New Paper From Richard Tol: The Economic Impact of Weather and Climate

Richard Tol has a new paper out.


I propose a new conceptual framework to disentangle the impacts of weather and climate on economic activity and growth: A stochastic frontier model with climate in the production frontier and weather shocks as a source of inefficiency. I test it on a sample of 160 countries over the period 1950-2014. Temperature and rainfall determine production possibilities in both rich and poor countries; positively in cold countries and negatively in hot ones. Weather anomalies reduce inefficiency in rich countries but increase inefficiency in poor and hot countries; and more so in countries with low weather variability. The climate effect is larger that the weather effect.

The paper is not behind a paywall and readily accessible here.

From the introduction.

Weather affects economic activity, and so the measurement of the impact of climate on economic activity. Weather can be seen as noise, but that noise may well be correlated with climate, the right-hand-side variable of interest. I therefore propose a new way to simultaneously model the impact of climate and weather, to show that both matter and that previous work is misspecified.

The empirical strategy rests on the following assumptions. Climate affects production possibilities. This is obvious for agriculture: Holstein cows do well in Denmark but jasmine rice does not; the reverse is true in Thailand. Climate also affects energy and transport, and thus all other sectors of the economy. Weather affects the realization of the production potential. Hot weather may slow down workers, frost may damage crops, floods may disrupt
transport and manufacturing. Conceptualized thus, climate affects the production frontier, and weather the distance from that frontier. The econometric specification is therefore a stochastic frontier analysis with weather variables in inefficiency and climate variables in the frontier.4 Climate affects potential output, weather the output gap.

Here is the discussion and conclusion section.

I use stochastic frontier analysis to jointly model the impacts of weather and climate on economic activity in most countries over 65 years. I distinguish production potential, affected by climate, and the realisation of economic output, affected by weather. Weather shocks thus have a transient effect, climate change a permanent impact. Warming affects production potential, positively in cold, negatively in hot countries; and more so in rich, wet countries. Changes in precipitation also affect the frontier. The impacts are heterogeneous without an obvious pattern. Climate change also affects inefficiency, particularly in countries with little climate variability, reducing the output gap in rich countries but increasing it in poor and hot countries. The weather effect is small compared to the climate effect. These results are qualitatively and quantitatively robust to alternative specifications, controls, and estimators.

Dell et al. (2012) find that poor countries are particularly vulnerable to weather shocks, Burke et al. (2015) find that hot countries are. In the Burke (Dell) specification, countries would grow more (less) vulnerable to unusual weather in a hotter and richer future. I find that both are true, and that the impact of heat is about as strong as the impact of poverty. Reduced outdoor work and manual labour, decreased relative importance agriculture in output and work force, and greater diffusion of adaptive capital such as air conditioning would help poorer countries to dampen the negative effects of weather shocks—but only to a degree, as the effort needed to alleviate the heat rises with the temperature.

The impact of weather shocks found here cannot directly be compared to previous studies. Letta and Tol (2018) model economic growth as a function of the change in temperature, Dell et al. (2012), Burke et al. (2015), Pretis et al. (2018) and Kalkuhl and Wenz (2020) as a function of the temperature level. Kahn et al. (2019) come closest to my specification, but they use (asymmetric) weather anomalies rather than standardized weather. Another key difference with those papers is that, here, the impact of a weather shock is transitory. Unusual weather increases inefficiency, but the economy bounces back the next year, regis[1]tering higher growth. If my specification is right, then previous studies that excluded lagged temperature effects are wrong.19

Previous studies, Barrios et al. (2010) and Generoso et al. (2020) excepted, did not find a significant impact of precipitation. This is a puzzling result, as droughts and floods are more devastating than heat and cold. The same result is found here, in the frontier, unless I interact precipitation with temperature and poverty. Net water—rainfall minus evapo[1]ration—matters rather than gross water—rainfall—and more so in countries that depend more on agriculture. Precipitation also has a significant effect on inefficiency, one that varies strongly with its variability. Previous studies did not standardize weather variables.

The impact on the frontier is larger than in previous studies of the impact of climate change (Tol, 2018). Compared to some previous empirical studies (Easterly and Levine, 2003, Ro[1]drik et al., 2004), climate has a significant effect, also when controlling for institutional quality, perhaps because I used more data (as did Nordhaus, 2006, Dell et al., 2009, Hender[1]son et al., 2018, Kalkuhl and Wenz, 2020), perhaps because I modelled heteroskedasticity. Previous studies did not do this and therefore their estimators would be inefficient and, if weather-related heteroskedasticity correlates with climate, may be biased.

Higher income, more capital nor better institutions fully insulate countries from the influence of their climate. This contradicts earlier studies (Acemoglu et al., 2001, 2002, Alsan, 2015).

Besides the methodological advance and the new insights, the model proposed here also provides a way forward for stochastic integrated assessment models, some of which (e.g. Cai and Lontzek, 2019, Hambel et al., 2021) combine a deterministic climate change impact function with stochastic weather realisations.20 The framework in this paper separates the deterministic from the stochastic.

I do not include all impacts of climate change. I omit direct impacts on human welfare, such as biodiversity and health. The model does not capture the range of events which could be triggered by climate change but lie outside the current range of historical experience, such as thawing permafrost(Wirths et al., 2018), a thermohaline circulation shutdown (Anthoff et al., 2016) or unprecedented sea level rise (Nordhaus, 2019). Because of data availability, I use democracy as a proxy for high-quality government. I limit the attention to aggregate economic activity. Adaptation and expectations are implicit in the model, as are production risks and risk preferences. The projections with respect to climate change are static, not dynamic.

The econometrics also need improvement. While cointegration does not seem to be an issue, the stationarity tests used here were not designed for the error structure assumed. I ignored heterogeneity, time-varying parameters, cross-sectional dependence, and spatial spillovers.

The numerical results are therefore far from final. The methodological advancement in this work is more important: the joint, simultaneous estimation of the impact of two different, but often confused, phenomena: weather and climate. I defer to future research the task of refining the theoretical and empirical framework proposed here, and applying it to other macro contexts and, crucially, household and firm data.

Read the full paper here.

3.7 9 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
June 13, 2021 6:04 pm

Nobody ever does anything about it but complain.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Scissor
June 13, 2021 6:19 pm

I love my Tucson hot weather. A big Pool and a cold beer right this minute on the patio in the shade… at 108 degF (42 deg ) makes all difference.
I hate cold.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
June 13, 2021 6:35 pm

Sounds wonderful, Joel.

Martin C
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
June 13, 2021 9:19 pm

Hi Joel,
It was 112 (the temp i saw) in Gilbert today. I don’t actually mind it that much, though some hotter temps to come this week.
Though i don’t mind the cold either, as long as there isn’t high WINDS with that (have in-laws in southern Iowa and the Kansas city area; have made a number of trips in the winter; and i am a ski buff . . 🙂 )

mike macray
Reply to  Martin C
June 14, 2021 3:48 am

I use stochastic frontier analysis to jointly model the impacts of weather and climate
‘Like all supposed forecasts of future climate projections…..

Stochastic analysis to predict Climate Change!
From the Greek Stokastikos, meaning the skillful hurling of Javelins and such, hence determining the target (in hindsight) from the scatter pattern of projectiles that missed the mark.
If the IPCC can’t use it maybe Monty Python could.

Reply to  Martin C
June 14, 2021 4:06 am

It’s a “dry heat” as we say.
Wet cool is cold. Explains layers of wool in the UK.

Reply to  Scissor
June 13, 2021 7:25 pm

Exactly, everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.

Joel O’Bryan
June 13, 2021 6:14 pm

The Devil is in the details.
Like all supposed forecasts of future climate projections on food productivity, food which feeds the world with fossil fuel supplied energy and fertilizer stocks, the details of the model and assumptions can allow any future story/fairy tale to be told. And so far, anyone who has used IPCC high emissions scenarios as model inputs are obvious fools and/or intentional deceivers.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
June 13, 2021 7:01 pm

I realize Dr Tol’s analysis is of the past. But it is the future where the climate scammers ply their CO2 fiction for fame, money and power..
Ross McKitrick or similar academic is equipped to assess DrTol’s conclusions. Dr Tol’s conclusions appear reasonable to me, but I am not equipped by education nor training to dig into his very quantitative analysis of worker outputs and economics under variois warming scenarios.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
June 14, 2021 4:09 am

Government does more to destroy food production than climate ever can.
Climate is local, and farmers will adjust accordingly.
Government is national and doesn’t have a clue how to grow anything but taxes and their personal bank accounts.

Jeff Alberts
June 13, 2021 6:17 pm

I still don’t know what “climate impacts” are. No one ever explains…

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
June 13, 2021 6:37 pm

All you need to know about climate impact in one easy lesson:
Don’t park your car in front of an advancing glacier. If the sea level is increasing in your area, roll up the cuffs of your trousers. If it gets too hot where you are, install a swimming pool.
Do those simple things to minimize climate impacts.

That’ll be 5¢, please. Cash only.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  H.R.
June 13, 2021 7:14 pm

Lucy was charging 5 cents in the 60’s, you people need some remedial schooling in inflation


Reply to  Pat from kerbob
June 13, 2021 8:02 pm

Yeah, at 5¢, I may loose money on every bit of advice I give. But I make it up in volume. 😜

Reply to  H.R.
June 14, 2021 4:49 am

H.R. said, “That’ll be 5¢, please. Cash only.”

Sorry. H.R., I can’t find the nickel slot on my laptop.


Reply to  H.R.
June 17, 2021 10:36 pm

You’ll need to round that up … does anybody still have a 5 cent denomination? 😉

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
June 13, 2021 7:44 pm

…. and the G7 nations are going to fight climate, or combat climate.

Can someone, anybody please explain what that means? Pretty please.

Nick, griff, loydo, Simon, Izaak? Sorry if I left anyone out.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  philincalifornia
June 13, 2021 9:07 pm

Can someone, anybody please explain what that means? Pretty please.

You’re going to be taxed until you squeal. Then you’ll be taxed some more.

You’re welcome.

Reply to  philincalifornia
June 14, 2021 12:29 am

“Can someone, anybody please explain what that means?”

No, they are all too busy devising ways of stopping – Milankovitch cycles, Tectonic plate movement, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Solar cycles & Moon /Sun /Earth-Gravity Effects;

While they are doing that, WE must all sit patiently ( in the cold & dark ) until our glorious leaders come up with the game plan scenario for ‘fighting climate’.

Reply to  philincalifornia
June 14, 2021 9:33 am

Ask Greta, I think she’ll know.
h/t Jefferson Airplane

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
June 13, 2021 9:18 pm

Dr Tol explains quite well: Holstein cows and dairy products they produce in his Dutch climate make quite good sense,but rice paddies do not. On the other side of that, Thailand makes sense for rice paddies, but dairy farms — not. That is climate.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
June 13, 2021 10:17 pm

As anecdote, that’s wonderful. As science, it sucks.


The Dark Lord
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
June 14, 2021 5:55 am

nope that is local weather

John Dowser
Reply to  The Dark Lord
June 14, 2021 10:01 pm

Nope, dairy and rice industries arise not because of changing weather but established regional weather patterns developing over decades making such thing profitable in the first place.

Richard S.J. Tol
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
June 14, 2021 12:04 am

climate impacts are the impacts of climate change, in this case on output per worker

John Pickens
Reply to  Richard S.J. Tol
June 14, 2021 4:24 am

So by “climate change” you mean anthropogenic global warming? You need to define your terms.

Richard S.J. Tol
Reply to  John Pickens
June 14, 2021 4:45 am

Impacts are the same, regardless of what caused climate change.

The Dark Lord
Reply to  Richard S.J. Tol
June 14, 2021 5:58 am

climate change ? please define what climate we are changing from and what climate we are changing too … and do so without talking about weather … at last glance there are 2 climate extremes … snowball earth and no or little polar ice … which way are we going ?

John Pickens
Reply to  Richard S.J. Tol
June 14, 2021 1:37 pm

What is your definition of climate change? You talk about “anomalies” in your paper summary. Are you talking about departure of climate from some ideal mean value? What value(s)? Please give an example of a climate change which has a net economic effect. Not a projection, an observation.

John Pickens
Reply to  John Pickens
June 15, 2021 9:07 am

These are reasonable questions of someone claiming to be able to quantify economic losses due to some etherial “climate change” assertion. Mr. Tol has run away.

Francisco Machado
Reply to  John Pickens
June 14, 2021 7:19 am

Works in both directions: NASA: From February 2016 to February 2018, global average temperatures dropped by 0.56 degrees Celsius, the biggest two-year drop in the past century. The last impending ice age was in the seventies; we seem to have recovered from that. Before crediting the AGW fanatics with their concern for humanity, observe the carbon dependent life style they follow. They are Progressive charlatans. Sacrifice is for the peasants – not for them.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Richard S.J. Tol
June 14, 2021 10:49 am

climate impacts are the impacts of climate change, in this case on output per worker”

So, changes that are so slow that a dead slug could outrun them… no impact to intelligent humans.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
June 14, 2021 1:43 am

And just what does this mean?

“In the Burke (Dell) specification, countries would grow more (less) vulnerable to unusual weather in a hotter and richer future.”

Richard S.J. Tol
Reply to  Observer
June 14, 2021 4:48 am

Burke assumes that hot countries are particularly vulnerable to weather shocks.

Dell assumes that poor countries are particularly vulnerable to weather shocks.

(It is hard to tell this apart because most poor countries are hot and most hot countries are poor.)

All scenarios have that the world will be hotter and richer in the future.

Burke thus assumes greater vulnerability to weather shocks in a hotter future, whereas Dell assumes lower vulnerability in a richer future.

Ulric Lyons
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
June 15, 2021 3:10 am

Impacts of climate change in the popular sense, are generally false attribution of weather extremes, such as global warming will make discretely solar driven heatwaves like 2003 more frequent. Or that global warming will make Atlantic hurricanes more intense, when they are normally more intense during centennial solar minima because of a warmer AMO, like in the 1880-1890’s.

Stephen Philbrick
June 13, 2021 6:24 pm

Tol has bitten off a lot. Will take some time to digest.

Pillage Idiot
Reply to  Stephen Philbrick
June 13, 2021 7:50 pm

Ask not for whom the bell Tols, it Tols for thee!

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Stephen Philbrick
June 13, 2021 9:20 pm

His paper is indeed quite the Quant Opus on econometrics of climate and weather.

June 13, 2021 6:49 pm

Dr. Tol says:

“Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get. Weather are draws from a probability distribution. Climate is that distribution. Climate change shifts the moments of the weather distribution (Auffhammer, 2018b). Weather is unpredictable for more than a few days ahead.”

Consider the following graph … sure looks like climate is “draws from a probability distribution.”
comment image

Also, note in the link here that no less an authority than Mandelbrot himself says that climate is just as chaotic as the weather.

Indeed, Tol’s argument could apply at any level—hourly weather changes are draws from a daily distribution, daily changes are draws from a monthly distribution, monthly changes from an annual distribution, annual changes from a decadal distribution, decadal changes from a centennial distribution, centennial changes are draws from a millennial distribution … where is the evidence as to which part of that hourly-to-millennial parade is “climate” and part is “weather”???

So I find his purported division into “climate” and “weather” to be vague, undefined, unsupported by Mandelbrot’s detailed analysis, and ultimately meaningless.


Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
June 13, 2021 7:47 pm

Willis you’re a data man, so perhaps you can explain these devastating times that your President claims we’re living through? In fact like Greta he claims that we are facing an EXISTENTIAL threat and we must take action ASAP.
I say that since 1970 ( 3.7 bn) global life exp has increased from about 57 years to 73 years and population is now 7.78 bn or an extra 4.1 bn people in just 50 years. So where is Biden’s EXISTENTIAL threat?
And African pop has increased by a further 1 bn people since 1970 and they now have a life exp of about 64 compared to about 47 in 1970.
And even African countries have moved to a higher percentage of urban living.
I think Dr Rosling’s BBC graphical data video of 200 countries measuring wealth and health from 1810 to 2010 tells us the true story.
Just asking and the video only takes about 4+ minutes? OH and the planet has been GREENING since Dr Hansen’s scare has taken hold and his dire warning in 1988.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
June 13, 2021 7:49 pm

That’s the beauty of the scam, uh, action proposition. To continue with the chosen agenda, vagueness is a feature not a bug.
Due to the chaotic nature of weather, zealots can apply any interpretation of the data necessary to direct policy so that elites gain more power over the minions. It helps that they have willing media and academic institutions that have had a few decades to halt critical thinking and attention to detail.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
June 13, 2021 9:22 pm

Fractal weather to climate at every time scale when viewed with a long enough time perspective is probably quite right.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
June 13, 2021 11:22 pm

Interesting analysis as always

June 13, 2021 7:24 pm

“…The weather effect is small compared to the climate effect. These results are qualitatively and quantitatively robust to alternative specifications, controls, and estimators…..” Sorry, lost me there.

Reply to  markl
June 13, 2021 7:48 pm

You’re not alone. I never could follow random bafflegab generators either. Do I need to try harder, or just get on with my life ….. ?

Reply to  philincalifornia
June 13, 2021 9:20 pm

Get on with your life.

That’ll be 5¢, please. Cash only.

Reply to  H.R.
June 14, 2021 4:33 am

$1 on its way. Keep the change.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  markl
June 13, 2021 9:24 pm

He’s saying his Netherland’s farms and cattle dairies will never be Thailand’s tropical rice paddies and jungle at any humanity-relevant time scale. But weather effects (temp and precip extremes) can have short term devastating effects on each.

Last edited 1 month ago by joelobryan
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
June 14, 2021 1:42 am

But is there any evidence that weather extremes are any different now than in the past?

The Dark Lord
Reply to  Paul Homewood
June 14, 2021 6:01 am

none … weather extremes are not driven by climate … temperature extremes are but the temperature is not weather …

June 13, 2021 9:23 pm

I praise dr Toll for the effort, however I’m still not convinced anything this broad has any meaning.
Countries such as China, India, USA and Australia can not be considered either hot or cold countries. There size allows them to adjust crops as time goes by.

Another issue I have is the assumption of how India will develop.
Any significant change to India’s development path will impact world averages.

June 13, 2021 9:28 pm

Farmer here…
Is it helpful if I say that “climate” in when described in terms of averages of rainfall, temp, seasons etc tend to dictate what we can theoretically grow in any one area, but that short-term variability of the weather dictates how close we can get to that theoretical maximum.

That is because we can’t predict short-term variability very well, so we plan based on long-term climate.
I live in a winter-rainfall dominant, hot-summer/cold-winter area. What is typically described as a “Mediterranean” climate. My pre-season planning is based around the expectation that the season will transition in April and that the yield from a crop of winter-wheat has a potential to yield around 5t/ha.
Short-term variables might include:

  • A delayed Autumn rainfall. We cannot sow crops without adequate soil moisture and every ten days’ delay past optimum sowing dates typically reduces yields by 3-4%.
  • A late frost during the period when the grain is immature. A severe frost will stop grain development at a point where it is still light and lacking nutrients.
  • An early hot spell during flowering. Unseasonably hot weather – even just one day – can reduce yield by 10-30% regardless of moisture availability.
  • A dry “finish”. Plants require moisture to both grow and to move carbohydrate into the developing grain. Dry weather late in the season can result in light grain as the plants dry off before the grain has finished filling.

Etc, etc, etc.

We do our best to adjust inputs and crop varieties in order to manage this production risk, but the gap between potential and real yields will always be with us.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  PeterW
June 13, 2021 10:30 pm

Been there, done that, for near forty years now. Truth.

The Dark Lord
Reply to  PeterW
June 14, 2021 6:02 am

all of that is weather …

Reply to  The Dark Lord
June 14, 2021 8:37 am

Are you saying there is no climate? Please elaborate.

June 13, 2021 10:24 pm

I am in general a fan of Dr. Tol’s work and have a ton of respect for him. The most d@mning evidence in the IPCC AR reports that climate change doesn’t amount to a hill of bean is his.

I take exception to this article however, because I think it is predicated on a false premise, that the climate effect is bigger than the weather effect. No one can adapt to weather volatility, only prepare for it. A storm rips up your rice patties or causes a flood that drowns you cattle, not much you can do to adapt to that. Climate change creeps forward in slow motion. It can be outrun by a snail. The crops grown on my family farm 100+ years ago bear no resemblance to the crops of today. The crops varieties and the farming practices have advanced at a rate that is staggering and are why the world has an abundance of food. If the climate ceases to favour rice over the next 100 years, the farmers will simply be producing a whole lot of some other crop. Who knows, maybe even a new strain of rice.

Richard S.J. Tol
Reply to  davidmhoffer
June 14, 2021 12:02 am

Abstracts are necessarily short.

Warming does two things: Warming increases the mean temperature (I call this the climate effect) and warming makes unusually hot days more common than unusually cold days (I call this the weather effect). Both are statistically significant. The latter is smaller than the former.

Reply to  Richard S.J. Tol
June 14, 2021 12:24 am

Richard, first, huge props for being willing to defend your work in an open forum. It is the mark of a true scientist.

Next, a few questions.

First, you discuss changes in mean temperature and in “unusually” hot days vs cold days. Are you talking globally, or for a particular location? If the latter, which location?

Next, you say both are statistically significant. Mean temperatures are often horribly autocorrelated. How have you accounted for this in your calculation of statistical significance?

Next, you also say that the change in “unusually” hot days vs cold days is statistically significant. How are you calculating significance for that, and as before, how have you accounted for autocorrelation?

Next, you say that changes in mean temperature over say a hundred-year period is a “climate effect”, but the change in hot days versus cold days over a hundred-year period is a “weather effect” … I fear I don’t understand the distinction.

Finally, mean temperature is measured in °C. Change in hot versus cold days is measured in something like days per year. How can one be “smaller than the other”? That’s like saying forty dollars is less than sixty kilograms … makes no sense. What am I missing?

Many thanks,


Richard S.J. Tol
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
June 14, 2021 4:59 am

Weather effects use the standardized temperature and rainfall, per country.

Autocorrelation in explanatory variables is irrelevant. The results are robust to autocorrelation in the dependent variable.

I say that the impact of unusual weather is significant, not that the weather is.

This is a simultaneous model of climate and weather impacts. Weather is a short-run effect: Only behavioural change. Climate is a long-run effect: Changes in behaviour, capital and technology.

The effect size of weather and climate can indeed not be compared directly because the units are different, but they can be compared in a scenario that implies an equivalence between weather shocks and climate change.

Sebastian Magee
Reply to  Richard S.J. Tol
June 14, 2021 4:34 am

Dr. Tol. I have been recently reading Kooning’s book “Unseatled” and there is a whole chapter in this unusually hot days compared with unusually cold days in a warming climate. It seems both are declining, unusual cold days faster than warm days. This makes the statement “warming makes unusually hot days more common than unusually cold days” correct, but hides the more important part that both are declining and the climate is becoming milder. Are you accounting for these decreasing trends in extreme weather?

Reply to  Richard S.J. Tol
June 14, 2021 5:11 am

If warming increases mean temperature, then doesn’t the temperature which defines ‘unusually cold’ also have to increase? Ditto ‘unusually hot’. In which case, ought not the distribution of ‘unusually hot’ and ‘unusually cold’ remain the same?

Richard S.J. Tol
Reply to  DaveS
June 14, 2021 9:48 am

Exactly. The definition of what is “unusual” weather changes too as we grow accustomed to the new climate.

The Dark Lord
Reply to  Richard S.J. Tol
June 14, 2021 6:05 am

what warming ? the global average ? which is seen in warmer nights NOT hotter days … “warming makes unusually hot days more common” your statement is factually wrong … we have seen global warming over the last 100 years and we have seen a decrease in warmer days … (in the US of course … anyone elses long term data is worthless)

Mike Dubrasich
June 13, 2021 11:38 pm

Dairy (milk and cheese) production in NL is not static but has performed well and increasingly since the 1950’s. There have been no weather events that “devastated” production in any year on record. The same is true of rice production in Thailand: ever increasing with no weather devastations. I’m not saying weather doesn’t matter, but farmers adapt and adjust practices, and in the aggregate have been remarkably successful.

The factors that do affect production in both countries include labor force, export market conditions, price supports, traditional variety preferences, political manipulations (govt. policies), and economic manipulations (bank policies). Despite these, production has been relatively stable and growing.

Farming is a complex business subject to many external non-biological, non environmental influences. Among those are academic “experts” with zero experience in farming who assume they can reduce the complexities to econometric models that ignore most critical factors while substituting their own politically motivated biases. The resulting models are simplistic and very wrong but are used to influence agricultural policies set by overweening bureaucrats and politicians with agendas, much to the detriment of actual farms, farmers, and the people who buy and eat the food.

I don’t mean to single out Dr. Tol. He is only one of many academics who seek to influence agendas. The source of the problem is the political class who have too much power. We are all trying to sway them, but it might be better for all of us if the political elite were dis-empowered and sent to bed without their suppers.

Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
June 14, 2021 12:48 am

The source of the most problems is the political class who have too much power over things they don’t know/understand/care about. We are all trying to sway them, but it might be better for all of us if the political elite were dis-empowered and sent to bed without their suppers.
Fixed it for you Mike.

Leave – science to scientists, health to doctors, manufacturing to manufactures, trade to shopkeepers, farming to farmers …

Why do we allow the corrupt political class so much power ???

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
June 14, 2021 3:57 am

Mike you state that “farmers adapt and adjust practices.”

This is applicable to wise farmers and since the beginning of recorded history we have plenty of examples. However, there are many foolish farmers that failed to adapt and have disappeared. The present foolishness is farmers who listen to the politicians and climate alarmists and believe that the experts can engineer a favorable climate for every zone and so fail to observe and adapt.

Last edited 1 month ago by Michael in Dublin
Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
June 14, 2021 2:01 pm

My point was perhaps poorly stated. There are hundreds (thousands?) of factors that influence or affect “economic activity and growth”. A completely or sufficiently specified mathematical model with “economic activity and growth” as the resultant variable should have those hundreds of explanatory factors and their potential interactions included on the other side of the equation.

Dr. Tol’s econometric (statistical, mathematical) model is woefully under-specified. He has only two explanatory factors: weather and climate, and they are poorly defined and differentiated.

It is not likely (probability of zero) that such a model can replicate or predict reality.

It’s just flag waving, whether you agree with the conclusions or not. There is no virtue in the signalling. It’s Sturm und Drang and a waste of time and money. I apologize for making this point, because I know it hurts feelings and feelings matter.

June 14, 2021 12:55 am

Waiting for approval or awaiting approval but not awaiting for approval.

June 14, 2021 1:39 am

Where is the evidence that temps and rainfall affect poor hot countries negatively?

It just seems to be a subjective assumption. GIGO

June 14, 2021 1:50 am

What would Tol’s analysis tell us about the changes in efficiency and climate since the 19thC. Is there any evidence that conditions were more favourable for farming in, say, India then?

After all, historical accounts show that famines there were much worse in the past.

What the paper also does not appear to allow for is human adaptability. If climate does change slowly over the next century, farmers around the world will easily adapt to it.

What they cannot adapt to is the variability of weather from year to year. But is there any evidence weather is any more extreme or unpredictable now than in the past?

June 14, 2021 3:54 am

Dear Moderator

Please delete my comments awaiting approval. I changed my mind. I don’t want to comment after all. Thank you.

Climate believer
June 14, 2021 4:01 am

Well I did try and read the paper, it was not a pleasurable experience, and I am none the wiser for it.

I often wonder if we weren’t told 24/7 that the climate is changing everywhere, would anyone have even noticed?

If you took an English farm labourer from 1780, and put him to work making hay in June 2021, would he be shocked by the sudden difference in climate?

The recent record rice production figures out of India, 121 million metric tonnes, makes it hard for anyone who prefers reality to computer modelling to consider that the supposed changing Indian climate is having a deleterious effect economically, especially if you compare that to the 50 million tonnes they were producing back in the sixties.

I keep looking for this “climate change™” that’s going to ruin us all, but I can’t find it.

(Indian temperature graph)

Last edited 1 month ago by Climate believer
June 14, 2021 4:05 am

Guesses at best.

Andrew Kerber
June 14, 2021 6:12 am

Hmm. Reads like a joke publication. Is he even serious?

June 14, 2021 7:05 pm

Tol is an economist. Predicting the economy based on climate predictions is likely to give unreliable answers…..

Theresa W Chavez
June 14, 2021 11:53 pm

Actually, not only scientific circle, many industries are also doing their bit to address the climate change. Carmakers like Porsche are among them. They are sparing no efforts to improve the emission filtration, so as to emit as little waste gas as possible.

Ulric Lyons
June 15, 2021 4:39 pm

“Weather can be seen as noise, but that noise may well be correlated with climate”

The noise drives climate. Higher solar wind temperature causes positive NAO/AO which is associated with La Nina and a colder AMO, and lower solar wind temperature causes negative NAO/AO which is associated with El Nino and a warmer AMO. Then the warmer SST’s are reducing low cloud cover.

Matthew Sykes
June 16, 2021 11:56 pm

Holstein cows do well in Denmark but jasmine rice does not” Yet rice grows in the Carmargue in France which I have seen ringed with ice in winter, it is brutally cold in winter there.

And Thailand has cows.

His very premise is wrong, and so will his models be.

Theresa W Chavez
June 21, 2021 12:53 am

The empirical strategy is based on the following assumptions. Climate affects production possibilities. This is obvious for agriculture. Climate also affects the auto industry. Some car manufacturers, such as Suzuki, focus on the efficient use of green energy to reduce the use of oil. In addition, automobile exhaust emissions are also gradually reduced. In this way, greenhouse gas emissions will slow down.

%d bloggers like this: