Aussie ABC: “Are economists globally understating or overstating the cost of climate change?”

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

An almost balanced description of lukewarmer views; I had to check twice to verify this story was actually published on the Aussie ABC website.

Are economists globally understating or overstating the cost of climate change? 

By business reporter Nassim Khadem

In a blog written after the devastating bushfires that swept across his home state of New South Wales, Australian economist Steve Keen states, “I have to admit that I am personally not coping well with climate change”.

Professor Keen says he’s feeling the “same generalised anxiety about the future felt by Greta Thunberg and the young people she’s inspired to strike for the climate”, before criticising the work of William Nordhaus and other neoclassical economists.

“Since policymakers take what economists predict seriously — even after the 2008 financial crisis — they have been duped and have drastically underestimated how severe climate change will actually be,” Professor Keen argues.

William Nordhaus is a renowned American economist whose work modelling the economic impact of climate change earned him the 2018 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

He is not a climate change denialist. His view is that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities will have a negative impact and he’s urged governments globally to implement a carbon tax.

But it’s the extent to which Professor Nordhaus — and other economists who agree with him — predict climate change will impact the economy (and thereby the level of action needed to curb it) that has been the subject of intense debate.

The Paris Agreement goal is to keep global warming this century well below two degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial levels.

At one end of the scale are Professor Nordhaus and Richard Tol.

Tol, a professor of economics at the University of Sussex, has since 1994 been a convening lead author with the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Both Nordhaus and Tol argue that the world can survive a 4°C increase in global average temperature and the economic impact won’t be severe.

They also argue we shouldn’t reduce emissions too quickly, because the economic cost to people today will be higher than the benefit of protecting people in the future.

Professor Nordhaus told ABC News he was not available to comment, but has previously said that “optimal policy” would result in global warming of about 3°C by 2100 and 4°C by 2150.

Read more:

The article also provides a lot of space to arguments that optimistic viewpoints don’t account for predicted tipping points. But, well this is the Aussie ABC – they normally don’t bother presenting both sides of climate arguments.

What about the points raised in the article? I think the short summary is, without tipping points they’ve got nothing. A few degrees warming is like moving a few hundred miles closer to the equator – utterly inconsequential.

How consequential are predictions of dangerous tipping points? The problem with tipping points is they break the math, like a bad infinity inserted into an equation. If you postulate “at this point we all suddenly die”, you can justify anything, no matter how improbable, because the death of the entire world is something to be avoided at all costs.

Except we can’t live this way. There is a huge range of improbable but high impact events which could claim our attention, ranging from lethal global pandemics, extinction level asteroid strikes, nuclear war, an endless list of unlikely ways we might all meet our end. We have nowhere near the resources required to address them all.

And at least one of those events, the risk of a world ending lethal global pandemic, seems a little more real right now than the remote possibility a handful of scary but unverifiable climate model artefacts might actually be an accurate reflection of future reality.

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February 5, 2020 10:28 pm

The true failing of the ABC is not the leftists at the ABC, but the cowardly Morison government. They are supposed to be a conservative party, yet they allow the ABC to continue. Solving the ABC problem is simple. Give them 1 month to fix their bias problem to the point where conservatives agree they are unbiased, or else it will be shut down the next day. If this doesn’t sounds fair to them, consider this – for the past 20 years, leftists have constantly said how “fair and unbiased” the ABC is, while conservatives have complained how utterly left wing it is. Balance means the reverse must now happen. If not, shut it down. And give them no more than 1 month to achieve it.

Reply to  ggm
February 6, 2020 12:00 am

Reality has a left wing bias.

Reply to  Steve45
February 6, 2020 12:48 am


Socialism sounds great. It has always sounded great. And it will probably always continue to sound great. It is only when you go beyond rhetoric, and start looking at hard facts, that socialism turns out to be a big disappointment, if not a disaster. Thomas Sowell

Sowell has laid out the facts in his many books. Time after time, in his many books, he has demonstrated that left wing policies are not supported by facts. Facts do demonstrate that the results are often disastrous.

Reality has a right wing bias, if anything. The publication of The Gulag Archipelago showed the world how morally bankrupt Marxism actually is.

The fact that university education is biased left just means that leftists are really good at BS.

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  commieBob
February 6, 2020 3:01 am

+10 🙂

I remember my late father selling the first volume of “The Gulag Archipelago” in 1974 in his village bookshop. I recently bought the new abridged version which we should encourage all young people to read.

Reply to  Michael in Dublin
February 6, 2020 6:02 am

“Gulag” is one that I’ve felt for years I should read, but have yet to drag myself into. I suppose it’s because I feel like I already know the horrors of communism, and am not sure I want to subject myself to 6,000 pages of it (exaggeration). Still, “Ivan Denisovich” was a good read, so I suppose “Gulag” would be as well.


Reply to  Michael in Dublin
February 6, 2020 7:22 am

Like Michael, I haven’t read Gulag but did read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. I read it when I was younger and it was beneficial to my understanding of the world. I remember it to be short and powerful, something even our current social media generation would possibly get through and could benefit from.

Amazon search get it new for under 3 dollars, used under $1.

Reply to  Michael in Dublin
February 7, 2020 8:26 am

Ripshin, I felt the same way. But it proves to be an engrossing and read. He’s a splendid writer. My only criticism is he could have said it all in half the space. Maybe get an abridged copy/

Komrade Kuma
Reply to  commieBob
February 6, 2020 3:48 am

And university education is of course targeted at the young by their elders. As a lapsed Catholic I remember the ‘Catechism” oropaganda I and my peers were subject to as children, dividing the world into Catholics and “non Catholics”. Some old soame old really.

Reply to  Komrade Kuma
February 6, 2020 10:48 am

Just a couple of days ago I was thinking about my childhood indoctrination into catholicism.

As innocent children, we had no ways of evaluating whether what we were being schooled in was true, or what other considerations might be brought to bear.
And so, we all chanted the dogma.

Is the agw indoctrination of innocents these days any different to what we were subjected to as children?

Will today’s kids reach maturity and decide (as we did) that they were fed a load of bollocks at primary school age?

Reply to  commieBob
February 6, 2020 7:23 am

In theory, there is no difference between practice and theory.
In practice, there is.
Yogi Berra

Gary Pearse
Reply to  commieBob
February 6, 2020 5:42 pm

The left has a huge advantage in a sales pitch. They are going to take the wealth away from the wealthy and give it to the poor.
They are going to nationalize industries and stop their exploitation of the worker.
Everyone will get a free university education and good job. They are going to put an end to extracting fossil fuels to save the environment…..

The left are bound up in zero sum economics (i.e. Malthusian Ec). The rich are rich because they are purloining the worker’s share idea. Nevermind the enormous economic engine that the United States achieved proving that individual freedom to act creates so much weath that the entire world benefits.

The poor in the US are much better off than those in much of the world. And the poor elsewhere in the world get help from the US too.

Why do the Eurocentric pols and the ‘Democrats’ want to bring down the US economy? Because the US makes their moldy manifoldly debunked Marxist system a shoddy option and (deservedly so) hard to promote.

Steve45 is partly right about reality and the left in the sense that it is reality essentially everywhere outside the US, but that doesn’t add up to an endorsement .

Bill Powers
Reply to  Gary Pearse
February 8, 2020 6:32 am

Nobody ever asks the question: Why weren’t people trying to scale the Berlin Wall to get into Eastern Europe? Same reason that people were never trying to swim from Florida to Cuba.

At the rate liberal Progressives are taking over our messaging, thanks to our Public School Systems and Propaganda Press, the day will come when the Socialist Left in the States will be glad that Trump is building a wall. Our only problem will be that, when that day comes, they will use it to keep us in.

Reply to  Steve45
February 6, 2020 1:19 am

Except in actual reality.

People are self-interested, they do care about their own offspring more than the offspring of others and they can be violent.

All as a result of evolution, the ultimate reality.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Phoenix44
February 6, 2020 11:35 am

And of course, humans are so easily corrupted. This is perhaps the primary reason that Socialism always fails.

Reply to  Steve45
February 6, 2020 7:22 am

I’ve never seen any evidence to support that claim.
On the other hand, given the fact that left wing solutions, time and time again, fail utterly …

Reply to  Steve45
February 6, 2020 10:27 am

The opposite is true.

They”..never seem to get around to testing that belief against facts..
The great promise of socialism is something for nothing”

Joel O'Bryan
February 5, 2020 10:50 pm

Basically the UN is operating the climate hustle such that if 1 Billion people from the developed world each sends the UN $100/person by next Friday, and then every year by the first Friday in February there after, they’ll promise to deliver a defense against global extinction from the Wrath of Cthulu. They’ve got Cthulu models to prove this threat is real and certain in the next 80 years. Or is it 12 years?… doesn’t matter. Send money.

Cthulu is out there, trust them. We don’t want to miss out on this or a tipping point will pass and it’ll be too late.

The Climate Scam – It’s all about the money. Always has been. At every level.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 5, 2020 11:15 pm

Money and power. UN are trying to usurp control of global energy policy. If you can dictate energy policy of a country you can control its economy and prosperity. They want to control the entire world population.


Julian Flood
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 6, 2020 12:42 am

Not Cthulu. It’s a giant mutant star-goat.


Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 6, 2020 1:09 am

How about the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM).

Because of its popularity and exposure, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is often used as a contemporary version of Russell’s teapot—an argument that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon those who make unfalsifiable claims, not on those who reject them. Pastafarianism has received praise from the scientific community and criticism from proponents of intelligent design. Pastafarians have engaged in disputes with creationists, including in Polk County, Florida, where they played a role in dissuading the local school board from adopting new rules on teaching evolution.

The left is willing to accept that the burden of proof falls on those making unfalsifiable claims when it suits their purposes. On the other hand, when we’re discussing CAGW, not so much.

J Mac
February 5, 2020 10:50 pm

One should not listen to their irrational fears, nor embrace their negative thoughts, as these lead to bad choices and bad outcomes.

February 5, 2020 11:02 pm

There is no “understating” the costs of “Climate Change”.
Because there is no link between Climate Change” and CO2 concentrations.
Actual climate change has been driven by the way the solar system works.
With variation due to that amount of energy received by the Earth.
Milankovitch has had a good explanation.
That has been enhanced by the cosmic ray and clouds research done over the last decade.
Even the lowest of cost estimates for fixing the climate is absurd.

February 5, 2020 11:11 pm

When they say “climate change”, do they mean natural climate variability….

….. or the unproven farce that is CO2-caused man made-up “Climate Change™” ?

John in Oz
Reply to  fred250
February 6, 2020 2:15 pm

When they say ‘climate change’ they only mean the extremes of weather that are occurring.

On a calm, balmy, comfortable day there is never any mention that CO2 is also responsible for those conditions. It only, very selectively, causes damaging weather.

February 5, 2020 11:22 pm

“In a blog written after the devastating bushfires that swept across his home state of New South Wales, Australian economist Steve Keen states, “I have to admit that I am personally not coping well with climate change”.”

I can see why.
The fires are a horror more horrific than anyone had imagined what with PYROCUMULONIMBUS events and all such that the fire causes tornadoes, thunderstorms, and lightning that lights more fires and the tornadoes blow the fire around. On top of that all that CO2 being emitted will just ramp up the climate change thing in and continue to increase the the ferocity and severity of these fires in a feedback system from hell.

Reply to  chaamjamal
February 6, 2020 4:53 am

sarcasm i hope/
those same areas are now copping the normal(if late) torrential downpours.

the mans NOT coping with losing his home or nice pristine rural weekender maybe?
surrounded by forests untended and a shitload of nice flammable eucys/natives around the house?
from the name hes NOT a native aussie, might be born here of city dweller immigrants?

you notice the older bushliving aussies arent the ones doing the wailing
oh theres a few, theyre the longtime hippy retreater from the 70s it seems NOT bushies. or 4th n 5th gen locals.

Reply to  chaamjamal
February 8, 2020 8:34 am

What is a fire extinguisher filled with? CO2

Global Cooling
February 5, 2020 11:53 pm

Trump had a wonderful idea of Conservative Climate Policies in his State of the Union Address. While it is not clear what he actually means, this meme can dodge the “you don’t care the environment” allegations that are the essence of virtue signaling. We can be virtuous without big government, totalitarian rule, high taxation and tariffs.

Jim Whelan
Reply to  Global Cooling
February 6, 2020 10:12 am

I’ll go further: big government, totalitarian rule, high taxation and tariffs are the opposite of virtuous.

February 5, 2020 11:54 pm

Richard TOL has actually done a good job.
But his model is just a first cut.
To justify any policy, a detailed regional/ city damage benefit analysis is required.
This analysis needs detailed valued of life not simplified life = 200 gdp or 100 gdp

February 6, 2020 12:11 am

I believe there was a French study were one year had a hot than average summer and a colder than average winter. There were additional deaths in both seasons however as the majority of the deceased were elderly with multiple existing conditions the net cost to the health system was negative ( less costs).
The hard reality is if the models value life like current medical institutions the cost of health issues from climate change will actually be a benefit.

Reply to  Waza
February 8, 2020 8:36 am

Waze: agreed, except when you yourself are old. Then not so much.

Julian Flood
February 6, 2020 12:44 am

Not Cthulu. It’s a giant mutant star-goat.


February 6, 2020 12:49 am

Getting rid of the ABC would not only save Australia $1,000,000,000 and over, per year and improve the transmission of radio and television considerably. Getting balanced views from the present ABC is impossible as the whole staff consists of self-picked Leftists and Warmistas.

February 6, 2020 1:24 am

The real point being made here is that debate is an economic and political one, not “science”. Most Alarmists and Alarmist organisations conflate the two and claim that “science” says we must immediately change society and our economies. But science tells us nothing on that issue. It simply tells us what might happen if we do nothing.

Whether we do nothing is a political choice that should be based on economics. I doubt if Greta has even heard of a discount rate, let alone understands what one us, yet she lectures us all that the science tells us we must act. That is simply a lie.

Reply to  Phoenix44
February 6, 2020 1:55 am

Did you miss that lots of universities are churning out graduates with “political science” degrees or “social science” degrees. These guys only get away with such terminology because there is a loose connection within their field with mathematics. And then mostly only with statistics. The social science is settled – using climate change to disrupt the world order is pretty much agreed by most political scientists. This is a game of meaningless words to the vast majority of the sheep. I don’t know what to call real science anymore … it used to be rocket science … maybe dolly science after that famous sheep.

Reply to  Phoenix44
February 6, 2020 10:44 am

“Studies say’” to the left is the equivalent of the “Bible says” to the religious.”
Dennis Prager

AGW/CC is a religious debate, not a scientific one.

Ed Zuiderwijk
February 6, 2020 2:08 am

The analysis is based on the assumption that climate model projections are correct. They are not, they overestimate significantly the temperature response with increasing CO2 content. Even the 2C will never be reached.

February 6, 2020 2:38 am

I’m not a fan of getting rid of the ABC.

There are political interests in Australia, the kind that want to privatise everything and destroy years of social progress and drop corporate and top tier taxes, who would love to kill of the ABC and leave Australia at the mercy of the commercial stations. The Aussie population’s become too sheep-like as it is, and cutting off the ABC would only make things worse.

The commercial schlock in Australia is vile and the ABC has broken stories the others wouldn’t touch, including important exposés of government malfeasance, and they have many years experience serving city and rural areas, as they did for example during the recent bushfires by giving live updates on road closures, escape routes, PSAs, etc. As well as that, they produce high quality content.

I am a fan of seeing their biased arrogance on the issue of climate change (and other topics they don’t delve into too deeply for fear of not being PC) challenged and toppled.

Pillage Idiot
Reply to  Dennis
February 6, 2020 7:28 am

Do you have any links to stories broken by the ABC that show malfeasance on the part of a left wing government in Australia?

Reply to  Dennis
February 6, 2020 7:31 am

1) There is nothing wrong with privatizing everything. Except perhaps military and the criminal justice system.
2) Privatizing everything would not end social progress.
3) Most of what leftists call social progress is actually quite destructive and needs to be gotten rid of for the sake of humanity.
4) Leftists seem to think that they have the right to steal from others in order to spend it on themselves. Tax rates are way, way to high, but it’s never high enough for the left, not so long as there is free stuff that they don’t have yet.
5) Fascinating, allowing balance in news reporting will turn people into sheep.
6) Commercial is schlock, no wonder you like it when government determines what is OK for you to know.

Reply to  Dennis
February 6, 2020 10:54 am

“There are political interests in Australia, the kind that want to privatise everything and destroy years of social progress and drop corporate and top tier taxes, who would love to kill of the ABC and leave Australia at the mercy of the commercial stations. The Aussie population’s become too sheep-like as it is, and cutting off the ABC would only make things worse”
Dennis, however does America survive without a government sponsored news organization? Well, we do have one, NPR/PBS which is reliably Left-wing.
As for cutting corporate and top tier taxes, that is just what Trump did and the economic boom is stunning with the bottom 16% of wage earners enjoying the biggest rise in wages and unemployment at historic lows for all groups.
It has been proven time and time again that lowering taxes increases revenues to the Treasury. The US Gov. is enjoying record revenue after the tax cuts. Unfortunately, politicians on both sides love nothing more than spending other people’s money so, we have historic deficits, as we’ve has since Obama.
We do not have a taxing problem, we have a spending problem.
I can assure you, the problems with our media arise not from a lack of Gov. ownership but with our MSM acting as an arm of the Democrat Party. Fortunately, we have alternatives because we don’t have Gov. control of our media with one being far and away the most watched and most popular, Fox.
Never fear freedom from government, Dennis.

Reply to  KcTaz
February 7, 2020 3:49 am

Hello, KcTaz! On your comments regarding the US media, I take note and agree with your assessment. You would be aware of the problems that arise when media ownership is centralised. Australia had laws to prevent this, a form of ‘separation of powers’ if you like, but these have been greatly weakened due to neoliberal influence over the years; Australia’s print and TV media ownership is now one of the most concentrated in the world. I see the existence of Australia’s ABC TV, which has over 10% market share here, more I suspect than NPR/PBS in the US, as an important bastion of said power separation. You ask how the US survives, but I would counter is it thriving? I don’t mean the good economic news of the last couple of years, but the awareness and education level of the US populace.

I’m less inclined to agree with you on the need to decrease taxation, especially in light of what’s been going on here over the last couple of decades, but would be interested if you could direct me to a good source for your argument that it is a spending problem. I’m aware of the economic figures from the US over the last couple of years, and watched the SOTU address, however, I suspect the situation in Australia is rather different. Australia’s major banks have largely come under the ownership of HSBC, JP Morgan, Citibank, and each other since the privatisation of Commonwealth Bank and the same is true of the country’s largest listed companies. There has been a great deal of regulatory capture over the last few decades and profits are flowing offshore. Privatisations of public assets (Commonwealth Bank, Murray-Darling water, electricity, educational deregulation, Sydney Airport) have not been good for the public here, bar perhaps the sale of the national airline. The government has boosted immigration rates so much that we’re looking at a 20-25% increase in population by 2030, way earlier than had been forecast just 15 years ago. This has been great for business as they get to sell more toilet paper. For the public, especially the younger generation, it has meant impossible house prices and stagnating wages, and pressure on infrastructure is becoming apparent. The banks here are making a killing and so are the construction companies, even though the building standards have fallen to dangerous levels through government deregulation; apartment buildings here have actually been evacuated due to safety issues. The economy here has become something to be strip-mined by players on both sides of the Pacific as well as at home and, frankly, the commercial TV stations have next to nothing to say about it, and certainly aren’t doing the investigative journalism required to expose the issues. For example, they’re not the ones breaking stories on Chinese influence on Australian politics or what’s happening with Assange, etc. Actually, I think they could do much better, but compared to the piffle covered as ‘news’ by the commercial stations, they look like they’re at least doing some homework and not just copying and pasting stories from US papers.

As for that ‘other people’s money’ thing, you can argue that in relation to socialism but it’s a pretty long bow to draw against social democracies. And isn’t all taxation ‘other people’s money’? Would those ‘other people’ even have any money were it not for the long-term stability of a society that provides the infrastructure and cohesion and cultural context and trained employees and institutions that uphold the rule-of-law, all paid for from the public purse, in which business can operate?

Some of you don’t like the ABC’s left-wing bias. With you I agree, at least on the issues of AGW and other things I’d call PC- and SJW-related.

Some of you don’t like the ABC because it is funded by the taxpayer.
With you I disagree. Having lived large parts of my life in the US and Australia, I would have to say that a lot of what makes the Australian system better overall is achieved through taxpayer funding. Whether for education, for healthcare, for public transport, for income, or for quality of life and much lower levels of violent crime, I find Australia a nicer place to live. This doesn’t mean I see the US system or at least the principles it was founded on as inferior; I stood in awe reading the writings of the founding fathers at a monument in DC. However, my next thought was ‘What happened?’ Certainly not Roosevelt’s new deal.

Regarding Pillage’s question about news stories on Australian left-wing governments (which I think says more about his/her possibly partisan worldview than the subject matter) what immediately came to mind was:

Paul Keating
Kevin Rudd
Sam Dastyari
Various exposés of NSW et al. Labor government corruption.

(For anyone interested in Australian political scandals, Wikipedia provides a page at: and a quick search under ‘Australian Political Scandals’ or ‘Australian Political Corruption’ will find you plenty of additional stories like recent attempts to silence journalists at Newscorp & the ABC, attacks on the ABC’s Emma Alberici for her article on corporate tax avoidance, concerns regarding Chinese Communist Party influence here, Gladys Liu and violation of electoral law, illegal implementation of ‘Robodebt’, how Australia has dropped from around 7th to around 13th least corrupt nation over the last 8 years, etc.)

MarkW, I disagree on many of your points. 4) I suspect says more about US political divisions, slanders and mudslinging than the situation in Australia, but suspect we might agree on what constitutes social progress (as opposed to the agenda of so-called progressives). On 1), as I saw written once, “The problem with neo-liberals is they eventually run out of public assets to privatise.” On 2), due to the historic dangers of fascism associated with what you describe, I beg to differ. Also, I’ve often found many Americans fail to understand the difference between socialism and social democracies, especially those of the ‘Jesus is a Republican’ ilk, who number among some of my US friends. 5) is the opposite of what I believe. The problem is that media aren’t terribly inclined to deal with the messy grey areas that don’t serve the shock/fear/OMG news cycle as you would be very much aware when it comes to news coverage of AGW.-related issues And I’ve no idea how you came to the conclusion of 6).

If anyone is at all interested in my political leanings, I’m a small c conservative who believes in Christian principles, freedom being one of the most important of these, and open society. However, I do not believe that the market solves all ills and believe government is necessary to enforce some degree of regulation of it to ensure the good of the public. Why? Well, to quote others, you cannot serve God and Mammon, and the love of money is a root of many evils. If these forces aren’t balanced, it ain’t a good result: Welcome feudalists, oligarchies, plutocracies, fascists and dictatorships.

Richard Sherratt
Reply to  Dennis
February 6, 2020 10:22 pm

Those political interest you talk about are basic left-wing, zero-sum nonsense.

I don’t advocate getting rid of their ABC. That’s just totalitarianism. I am in favour of cutting their budget by around 80%. They’d still have enough money to perform all their useful functions. As for bushfire alerts, etc. they are all broadcast to mobile phones. Much better because you don’t have to be near a radio or TV. We haven’t turned on a radio in this house for at least two years. My wife turns on the TV in the evening. But we both have mobile phones. And then there’s the “Fires Near Me” phone app where I can look at all the fires in the state. As an aside, I’ve noticed that every major burn has been in a national park. Someone hasn’t been doing their fire prevention activities.

The commercial stations in the 1990s used to have more accurate and comprehensive news and current affairs than the ABC. It seems that they have degenerated to promoting trash TV ‘reality’ rubbish. And they are just as left-wing as the ABC, so the green faeries at the bottom of the garden would still have their media outlets if the ABC is shrunk. They fulfill two goals of the left: dumbing down the populace and feeding them socialist propaganda masquerading as news.

I stopped watching TV 10 years ago, but I’m sometimes in the vicinity of a TV when I’m waiting at pathology or in a dentist’s chair.

February 6, 2020 2:46 am

There are two obvious unknowns here : 1) the actual changes wrought by global warming and 2) the cost of the solutions. I contend that none of those attempting to estimater the costs know much about the obvioua changes in solution coming along. And they are great: electric cars and, more importantly, molten salt nuclear reactors. The cost of the molten salt small modular reactors are almost infinitely cheaper than the renewable power generators. And electric cars will get priced to the point that the transition of the fleet will be about what it always has been.All of these thiings argue that costs are going to be far lower than what has been advanced as estimates so far. For example, replacing al except current nuclear and hydro with molten salt reactors would cost less than a $ trillion , compared to some ridiculous claims that New Deal programs would cost tens of rtrillions, and not produce a power system as good as the molten salt grid. An electric fleet is cheaper to maintain and would lengthen the lifespan of the vehicular fleet, both things reducing costs.

Reply to  ColMosby
February 6, 2020 7:33 am

Let me know when the sale of electric cars approaches 3% of total sales. Without subsidies.

Reply to  ColMosby
February 6, 2020 8:31 am

Your comment suggests that the eventual success of EVs and molten salt reactors have nothing to do with “Climate Change” but rather good ol’ fashioned capitalism.

For point 1, the alarmists have already conceded scenario 8.5 is impossible; thus the Tol/Nordhouse assumption of 4C is a maximum (using IPCC calculations).

Regarding point 2, EVs and nuclear reactors are an insignificant part of the total social and economic “remedy” that alarmists suggest is required, for example, to cut that 4C in half.

Reply to  ColMosby
February 6, 2020 11:10 am

What is the point of Electric vehicles?

* Date: 23/04/19

The “New Energy Economy”: An Exercise in Magical Thinking

March 26, 2019
“…About 60 pounds of batteries are needed to store the energy equivalent to that in one pound of hydrocarbons. Meanwhile, 50–100 pounds of various materials are mined, moved, and processed for one pound of battery produced.[54] Such underlying realities translate into enormous quantities of minerals—such as lithium, copper, nickel, graphite, rare earths, and cobalt—that would need to be extracted from the earth to fabricate batteries for grids and cars.[55] A battery-centric future means a world mining gigatons more materials.[56] And this says nothing about the gigatons of materials needed to fabricate wind turbines and solar arrays, too…”

In China, the true cost of Britain’s clean, green wind power experiment: Pollution on a disastrous scale

Electric vehicles appear to be far worse for Earth, Mankind and the environment and ecology than those running on fossil fuels ever have been or could be.

Richard Sherratt
Reply to  ColMosby
February 6, 2020 11:02 pm

“Electric fleet cheaper to maintain … ” Total cost of ownership is the number that counts if you’re basing everything on costs. And maintaining vehicles isn’t all that cheap when they have an unfortunate disposition towards spontaneous combustion. If you can point me towards an ev with a reasonable (not subsidised) cost that has a 500 mile range at high speed, and can refill to 100% in one minute, I might look at it, just for interest. The outside temp would be >110F, so the a/c would be running full blast. It would need to be a reasonable size for comfort over a long distance on less-than-perfect roads. It would need to have a good performance. This is reality in Australia when you have two weeks’ holiday to visit the relatives and you can’t spend three weeks getting there. Another factor is that the ev would be required to maintain its peak performance for 25 years and around 250,000 miles with no deterioration in the seats, etc.

As for the total concept, spending “less than a trillion” to replace something that doesn’t need to be replaced is insanity.

Jeff Id
February 6, 2020 3:10 am

So since we haven’t detected any negative impact of climate change whatsoever.

In answer to the question in the title — Over

February 6, 2020 4:15 am

Any economic analysis that only counts the purported – not proven – COSTS of global warm and completely fails to count the obvious and historically proven benefits of global warming is nothing but a crock of doodoo.

How big was the world wide GDP at 16,000 KYA when the last glaciation cycle began to retreat? Well, there are no GDP numbers from then, obviously. OK, how about using some other factors that make reasonable stand ins for economic productivity, such as:

1) Human population – somewhere around one million or fewer 16KYA vs. 7.5 billion today

2) Human lifespan – somewhere around 25-30 years 16KYA vs. about 80 years today

3) Human non-economic production (i.e, arts, culture, scholarship, etc.) that is driven mainly by the amount of time devoted to daily survival – somewhere around, what, maybe a percent or two 16KYA? vs. several tens of percent today.

Obviously, global warming has been fantastic for mankind and for most species throughout the world and most ecosystems throughout the world.

Cooling sucks. Warming is great. It’s obvious to anyone with the slightest knowledge of human history for the last 16KY. Proven, beyond any shadow of any possible doubt.

Therefore, ergo, warming MUST by definition create net benefits to mankind, economically, and otherwise.

February 6, 2020 4:27 am

If climate is the average of weather, then we have to be able to control the weather in order to control the climate.

I don’t think “The Science” has any idea how to control weather everywhere, let alone how much that would cost.

Just a WAG, but it would probably cost more than all the money in the world being thrown at the problem to the exclusion of all else. In which case, I think we should go back to sacrificing virgins. Same result but a lot cheaper.
BTW, can someone explain to me how raising taxes, eliminating fossil fuel use, not eating meat, and forming a One-World government will give us pinpoint control over weather? It sounds a bit farfetched to me, but what do I know?

February 6, 2020 5:45 am

They are waiting for the real shoe to drop on bad public policy so they can make the call about policy-induced recession….after it starts.

David Dibbell
February 6, 2020 5:52 am

Let’s consider a new hashtag: #NASAKnew

About tipping points, here is a quote from 11 years ago from the NASA article at the link farther below.

“Temperature doesn’t infinitely rise, however, because atoms and molecules on Earth are not just absorbing sunlight, they are also radiating thermal infrared energy (heat). The amount of heat a surface radiates is proportional to the fourth power of its temperature. If temperature doubles, radiated energy increases by a factor of 16 (2 to the 4th power). If the temperature of the Earth rises, the planet rapidly emits an increasing amount of heat to space. This large increase in heat loss in response to a relatively smaller increase in temperature—referred to as radiative cooling—is the primary mechanism that prevents runaway heating on Earth.”

There is no reason to expect runaway conditions to develop, because the planet doesn’t work that way. And because the effective emission altitude is not at the surface but much higher up, the important question is how effectively the dense lower atmosphere absorbs and delivers heat and infrared-active gases and clouds to the variable emitter above us. NASA knew all of this but seemingly has fallen silent against the claims of climate emergency.

February 6, 2020 7:31 am

The theme shows how confused the brain is on both sides of the right and left. On the left, there was strong opposition to the use of nuclear energy, which caused enormous damage in the area of climate change.

Jeff Alberts
February 6, 2020 7:53 am

“Are economists globally understating or overstating the cost of climate change [alarmism]?”


Reply to  Jeff Alberts
February 6, 2020 9:03 am

What costs?

Reply to  MarkW
February 6, 2020 11:28 am

What costs?

The costs of solving a non-existent problem while making the UN/IPCC bureaucrats, politicians, the global elites and all of their pals rich and enable them to take over and rule the world. Hey, that stuff doesn’t come cheap, Mark!

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
February 8, 2020 2:44 pm

Jeff Alberts, I wasn’t aware that “economists globally” had one and only one view?

Then there is the “If you lined up all economists end to end, they still couldn’t reach a conclusion.”

Then there is my favorite: “Magrathea is a myth! A fairy tale parents tell their children if they want them to grow up and become Economists.” (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

February 6, 2020 9:46 am

To even suggest that whether economists underestimate or overestimate the cost of climate change is a nonsense. Economics is described as a science but as a predictive tool is basically useless. If you get 50 economists to predict the future level of the Dow Jones, the inflation rate, the unemployment rate, the currency 12 months hence you’re lucky if the actual result falls in that total range. Because economists tend to be lemmings who don’t wish to stray to far from the norm they tend to cluster in close proximity to each other. The reality is you get as much value certainty out of their predictions as if the outcomes were on a roulette wheel.
Rather than treat economists climate change cost predictions as fact let’s just find a lowest cost future that makes sense. And that solution is Don’t spend zillions trying to change the climate but preserve capital to adapt to whatever the climate throws at us. I don’t know what the cost of immediately stopping all subsidies for renewables , building base load power with the cheapest and most reliable source ( presumably coal) and if necessary provide the funds so that every person in the world had access to an air conditioner. Yes, if it’s a bit too hot you may have to stay inside or you may need to build some sea walls to protect low lying land but then again more likely than not you won’t. Climate change really has never been about economics it has always been about global politics and power. When Shorten asked rhetorically “ what is the cost of doing nothing on climate change ? “ The answer is nothing.
Ironically that is exactly what we should do.

Alexander Vissers
February 6, 2020 10:10 am

All of this is pure speculation as is the fear mongering and alarmism. Having said that,as far as I can see the benefits of climate change since 1900 until now are hugely outweighing the cost.

February 6, 2020 1:57 pm

Actually, they’re ALL wrong. No one has any idea what the economic “cost of climate change” is. It’s a nonsensensical argument designed to frighten people into thinking humans are causing global warming and that they must do something about it; never mind that the tiny amount of warming over the last century or so likely has benefited us more than it has hurt us.

They can no more calculate that fantasy number than they can calculate the economic cost of The Little Ice Age or the economic benefit of the Medieval Warm Period. Don’t dignify these specious, ridiculous arguments. Call them what they are: nonsense.

Michael Hammer
February 6, 2020 2:45 pm

Predicting temperatures and climate out to 2100 or 2150 is simply insane. On what basis is the prediction made? On the basis of current technology? 2150 is 130 years in the future, so lets go back 130 years to 1890. What was current technology then? Horses and carriages, intercontinental transport via steamships with journeys taking weeks. Telephones just coming into use with many communications still via messenger boys. Encyclopedia Britannica the latest word in knowledge dissemination. Computers, internet, aircraft, motor vehicles, mobile phones, nuclear power, communication satellites, global positioning systems, solar power, antibiotics, cardiac surgery, stenting, organ transplant and many many other things completely unknown. A prediction made in 1890 regarding conditions in 2020 would today be laughable other than in a science fiction context.

Can we have the least idea of what conditions 130 years in the future will be like. Lets make a few wild guesses. Nuclear fusion and/or thorium reactors will have been achieved, space travel to other planets will be a routine activity, climate control (especially to avoid drought or floods) will be established practice, world famine and poverty will be largely eliminated and with it large families, Earth’s population will be in decline, video conferencing will be so ubiquitous and good that meetings and discussion via his medium will be indistinguishable from face to face meetings; most people will work from home so far less travel. We will all have servants based on robotic technology. Manufacturing will essentially all be done via computer automation without direct human involvement. Mass production will have been phased out anyway with goods more or less made to order at distributed sites or with extremely small inventories. We will be extracting rare elements directly from sea water so scarcity is no longer relevant. Maybe we will have even learnt the secret of direct conversion of matter to energy and instantaneous transport.

Of course these are all blue sky guesses but they are just the things we think of because they are already on the visible horizon. What about the things not yet on the horizon which might also have become reality. Our technology and society will be nothing like what it is now in unknown ways and that makes today’s predictions meaningless. The only thing we can be absolutely sure of is that if real tangible problems arise (as distinct from hypothetical projected problems) they will become the focus of human ingenuity and at the very least the new solutions will be far better than anything achievable with today’s technology.

Reply to  Michael Hammer
February 6, 2020 5:36 pm

The predictions vary so all cannot be right. Can they all be wrong. Of course they can but some could be partly right. It is almost certain that all will be mostly wrong and most will be totally wrong. The future would be pretty boring if it was not often surprising.
I really like this quote from the post ” the remote possibility a handful of scary but unverifiable climate model artefacts might actually be an accurate reflection of future reality”
But then the current state of climate science has little to do with accuracy.

Johann Wundersamer
February 19, 2020 2:22 pm

“The article also provides a lot of space to arguments that optimistic viewpoints don’t account for predicted tipping points. But, well this is the Aussie ABC – they normally don’t bother presenting both sides of climate arguments.

What about the points raised in the article? I think the short summary is, without tipping points they’ve got nothing.”


Flu is a relatively modern achievement. Flu has not always been there.

Flu has developed towards us.

That flu can kill us is not intentional but a design flaw.

If flu kills us, it loses its host.

So, next modifications sure to follow: no tipping points waiting at the next bend. Foreseeable.

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