entertaining targets if you are after the lulz.

      • It’s a partial CV, Martin. Pretty fatuous of you to have not figured that out.
        It’s easy enough to check Google Scholar. All the citations to nitrogenase, vanadium, sulfur, and copper on those pages are my publications with coauthors. So is the book chapter on chemical biogenesis on search page 5.
        You’ll notice the titles listed at my LinkedIn page match papers found by Google Scholar. Guess what that means.
        My public page at Stanford.
        All obviously and readily available. Wonder how you managed to not find them. You *did* look, didn’t you, Martin, before posting your skeptical dismissal. Didn’t you.
        Or perhaps you didn’t. Just trying to bluster your way out of your obvious failure, are you? Avoiding the embarrassment of refuting yourself if you actually did proper due diligence, and all that? Not intellectually honest, though, is it.
        The only fake left in evidence, Martin, is your fake skepticism.
        I’ll grant you your fatuousness. That’s real.

  9. It always surprises me that more people don’t pay attention to the fact that RCP8.5 assumes rapid economic growth resulting from ample, low-cost energy. It is a scenario that assumes rapid global economic growth over a 100 year horizon. If such growth really materializes, the world will be much richer and even countries that are poor today will able to afford measures to address climate change, whatever that cause.

  10. @moderators
    This item above was not lodged by me:
    “Martin Clark
    July 6, 2017 at 7:15 pm
    +100 Tony !!! ”
    Looks like the fraudster who did this before is back again, probably because Anthony is away.
    Like the banned drunk who comes back when the hotel changes hands ?

    • And three more.
      Definitely the same ar$eh0le as before …
      Reply: Really weird. He has the same email address as you. Which is hidden. Are you sure you’re not drunk posting or your account hasn’t been hacked? The comment is from a different IP address. You might want to change your wordpress password.~ctm

    • @moderators / ctm
      “Reply: Really weird. He has the same email address as you. Which is hidden.”
      That’s a bit contradictory 🙂 If it’s hidden how come you can see it?
      You can email me at [snip] “Are you sure you’re not drunk posting”
      no I don’t drink
      “your account hasn’t been hacked?”
      “The comment is from a different IP address.”
      I think that is what he/she/it is spoofing. Anyway, you can do a whois on my website, It is hosted here in Queensland.
      ” You might want to change your wordpress password.~ctm”
      I don’t think I have a wordpress account or password. on or

  11. The IPCC AR5 discusses the BAU issue in its Glossary. It is a useful read in light of the way the term gets represented in these more modern times:
    The baseline (or reference) is the state against which change is measured. A baseline period is the period relative to which anomalies are computed. In the context of transformation pathways, the term baseline scenarios refers to scenarios that are based on the assumption that no mitigation policies or measures will be implemented beyond those that are already in force and/or are legislated or planned to be adopted. Baseline scenarios are not intended to be predictions of the future, but rather counterfactual constructions that can serve to highlight the level of emissions that would occur without further policy effort. Typically, baseline scenarios are then compared to mitigation scenarios that are constructed to meet different goals for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, atmospheric concentrations or temperature change. The term baseline scenario is used interchangeably with reference scenario and no policy scenario. In much of the literature the term is also synonymous with the term business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, although the term BAU has fallen out of favour because the idea of business as usual in century-long socio-economic projections is hard to fathom.

    So the status of a ‘conservative BAU scenario’ is pretty clear cut in IPCC AR5 speak, and definitely not as others now try to suggest.

    • HAS,
      I doubt anyone disagrees with that definition of a baseline scenario.But that definition implicitly assumes that other trends are assumed to remain the same.
      It’s not a baseline scenario if it assumes no mitigation but that a nuclear war happens in 2018, or someone builds a commercially practical fusion power plant — or, in the case of RCP8.5, rapid population growth and a slowdown in technological progress.

      • I suspect we are talking at cross purposes. My point is that current attempts to represent RCP8.5 as what is likely to happen is inconsistent with the way AR5 WG1 (not to mention Riahi) describe it, even without looking under the bonnet to the inner workings.
        However I fear however you are wrong when you say AR5 doesn’t refer to RCP8.5 and BAU in the same breath. For example look at chpt 6 WG2. Even the ‘conservative’ tag has been lost.

      • HAS,
        Thank you for the explanation! I got it now.
        Also thank you for the correction. When I say IPCC AR5 I mean “WGI” — but, as you remind us, that is not correct. There all the other WGs. IMO they produce often shoddy analysis, relying on grey lit and other weak sources. But they are part of AR5.
        I’ll be more precise in the future!

  12. “We can end the climate policy wars: demand a test of the models!”
    But the models have been tested, and by any reasonable scientific standard, they have failed. The test began as soon as the model projections were published. They continue to be tested with each passing day. The more time passes, the more ‘wrong’ they become.
    It doesn’t matter.
    For those vested in the looming catastrophe, there is no way for the AGW Theory to be incorrect. They have been creating excuses for the models all along and will likely continue to do so. The latest excuse appeared on WUWT just 11 hours ago: After maintaining that natural variability is small, so late 20th Centrury warming must be man-made, they then argue that natural long-term cycles are big and are suppressing the warming rate through the early 20th Century. They argue that when this undefined cycle comes round to its warming phase, we are all doomed!
    While the models are diverging from reality, the warmists argue that the models are still correct and that reality will catch up in the years ahead. This is not science. It is faith based advocacy. That advocacy applies to all sides of the issue, including what we should do about it. We should stop burning fossil fuels immediately, and we do that by putting a draconian tax on them, making them too expensive to use.
    For the warmist, there is no ‘science’ that can undo their faith in AGW. Their is no alternative solution to the perceived problem of global warming other than a tax on carbon emissions. This is not a debate over science or policy. This is about one group trying to seize power and control from the masses, and another group trying to prevent that from happening.
    If one finds out that they are about to be scammed, they don’t approach the scammer and try to negotiate the rate at which they will be scammed. That would be nuts! Instead, one would simply refuse to participate in the scam, warn all their friends and gather evidence for the cops.

    • jclarke,
      “But the models have been tested, and by any reasonable scientific standard, they have failed. ”
      Can you cite a statistical analysis showing that? That is, that observations are outside the 95% confidence range of an ensemble of models for a statistically significant period of time?
      Something peer-reviewed.

      • Pat,
        ” is a false standard”
        Reliability of information sources is not a binary quantity. Heaven doesn’t publish scientific journals, so there are no perfect sources. The question is what are the best sources we have, along the scale. Today that means the major peer-reviewed journals.
        As everybody should know by now, that means that p-r papers on a subject over time provide a moderately reliable picture of the current state of knowledge. Individual papers are just dots of knowledge, but still more reliable than most “grey literature” — which is considered delightful by people only to the degree it agrees with their prior beliefs. That is, it’s useful communication among researchers, but less so for this kind of discussion among laypeople.

      • Editor –
        “Can you cite a statistical analysis showing that? That is,that observations are outside the 95% confidence range of an ensemble of models for a statistically significant period of time?”
        You won’t ever see a respectable journal publish a paper like the one you describe. Any attempt to present the results of “an ensemble of models” would be rejected outright as a (statistically) invalid metric. I’ve made a few attempts on these very pages to point this out to people who’ve suggested doing it, I’ll repeat myself here.
        The idea behind repeated measures of the same thing is based on the “Law of Large Numbers”, which tells us that a sufficiently large sample of measurements taken of the same process will, when the measurements taken have a normally distributed error, tend towards the true value when those measurements are averaged. This is to say that the average, or “mean” value will represent the true value with increasing accuracy and precision as the number of measures taken increases.
        This is only true when the measures taken all come from the same “thing”, process or event. It is not at all true, and completely invalid, to “average” multiple measures of different things. You can’t develop a meaningful (literally) measure of any quantified aspect of a “fish” by averaging measures from a random sample of fish; it is literally “meaningless”. Imagine combining measures of smelt with measures of a whale shark, then publishing the “average” result. No matter how many measures (samples) you make, the precision and accuracy of your metric will not be improved. This may be counter to the understanding of most people, but it’s intuitively obvious once an example is given.
        Such is the case with “ensemble” measures of climate models; they aren’t repeated measures of the same thing, instead they’re just single measures of many different things. There’s no improvement in accuracy or precision possible, though many authors have made attempts to perform that disingenuous analysis. There’s no such thing as a 95% confidence limit even possible for such a metric. That this claim has been made repeatedly by authors publishing in the field of climate research and modeling, and that those claims have gone unchallenged by editors and referees in that field, speaks volumes about the participant’s lack of qualification to produce mathematical models.
        In short, you will never see this sort of finding published in any journal involved in contemporary climate modeling research, just as you won’t see a frank admission that it is mathematically impossible to uniquely solve a system of partial differential equations (the Navier-Stokes problem). They simply will never admit it because it completely invalidates the “science” of climate modeling right out of the starting gate.
        Even shorter; it ain’t never gonna happen.

      • You are making my point, Mr. Kummer. A ‘significant period of time’ is used as a ‘get out of jail free’ card. Every time we reach that goal post. the goal is moved back. And what is an ‘ensemble of models’? Who picks the models? Who picks the confidence range for an ensemble? And Mr. Frank is spot on when he points out that peer-review is a false standard in a time of corrupted review.
        All of your requirements create enough wiggle room to defend any theory of climate, no matter how ridiculous or inaccurate, for a very long time. But it is more twisted than that. Your request is that I disprove the AGW theory; that I present the evidence it is wrong. That is not my responsibility, nor is it the responsibility of anyone skeptical of the magnitude of AGW. It is the responsibility of those promoting the theory to prove to everyone else that the theory is accurate! It is their responsibility to define how they will do that, and specify the observations that will prove or disprove their theory. Have they done that? Absolutely not! Most peer-reviewed climate papers these days start with the assumption that the theory is correct. From there, they either speculate about how terrible the future will be, or they make excuses about why their data does not fit with the projections of the theory. These papers, all peer-reviewed, have more in common with a virtual reality game than science.
        For 30 years I have waited to see the skill of the AGW theory. I have waited for the temperatures to warm as quickly as they projected. It hasn’t happened. I have waited for a tropical upper-tropospheric hot spot. It hasn’t happened. I have waited for strong evidence of a highly positive water-vapor feedback. It hasn’t happened. I have waited for Antarctica to warm faster than the lower latitudes. It hasn’t happened. I have waited for an increase in severe weather events. It hasn’t happened. I have waited for rapidly accelerating sea level rise. It hasn’t happened. I have waited for climate refugees. There aren’t any. I have waited for deserts to expand. The opposite is happening. I have waited for Polar Bears to dwindle in number. The opposite is happening.
        The point is that supporters of the AGW theory haven’t remotely proven their case with demonstrations of scientific skill. On the contrary,their skill seems to be in getting grants, demonizing anyone who questions them, manipulating data and cherry picking to support their desired results, circling the wagons, fear-mongering and most importantly, making excuses (the oceans ate my homework)!
        The child in the following story did not need a statistical analysis to reach his conclusion. Nor did he seek out peer review, which would have scolded him and called him stupid. He simply pointed out the obvious. I am simply pointing out the obvious: the models have no skill!
        “The Emperor’s New Clothes” (Danish: Kejserens nye Klæder) is a short tale written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, about two weavers who promise an emperor a new suit of clothes that they say is invisible to those who are unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. When the emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, no one dares to say that they don’t see any suit of clothes on him for fear that they will be seen as “unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent”. Finally, a child cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!”

      • Tsk Tsk,
        Thank you for giving an answer to my question, citing a relevant paper!
        Let’s replay the tape to see the question: “That is, that observations are outside the 95% confidence range of an ensemble of models for a statistically significant period of time?”
        What in that paper answers this question? Do the authors make any claim like that? What is the confidence range of the CIMP5 models? What are the significance of the forecast errors found over the 15 and 20 year ranges examined?
        The models are tools, not magic balls. It’s not like predicting the results of spin of the roulette wheel.

      • Goal posts go WHOOOOOOSH!!!!!
        Nice try at weaseling your way out, Larry, but you’ve been presented with what you requested. Put up or shut up. Where on the scale of real numbers lies the value “significant?”

      • Editor; BTW, it’s exactly like predicting the spin of a roulette wheel. Exactly.
        I suggest further study of statistics, probability and the proper construction of mathematical models based on statistical/probibalistic methods?

      • Tsk Tsk,
        Now you know why I didn’t bother answering Mr. Kummers question directly. Someone who puts up hoops for you to jump through before he will listen to what you are saying, often has an infinite supply of such hoops. And the hoops really are irrelevant. The question is simple. Has the AGW theory (and the models built from it) shown skill in predicting future states of the Earth’s atmosphere? The answer is clearly ‘no’. The models have been tested and they have failed.
        It is interesting that the peer-reviewed paper you sighted about the overestimation of global warming over the last 20 years says this: “Recent observed global warming is significantly less than that simulated by climate models. This difference might be explained by some combination of errors in external forcing, model response and internal climate variability.” If this was real science, the statement would read: “Recent observed global warming is significantly less than that simulated by climate models. The most likely cause is that the models, and the theory the models are built on, are incorrect. Natural internal variability may be playing a role, but if that is true, than the conclusion of the IPCC that most of the warming of the last 50 years has been caused by humans, is falsified.”
        The original statement is clearly designed to protect the paradigm. My rewrite is a rational conclusion, a fact-based statement, with no emotional or financial attachment to any outcome. If the model does not fit the observations, the model is wrong. How wrong? That is unknown exactly, but the evidence indicates that it is at least twice as sensitive to increasing CO2 as the real atmosphere. Until the mainstream climate community begins to acknowledge that their theory has been shown wanting and is in need of adjustment, they are not being scientific.

      • Kummer, “that means that p-r papers
        Not in climate so-called science, it doesn’t.

  13. “For a quarter century, economists have made (lame) assumptions on climate damages. The adults have entered the room.”
    — Tweet by Gernot Wagner, economist
    The only sensical thing that lame economist has said.
    Trump team has indeed entered the room.

  14. What is the damage from worsening weather and sea level change? As Science of Doom has checked out the damage hasn`t changed over the last 100 years. Activist predictions have got it quite wrong. IPPC has got it quite wrong. So the safest prediction is that damage will not cost more than before for the next century, but uncertainty is great. SoD: “The last century has seen no clear globally averaged change in floods, droughts or storms – as best as we can tell with very incomplete observing systems. Of course, some regions have definitely seen more, and some regions have definitely seen less. Whether this is different from the period from 1800-1900 or from 1700-1800 no one knows. Perhaps floods, droughts and tropical storms increased globally from 1700-1900. Perhaps they decreased. Perhaps the last 100 years have seen more variability. Perhaps not.” “I did a Google search on “Climate change is already causing worsening storms, floods and droughts”. It looks like the IPCC position is an extreme outlier. There would understandably be riots if they were to take on any kind of government position responsible for dealing with climate change.”

  15. The average temperature of Maine is 7.55C and that of Florida is 19.8C yet both have about the same per capita gross domestic product of $39K per year. The average New York State temperature is near the middle at 12.85C but the state per capita GDP is about $64K. Hard to see any climate pattern there.

  16. ‘Here, we develop a flexible architecture for computing damages that integrates climate science, econometric analyses, and process models. We use this approach to construct spatially explicit, probabilistic, and empirically derived estimates of economic damage in the United States from climate change.’
    No need to read further. This academic speak for “what follows is BS.”

  17. Snake oil is good for a hangover but once again bad for your liver. I’ll drop my dollars down for a bottle of CAGW when the models and observations agree. Obamacare notwithstanding, you can’t force me to buy it.

  18. The biggest threats from a warmer planet are from excessive rain events because the atmosphere holds more moisture and increasing sea levels from melting land ice.
    Many types of extreme weather will continue to decrease because the meridional temperature gradient is less when the highest latitudes warm the most.
    Agricultural productivity is rewarding us with trillions because of crop fertilization. The law of photosynthesis has not been repealed.
    Much of life on this planet prefers these temperatures to a bit warmer yet and all of it will benefit from much more atmospheric CO2. Just ask the planet, it’s speaks volumes by greening up so much.
    The weather/climate and CO2 levels for most life on earth over the past 40 years has featured the best conditions since at least the Medieval Warm Period.

  19. Have they done a study on the damage Climate Change legislation/action/activism has done?
    THAT would probably produce some interesting numbers.

  20. Larry Larry Larry . .
    “Anthropogenic climate change is real and a serious problem.”
    When you make such a flat statement of fact, as though you are infallible, you force me to discount your opinion(s) . . To me (nobody special), it is a form of self de-legitimization to stretch this;
    *I believe Anthropogenic climate change is real and a serious problem* . .
    … into a flat statement of fact that it is so, as you did. To treat you as if you are an infallible godlike being is simply not a rational option for me . . (I grew up ; )
    When I see someone speak as you did there, I must ask myself; Does this person truly grasp the difference between knowing something is true, such as when one observes something clearly in reality-land, and believing something is true, such as when one merely “sees” something in their mind’s eye? (or on CNN ; ) If I can’t rest assured that a speaker does grasp the difference, I can’t rest assured the speaker is capable of sound reasoning.

  21. To the Moderator and Editors –
    You have a destructive Java script loose on your site. I haven’t yet taken the time to identify it. It’s a looping script that causes Firefox 48.0.2 to overheat and destroy the computer veiwing your site. Not a joke. This has been going on for months.
    It’s likely one of your advertisers. The same thing now happens when visiting the Wired and Ars Technica sites. It’s very destructive and it will keep me from continuing to read your content and participate in the resulting discussion. I strongly suggest you look very critically at the advertisers you accept.
    Reply: Anthony’s out for the next couple of months. If you can identify a specific ad that causes the problem, I’ll notify him and see if there’s anything we can do. Please use contact form to contact me as I don’t see every comment. I do occasionally search for mentions of me, so if you any of you really want me to notice a comment make sure to include my TLA handle~ctm (PS indictment seems to be the only common word that confuses that search).

    • Bartleby, you’re Firefox is out of date…Current version is 54.0.1…..Click the HELP icon on your Menubar and it will auto update…

  22. Roger Pielke Jr. is too kind.
    From the extract “The combined value of market and nonmarket damage … costing roughly 1.2% of gross domestic product per +1°C on average.”
    OK, so let’s assume worst case (humour me) that RCP8.5 and this paper are both accurate projections of what happens for the next 80+ years.
    That gives us by some people’s reckoning maybe 6 – 7 degrees of warming by centuries end, costing just under 8.5% of GDP on these calculations. Worst case. Getting on for 3 times worse that the paper itself suggests. Absolute extreme worse case.
    World GDP was a bit low in 2016 at 2.4% (expected by the World Bank to improve this year) but RCP8.5 assumes low income growth in developing countries so let’s halve it and say 1.2%. Even at that constrained rate; all of the threatened cost for the next 80+ years is comfortably met within the first seven. At the absolute outside longest.
    Now compare that to the cost of preventing that growth by constraining energy supplies – especially in developing countries.

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