Contributed by Kenneth B. Gregory, P. Eng. © 2019
Human-caused climate change is a major issue of our time. Unfortunately, governments and most news media rely on a political organization of the United Nations called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for information and assessments about climate science and policy options. The IPCC relies on climate models that assume all the warming recorded by instruments was caused by human activity despite the overwhelming evidence of large and rapid warming and cooling events before humans could have had any effect on global temperatures. The sun’s activity and intensity has increased through the 20th century. The IPCC falsely attributes natural warming and urban warming to greenhouse gas (GHG) emission warming. It ignores the compelling evidence of natural climate change before 1950 that correlates well with indicators of solar activity.
The temperature history shows an obvious millennium cycle, which strongly indicates that a large portion of the warming since 1850 was a natural recovery from the Little Ice Age that ended about 1850. Several studies of urban warming show strong correlations between warming and indicators of economic development. These effects must be removed from the instrument temperature record to determine the warming effect of human-caused GHG emissions. When the natural warming and the UHIE is accounted for, an energy balance calculation of climate sensitivity implies that continued CO2 emissions will cause only about 0.6 °C of warming from 2018 to 2100.
The climate models average trend of the global bulk atmospheric temperature from 1979 to 2016 is 250% of the trends of the weather balloon and satellite data, so the models are wrong. This is because the models are far too sensitive to GHG.
FUND is an economic model that simulates the welfare impacts of GHG emissions in various regions of the Earth. It shows that Canada’s personal wealth is projected to increase from 2018 to 2100 by a factor of 2.5 despite climate change.
Dr. Richard Tol, an author of FUND, showed in his book “Climate Economics” that the beneficial impact of climate change in Canada continually increases to 1.78% of GDP by 2100, equivalent to over C$100 billion benefit per year. The largest benefits are reduced space heating costs and higher agricultural production.
The previous NDP Alberta Government projected that their climate plan, which includes shutting down coal-fired power plants and imposing carbon taxes, would reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations by 2030 by 0.026 parts per million. This would reduce global temperatures by 0.00007 °C, which is insignificant. EDC Associates Ltd. published a study which estimated the cumulative cost of electricity from 2017 to 2030 will increase by $3.3 to $5.9 billion due to the climate plan.
Warming and CO2 fertilization benefits the agriculture industry as CO2 is plant food and warming increases the area of arable lands. A study of CO2 fertilization of crops shows a global economic benefit of over the 50-year period 1961-2011 of US$4.0 trillion. The annual benefit in 2011 was US$176 billion (2018 dollars).
Studies of satellite imagery shows that the world has greened due to CO2 emissions. A study published in 2016 shows a widespread increase of growing-season leaf area, with the CO2 fertilization effect explaining 70% of the observed greening trend. The greening over 33 years is equivalent to adding a green continent 2/3 times the size of mainland USA.
The Canadian death rate in January is more than 100 deaths/day greater than in August. A study published in 2015 examined 74 million deaths worldwide from 1985 to 2012 and found that the ratio of cold-related to heat-related deaths was a whopping 17 to 1. It appears that most health benefits of warming are not included in economic models of climate change.
On a global basis, the FUND model (Julia version) calculates that the net annual benefit of GHG emissions and warming from 1900 is around US$3 trillion/yr at 2100, with 1.3 °C of warming from 2018. That is, global warming to 2100 is likely net beneficial.
So why are we putting a huge burden on ourselves to prevent a benefit to the extremely wealthy people of the future? If the economic forecasts are correct and future Canadians in 2100 will be 2.5 times wealthier than us today, they can afford to pay for adaptation measures if and when temperatures increase to levels that start to cause damages.