Monday assorted links

by on July 3, 2017 at 12:20 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 James Balch July 3, 2017 at 12:34 pm

1.2% is no joke, but it’s not the end of civilization. I’m not sure if this is gross or net (there may be some offsetting benefits of climate change that push the damage to below the advertised 1.2%). We would all benefit from more sober analysis of this variety as opposed to the standard hysteria and/or denial.

2 The Anti-Gnostic July 3, 2017 at 12:42 pm

These are mathematicians working on computer models. They have no idea what will happen.

3 Axa July 3, 2017 at 12:50 pm

That’s the same argument free trade people give for less manufacturing employment……..average consumer welfare increases, there are offsetting benefits, etc.

So, careful with averages. They look small but impact it’s concentrated on few people, not averaged.

4 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ July 3, 2017 at 12:55 pm

One percent reduction in GDP here, one percent there, and there, pretty soon you are looking at reduced expectations.

5 chuck martel July 3, 2017 at 1:18 pm

Every snow flake that melts below the 60th parallel means a .0000000072 percentage reduction in GDP. Each drop of water produced by the melting snowflake raises GDP .000000000088 percentage points. It can also be made into beer.

6 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ July 3, 2017 at 1:44 pm

The interesting thing is that the “one percent here, one percent there” kind of straddle the political divide. Consecutives are glib with environmental externalities, liberals are glib with rent control. Etc.

7 Ray Lopez July 3, 2017 at 1:21 pm

@#1 – global warming cuts “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”

I think 1.2%/yr nominal is too low. I think the study may be counting pollution abatement as ‘growth’. That is, if you have to hire a contractor to dump a load of sand on your Ocean City, MD property because of global warming, does that count as growth? Yes it does, but it should not, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window (GDP measures production, not stock of wealth or ‘net worth’ of a country).

8 rayward July 3, 2017 at 1:45 pm

+1. Of course, that’s the problem with economics: it’s only about the money.

9 rayward July 3, 2017 at 1:52 pm

I reside on the southeast coast, and I can’t for the life of me understand all these people moving to the area and buying expensive homes. Do they not read the newspaper? We used to say: it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. Now we say: it’s not the hurricanes, it’s the high tide flooding. When it rains at high tide during the full moon, downtown Charleston floods, locals getting around on the streets in kayaks rather than cars. Do the thousands moving to Charleston not notice?

10 Moo cow July 3, 2017 at 4:46 pm

Can they buy insurance? Or is it all back stopped by the US Government?

11 Brian Donohue July 3, 2017 at 5:14 pm

I can’t for the life of me understand why someone who describes Charleston in those terms would choose to live there. I presume you are free to go.

12 Alex July 3, 2017 at 6:16 pm
13 mulp July 4, 2017 at 12:53 am

Didn’t the Republican government declare climate change illegal, so the flooding, heavy rains, drought, wild fires, etc are all fake news?

14 Jer July 3, 2017 at 1:54 pm

Not convinced.
People, in general, are lazy, greedy, and stupid – but not evil and it is not their fault (some say complacent and irrational but where’s the headline value in that).
Only through ‘reasonable’ disruption (…mother of adversity and all) do people innovate, adapt, and strive — and thus grow.
Climate change is a ‘reasonable’ disruption that should be addressed by adapting our status-quo and seeing it as an opportunity to give ‘the most deserved productivity kick-in-the-ass’ to underperforming individuals, communities, and cultures -all under the guise/ purpose of ‘greening it all up’. Different groups will seize different opportunities and slants from the ’cause’ therefore ‘networking’ the solution.
This is so much better than the ‘benefits of war’ disruption on economic, technological, and cultural-focussing acceleration (which is the best source of GDP nudging) that is occasionally needed. It has all the temporary displacement, sentimental risk, and widespread existential (but not really) threat without the ideological rivalry from actual warring factions. Nothing could have been better for modernizing the poorer parts of the world than climate change and nothing better for maintaining and maximizing GDP.

15 ChrisA July 3, 2017 at 2:10 pm

The question is what would “effective” control of global warming cost? I would guess that it would be in excess of 1.2% of GDP if we had to install and pay for a worldwide bureaucracy (and their associated failures). Without this worldwide control it is hard to see how countries won’t similarly cheat, as this is exactly a tragedy of the commons problem, made even worse by the low impact. I mean if you were India would you really trade some short term growth today to lift your people out of $1/day poverty to maintain US GDP growth at 1 percentage points higher?

16 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ July 3, 2017 at 4:31 pm

The best bet is that no one will do effective “control” until some subset of countries or regions suffer obvious harm, and then they will try to change things.

The US military understood this early, and then they put “warming risks” on their own plate.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/14/military-experts-climate-change-significant-security-risk

17 Todd K July 3, 2017 at 7:41 pm

Well don’t just stand there! Increase the military budget to prepare to fight an illusion!

18 Troll Me July 4, 2017 at 12:07 am

Who ever said a worldwide bureaucracy would be needed?

And even then, even if it were to be the cost-equivalent of an entire second United Nations (which is utterly ridiculous, considering the huge diversity of issues taken up under the UN, already including various things tied to climate change), you’re still talking small fractions of a percent of global GDP, i.e., nearly irrelevant compared to the numbers being cited.

Also, the study reports figures for the case of the USA alone, and thus is not comparable to questions of global (i.e., the entire world) costs.

19 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 11:23 pm

Also, don’t forget that planet earth includes people outside of the USA.

For example those who live in geographically small countries whose citizens will not have the same range of geographic mobility required to take it upon themselves to improve their situation.

20 joe July 3, 2017 at 12:34 pm

#6: the new Iron Sheik

21 The other jim July 3, 2017 at 12:47 pm

1: Next up, the economic cost of the fact that it gets dark at night.

22 Kevin Erdmann July 4, 2017 at 1:54 am
23 yo July 3, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Now we’re posting a lot of links on Ethereum, I’d like to know about tax implications of those fancy blockchain currencies. Do you have to pay sales tax if you sell any? If you get any income out, is it taxed as a capital gain? Are you evading taxes if you don’t report gains? What could the IRS do to find out that you didn’t pay your taxes?

24 Moo cow July 3, 2017 at 4:48 pm

Not much. Enforcement gets cut every year. I wouldn’t worry about it. Yet.

25 hey July 4, 2017 at 6:05 pm

tax implications are capital gains, expenses are either cost to buy in or cost of mining rig and electricity.

2 things are certain, death and taxes. so yes; you’re evading taxes if you don’t report gains. Best to hire a good accountant, or just self-report to the best of your abilities and hope for the best (like Moo cow says, enforcement gets cut every year)

26 Axa July 3, 2017 at 12:56 pm

#2: Scaling…..what about the electricity invoice? http://digiconomist.net/ethereum-energy-consumption

27 daguix July 4, 2017 at 5:24 am

Exact. If we follow Moore’s law, it needs an efficiency improvement to the order of magnitude of decades to become something practical for humanity. They may be visionaries, but it’s like starting an internet company in the mid-70s.

28 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ July 3, 2017 at 1:01 pm

6. Such things, in moderation, might be harmless fun. But we do not live in such moderate times.

https://twitter.com/SweetieWalker/status/881845466257915904

29 Jeff R July 3, 2017 at 1:07 pm

This is wrestling; he’ll be the hero in four months.

30 Al July 3, 2017 at 3:57 pm

What a circle jerk.

It’s great to see people pushing back on the SJW agenda. 4 more years, please.

31 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ July 3, 2017 at 4:34 pm

You know what they say. If you can’t be right, at least be Anti-Left.

32 FYI July 3, 2017 at 1:19 pm

#1 – I find it frustrating that any global warming argument ignores the fact that there are many ways to address it. Just for a second, let’s imagine that climate change was happening due to some external factor to us. Would we simply be crying about losses and trying to implement some sort of wealth redistribution system? I don’t think so. We would be doing what we always do when presented with major issues: looking at ways to adapt. This mad crusade after a political solution here seems to make things worse, because there are ALWAYS some political benefit to be gained when you oppose a certain political view.

Only engineering can “save” us here.

33 Axa July 3, 2017 at 1:41 pm

Indeed, I’ve seen this too many times. Flood barriers are built or river channels are covered with concrete to “protect” houses and it costs millions. During the next storm the barrier and homes are destroyed.

It would be way cheaper to tell people that they’re is NO solution, then offer a plot and money to build a home in a safer location. That’s why we have cars, if people must work in valuable but risky land, why not commute everyday?

34 a counterclockwise witness July 3, 2017 at 2:04 pm

The 1767 Dictionnaire de Musique by Jean-Jacques Rousseau claims that Swiss mercenaries were threatened with severe punishment to prevent them from singing their Swiss songs. The Romantic connection of nostalgia, the Kuhreihen and the Swiss Alps was a significant factor in the enthusiasm for Switzerland, the development of early tourism in Switzerland and Alpinism that took hold of the European cultural elite in the 19th century.

35 Jan July 3, 2017 at 2:49 pm

Is there a proposal to pay people to relocate? I’ve not seen it, though I’m sure some of my friends in the GOP have extended the offer.

36 FYI July 3, 2017 at 3:41 pm

Pay to relocate??? Who paid your family to “relocate” to their current location? People should (and will) move on their own as soon as we stop subsidizing their current stay. This is not new, it has happened before. Alternatively, people from a certain community can choose to stay and pay for whatever is needed to do so. Look at NL. What is absurd in my mind is to think that a technical problem is being treated (unsuccessfully) as a political problem and that is the only way to go about it.

37 byomtov July 3, 2017 at 5:29 pm

I’m all for eliminating subsidies, but that’s far from the whole story.

If your behavior makes my house uninhabitable, am I just supposed to bear the brunt, while you go merrily on your way?

38 A Democrat July 3, 2017 at 5:16 pm

Yes, paying people to move under such circumstances is a basic human right. And I can make it happen for YOU, via the magic of OPM!

39 Thanatos Savehn July 3, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Exactly. I was driving back from taking my son to college summer orientation (wherein they went to great lengths to make me believe that my money will be well spent) and passed through a few “new” towns along the way. My route took me along and over some of the great rivers of the Midwest and the ride reminded me that they too change. Sometimes they leave the “old” town and its ferry high and dry as they cut a new channel. Sometimes, they rise violently sweeping the old town away and chasing survivors to higher ground. In other news, the ancient city of Troy is now miles inland … and somehow the world didn’t end.

40 Troll Me July 4, 2017 at 12:11 am

The USA is a relatively privileged place.

What of those who live near the water in Bangladesh, and who have neither insurance nor income to deal with such issues?

41 Axa July 4, 2017 at 3:04 am

That’s precisely the problem. US people think that if the Dutch are protected against the sea they can pay for it too, but no.

It would be economical to protect Manhattan. But, low density suburbs? We’ll find rich people is not that rich.

42 Alex July 3, 2017 at 6:13 pm
43 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 11:30 pm

Because hypothetically we could do nothing about it, therefore the best approach is to do nothing about it and pick up the pieces (adapt)?

It is exceedingly likely that the superior strategy involves combinations of a) doing something about it and b) adaptation.

Argumentation towards completely disregarding an entire class of approaches towards addressing an issue will lead to massively inferior solutions.

44 Alistair July 4, 2017 at 2:28 pm

Yes, agree about optimal policy mix; but the optimal mix depends on the marginal costs.

I guess it’s quite cheap to reduce carbon emissions at the margin, but doing on it societal scales looks exorbitant. The adaptation strategy simply looks like a cheaper path to the same level of benefit at the margin. I wouldn’t be surprised if the “optimal” investment was a 10%-90% mix.

45 Troll Me July 4, 2017 at 3:24 pm

“I guess it’s quite cheap to reduce carbon emissions at the margin, but doing on it societal scales looks exorbitant”.

This kind of logic might suggest that city-level approaches (or other lower levels of government) are suitable for many types of action, while higher levels of government might just tweak incentives a bit, for example a revenue neutral tax of a magnitude within the range of monthly volatility of oil prices.

Main thought being about “on a societal scale”, and then thinking of the likely inefficiencies built into activist micromanagement directed from higher levels of government … probably not that efficient. Since cap and trade seems too complicated to explain in 140 characters or a 5 second sound bite, then leadership on the part of most local governments does not seem unreasonable as a locus of risk/cost mitigation (whether involving more of a) or b) ).

46 massimo July 3, 2017 at 1:35 pm

Funny but tragic. When I read about the museom on capitalism, I thought it was a wonderful idea. I was thinking about an exposition with the replicas of a house of a medieval king bedroom or the dwellings of 99.5% of population until 1800, one room with a bunch of animals to keep warm, with all the associated smells, compared to a replica of a one-bedroom apartment in a contemporary high-rise, with running hot and cold water, sanitation, air-conditiong and heating, television and Internet, etc. Or about how they harvested wheat at the times of the American revolution and how they do it, with the (what? 100 or 200x?) increase in labour productivity.
And I found an article that is so obviously biased to mention that it is actually a museum of the “evils” of capitalism only in the 8th or 9th line, as by default everybody should take for granted that capitalism is awful, and, just like the plague, a museum about it is a museum about something that cannot possibly have anything good to say about the subject.
You have to wonder what twisted and biased education system we have.

47 Al July 3, 2017 at 4:00 pm

+1

the administration should ensure that no federal dollars go to any liberal arts programs.

48 The Engineer July 3, 2017 at 4:28 pm

How is this even a “museum”, anyway? More truthfully, perhaps it is a contemporary art exhibition. Gold bars made of dirt? Come on.

#sad

49 Massimo July 3, 2017 at 11:33 pm

Actually, AI, the “administration” should get the fuck out of education, both in terms of managing and financing.

As Murray Rothbard once said, “nobody ever did a student occupation of a Berlitz school”. If you pay, you look to get the best ROI from your investment, therefore, you study hard and look for knowledge and skills that you actually need.

50 mkt42 July 4, 2017 at 12:05 pm

‘As Murray Rothbard once said, “nobody ever did a student occupation of a Berlitz school”.’

OTOH, Trump University was sued by several of its students.

51 byomtov July 4, 2017 at 2:47 pm

Who cares what Rothbard said?

Have you looked at the performance of for-profit universities? Here’s a hint: it’s lousy. Libertarians would be more persuasive if they didn’t, like Marxists, elevate their theories above plain facts.

52 Massimo July 4, 2017 at 9:36 pm

Rothbard said many insightful things, although in this case it was just a joke.

I have no idea what you mean by a “lousy performance”. In terms of financial results? Or educational results? Anyway the real benchmark you should look for are not Universities, their business model is broken, with the exception of medicine or law, where regulations hamper innovation. Check out the new coding bootcamps like Flatiron or Fullstack, or Edx and Coursera.

Socialdemócrats would be more persuasive if, like socialist, did not confuse my money with theirs.

53 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 11:35 pm

Citizens must be cogs on wheels in the making.

Free thought and critical thinking are a threat to the next Stalin, and thus must be sanctioned against. God forbid a computer programmer, for example, take it upon themselves to reflect on the ethical dimensions of their work when deciding how much they can be bought for.

54 Sacastic July 3, 2017 at 2:57 pm

Inequality? Really? They can’t make a case for disaster so it’s about induced inequality in like 50 years assuming no mitigation. Really?

That is what we’re all supposed to be evil morons if we “deny” (where in turn “denial” actually means acceptance just not wanting to spend trillions on and turn over more power to the state).

The climate deranged left is engaged in one giant bluff.

55 Al July 3, 2017 at 4:01 pm

+1

56 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 11:42 pm

I thought the right wing was all about taking responsibility for actions.

If an action puts a cost onto a third party, this should be priced in, including redistribution, to the extent that it may be practical to do so.

57 Alistair July 4, 2017 at 1:08 pm

Reasonable. But you need beyond reasonable doubt for tort. And you can’t claim before the damage occurs.

58 Troll Me July 4, 2017 at 3:29 pm

But that would prevent ever taking preventative action.

And prevention is usually much cheaper than picking up the pieces after.

The question is not about reasonable doubt. There is basically little doubt. The question is whether solutions are worth the coordination costs they would entail (these costs would rise with efforts to sabotage such coordination), in addition to distributional questions.

For example, it is well accepted that a car must insure prior to the instance of third party damage. If car loving Americans can accept such pre-covered liabilities for cars, why not be more consistent on the matter?

The USA is the global laggard continually preventing successful action on this front, and don’t think that no one will remember that in 50 or 100 years time.

59 Alistair July 4, 2017 at 6:04 pm

You have a reasonable point about allowing preventive action in situations of high confidence; though I guess a true Coasean solution would just require you to be compensated in advance rather than retrospectively. As to the compensation itself, well, even if we grant AGW at high confidence (i.e. most warming is anthropogenic), there’s reasonable doubt about the forcing factors and the subsequent social cost of carbon. You know how wide the estimates are here.

“And prevention is usually much cheaper than picking up the pieces after.”

No, not always. And not in this case, I believe. See the optimal mitigation / adaptation argument. 1.2% GDP pa in 70 years? In a near worst-case scenario? Put a discount rate on that and what’s left? This study, even though modestly flawed, definitely favours the “do nothing / do little ” investment case.

Do minimal. Perhaps with a bit more research on the edges to lower tail risk and possibly reduce mitigation costs..

60 Alistair July 4, 2017 at 7:06 pm

“The USA is the global laggard continually preventing successful action on this front, and don’t think that no one will remember that in 50 or 100 years time.”

Now, come on….we don’t hold grudges against Germany and Japan and the former Soviet Union at those timescales. Even if a nation is catastrophically wrong, you’ll be forgiven and forgotten 20 years after you change your position. I’d offer the CFC treaty as an example; do the pathfinders for that treaty currently enjoy public credit? Do the holdouts on that treaty enjoy current opprobrium?

61 Troll Me July 4, 2017 at 9:07 pm

Talk to the Chinese about the Opium Wars before deciding that bygones will always be bygones.

Japan and Germany were also completely defeated in military terms in WWII, which presumably helped a lot in moving past what they had done. Hopefully you’re right though …

62 Sarcastic July 6, 2017 at 10:19 am

Nice speech.

That had almost zero to do with my comment.

The left doesn’t think it has to listen or argue. So it goes with religious fanatics.

63 Anon July 3, 2017 at 3:20 pm
64 Edgar July 3, 2017 at 3:32 pm

#6 – trigger warning, goes to the Bezos Post. But speaking of wrestling, how about that GLOW on Netflix, eh? Surprisingly entertaining show.

65 Thanatos Savehn July 3, 2017 at 3:38 pm

#1 The essence of the scientific method is making verifiable predictions. Building a model that samples from several different (cherry picked?) models, and which outputs predictions that can’t be verified (observed) until decades after everyone has forgotten about your model, and then doing a “study” of those outputs given currently fashionable categorical variables … is not science. It’s at best speculation. More likely, as the modeling exercise wasn’t pre-registered, it’s just modeling for grant dollars which only flow towards the production of “evidence” for certain fervently held beliefs.

66 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 11:44 pm

Also, FYI, tobacco causes cancer (statistically speaking, on average).

But we always knew that, and it’s BOOOORING!

67 Edgar July 3, 2017 at 3:55 pm

#1 If I am reading this right, they decided to just chuck CO2 fertilization benefits out the window:

“Average yields in agriculture decline with rising GMST, but higher CO2 concentrations offset much of the loss for the coolest climate realizations in each of the three RCP scenarios. Accounting for estimated effects of CO2 fertilization (SM section B) and precipitation, warming still dominates, reducing national yields ∼9.1 (±0.6 SEM) % per °C (Fig. 3A). Because effects of CO2 are highly uncertain and not derived using the same criteria as other effects, we evaluate the sensitivity of these projections by computing losses without CO2 fertilization (Fig. 3B) and find that temperature and rainfall changes alone would be expected to reduce yields ∼12.1 (±0.7) % per °C.”

And then they decide to minimize benefits of decreased winter heating bills:

“Electricity demand rises on net for all GMST changes, roughly 5.3 (± 0.14) % per °C, because rising demand from hot days more than offsets falling demand on cool days (Fig. 3D and table S13). Because total costs in the energy sector are computed using NEMS, demand is not statistically resampled as other sectors are (SM section G).”

And then they decide that global warming causes crime:

“Property crime increases as the number of cold days—which suppress property crime rates (fig. S4)—falls but then flattens for higher levels of warming because hot days do not affect property crime rates. Violent crime rates increase linearly at a relatively precise 0.88 (±0.04) % per °C in GMST.”

Before confessing they have no idea of what they are talking about to begin with:

“We stress that the results presented here are projections relative to a counterfactual baseline economic trajectory that is unknown and will evolve based on numerous factors unrelated to climate change.”

And so why not just go ahead and assume that all climate change is directly attributable to anthropogenic green house gas emmisisons so they can say can say that their model will allow “that the costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions be weighed against the benefits of doing so.”

And of course Science publishes it. Doesn’t exactly boost one’s confidence in what passes for “science” these days.

68 The Engineer July 3, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Great comment. Any economic analysis involves weighing factors like this. A more honest evaluation would assume a range of outcomes for each individual factor, and perhaps do a monte carlo analysis of all the factors to find the range of possible outcomes for the general case.

I think the bottom line was that the county with the worst projected outcome was somewhere in central Florida, and they projected that some counties in Michigan and upstate New York would do well. I would be willing to bet the authors $1000 that no only will that not come to pass, but the exact opposite outcome will come to pass (central Florida will experience growth, and the rust belt will experience continued decline, irrespective of climate).

69 justin July 3, 2017 at 4:28 pm

Well, I am not sure you are reading this right.

Just to clarify in case anybody gets to your comment:

– they do take co2 fertilization into account (except in one figure)

– they don’t seem to be minimizing the benefits of winter heating bills (see negative energy expenditures in the north)

– they don’t necessarily need to know exact economic growth to compute (first order) deviations to baseline growth

(the criminality stuff does seem opaque to me too)

– you don’t need to think that all of the climate change is human caused to understand that these projections are based on increases in anthropogenic emissions (inputs to climate models). There may be other climate forcings.. but these would not be included here. So yes, these results are a highly imperfect but better nothing input to cost-benefit analysis.

And about the results being small: of course they are on average. Climate change is a marginal phenomenon for most people / countries. The danger lies in the extremes, and the distribution of impacts is very unequal. On top of that no one really argued that the US would be a strong net loser with climate change. The story would be very different in the developing world around the equator.

70 edgar July 3, 2017 at 6:20 pm

Thank you for you reply Justin.

On the co2 fertilization, their model uses estimates of co2 fertilization effects for 4 crops – maize, wheat, soybeans, and cotton. These are not even the top 4 since alfalfa is a bigger dollar value crop than cotton in the US. CO2 fertilization benefits to cotton are offset since they also invigorate weed growth which is not an issue with alfalfa, since unlike in a cotton field, the more vigorous alfalfa works to prevent weed growth. Moreover, since a quarter to half of Earth’s vegetated lands have shown significant greening over the last 35 years which some attribute to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, this part of the model seems like a sop rather than a rigorous attempt to identify both benefits and costs.

On the winter heating bills, the supplement says “Specifically, we project changes in residential and commercial electricity demand,residential and commercial total energy expenditures, and electricity generating capacity.” Further, they specifically state that they “constructed representative scenarios that systematically varied the HDDs and CDDs from our baseline and recorded the response of the model in the variables of interest: changes in energy and electricity demand, energy and electricity expenditures and electricity generation capacity.” Not surprisingly they find that electricity increases related to cooling more than offset electricity savings related to reduced heating. But guess what, northern states predominantly use gas to heat and use relatively less electricity. The study is not looking at gas winter heating savings. And the southern states are just the opposite – they predominately use electricity to cool and relatively less gas. This sets off my smell detector. Something seems fishy.

On the baseline growth, sure, if you say so. Nevertheless the model uses projections of labor supply impacts attributable to climate change. I don’t see how the model will be able to be adjusted for future simultaneous labor supply impacts from other non-climate labor market “forcings.”

And since, yes, there are many other climate forcings not-attributable to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, how does the model isolate greenhouse gas forcings from all the rest? To do so would require us to assume that all forcings are cumulative which seems like quite a leap. But, hey, I don’t know anything about it. I don’t have a dog in this fight. I am just wary of being forced to buy more “energy star compliant” appliances that are much more difficult and costly to repair, of having to buy expensive Chinese light bulbs instead of cheap disposable US made ones, and toilets that don’t flush. These science boys just seem a little full of themselves. FWIW I did read scientific critiques of this study as well but none of them made any sense to me either: https://judithcurry.com/2017/07/01/estimating-the-cost-to-america-of-damage-from-climate-change-in-the-21st-century/

71 justin July 3, 2017 at 7:23 pm

Sure. Felt like I needed to do it, because your criticism regarding co2 fertilization was blantantly wrong..

Your point regarding them only considering electricity and forgetting natural gas seems valid, though, as far as I can tell. That seems like a pretty bad omission indeed..

As far as forcings go, I am pretty sure climate models would not predict any upward temperature trends without the additional GHG. So you can safely assume that differences to baseline are due to (anthropogenic) GHGs.

72 Troll Me July 4, 2017 at 12:22 am

Consumer behaviour about investments in energy efficient devices is an excellent example of irrational consumer behaviours that is extremely easy to model.

Do you want the $500 fridge that costs $240 a year to run or the $600 model that costs $200 to run?

Rates or return can run ten times higher than the stock market, and yet you’re complaining about the up front cost of the bulb. Also, when comparing prices, compare apples to apples.

73 Troll Me July 4, 2017 at 12:22 am

Rates OF return

74 Alistair July 4, 2017 at 12:27 pm

Consumers have much less capital and more uncertainty on their time horizon than the typical stock buyer; what is unexpected about demanding higher rates of return? Especially in the case of white goods with declining real costs…

75 Troll Me July 4, 2017 at 3:34 pm

Consider the $5 light bulb with a lifetime operating cost of $50, compared to the $1 light bulb with a lifetime operating cost of $100.

Capital constraints are not the issue (i.e., I’m referring to cases where that’s not the issue). People just seem to be a bit like that unless they go out of their way to explicitly plan/calculate for it.

The declining real costs aspect is interesting. I don’t think many people defer an energy efficient fridge purchase under the expectation that a more efficient fridge will be available next year at a net better economic value implicit in the deferral. But the general aspect of declining real costs might lead to a tendency towards indifference or delay on the matter …

76 Alistair July 4, 2017 at 6:11 pm

The lightbulb one is a better example for your case, if true. For larger-value items which are a significant proportion of short term resources, we might expect quite high discount rates. Amazingly, people still buy insurance for white goods; so they either can’t do the maths like you say, or can’t afford to be $500 out-of-pocket.

I was a bit worried about the uncertainty in the planning horizon too; unlike stock investors, consumers are more uncertain of future need to replace the fridge due to a breakdown, new kitchen, unexpected move, etc.

77 Brian Donohue July 3, 2017 at 4:29 pm

“Because effects of CO2 are highly uncertain…” we conclude that we can’t really say anything with any degree of certainty and have returned remaining funding for this project.

Just kidding!

SCIENCE!

78 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ July 3, 2017 at 4:37 pm

You know what they say. If you can’t be right, at least be ANTI-SCIENCE.

79 Brian Donohue July 3, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Is that what I said? Well, I’m no scientist, but I did take chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and biology in college, because I was operating under an antiquated idea of what it means to be educated.

But yes, any demurring against the purported 97% Consensus That We Must Drastically Change Our Way of Life Now or Be Doomed is most definitely anti-science. Good catch.

80 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ July 3, 2017 at 5:37 pm

It was definitely a generalization, about science, about some other “97%” and not about this paper on its own terms.

And it looks like your pull quote was not about climate, but co2 fertilization effects:

Average yields in agriculture decline with rising GMST, but higher CO2 concentrations offset much of the loss for the coolest climate realizations in each of the three RCP scenarios. Accounting for estimated effects of CO2 fertilization (SM section B) and precipitation, warming still dominates, reducing national yields ∼9.1 (±0.6 SEM) % per °C (Fig. 3A). Because effects of CO2 are highly uncertain and not derived using the same criteria as other effects, we evaluate the sensitivity of these projections by computing losses without CO2 fertilization (Fig. 3B) and find that temperature and rainfall changes alone would be expected to reduce yields ∼12.1 (±0.7) % per °C (see also figs. S11 and S12 and tables S10 and S11).

81 Brian Donohue July 3, 2017 at 5:43 pm

If you had read the comment I was replying to, you would know where it came from. Sheesh.

As I understand it, the net impact of higher CO2 on vegetation to date has been enormously positive. Does global warming get credit for a much greener Earth today than we would have had otherwise? Or is that just part of the baseline?

82 Alistair July 4, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Rainfall changes are important too. The trouble is that these can’t (haven’t) been predicted with any spatial-temporal accuracy. It would be great to have accurate regional projections for the main determinants of crop yield, but with the best will in the world, we can’t say we have the accuracy. Heck, the General Climate Models struggle to get anything beyond the continental level.

The paper means well, but it’s reach exceeds it’s grasp.

83 Troll Me July 3, 2017 at 11:47 pm

Most work on C02 fertilization that appeals to anti-AGW people focuses on partial effects.

To be consistent, you would need to acknowledge that when the number of days over 40C goes from 2 or 3 a year to 10 a year, then the amount of heat stress damage will more than undo whatever partial effects of higher CO2 levels might have.

84 Alistair July 4, 2017 at 12:13 pm

Fair point, but depends on the variety and management. Maize is pretty resistant to heat stress; might be made more so. Reasonable adaptation is allowed.

Overall, I’m not convinced either CO2 fertilisation or heat stress are large compared to potential rainfall changes. Let’s try and keep magnitude of effects in perspective.

85 Troll Me July 4, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Good point about magnitude.

On rainfall, it might be safe to assume that global estimates will underestimate costs. Because in a fixed land title system, or even in a system with common or shared/rotating land rights, there will not be access to land in other locations. So the place that loses rain might not have economic mobility to go to where the rain goes, and thus the economic costs would be higher than one might guess.

For example, net rainfall could increase, which would be good for both economically productive agriculture and increasing CO2 absorption, but the socioeconomic costs could be systematically underestimated by ignoring the millions who cannot move to where the rain goes. For example, if the west of Lake Chad sees less rain (currently some ten million or so are facing potentially imminent famine due to drought), it will not help them if it rains more in Congo, where they cannot move to.

86 Alistair July 4, 2017 at 12:06 pm

The agricultural yield results show far too much noise to be believable, in total. Adjacent counties have wildly different outcomes. They can’t possibly be calling rainfall and temperature accurately at that resolution. Resolution is in excess of accuracy; sign of a cracked model.

87 Troll Me July 4, 2017 at 3:41 pm

10 years ago you would be right. The most advanced economic modelling on the question in 2008 was still working at 2.5 km or 500m resolution.

Now, you can count birds by satellite: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/05/space-birdwatching/526044/

88 Alistair July 4, 2017 at 6:55 pm

I’d suggest it’s not a problem of measurement at this scale; it’s a problem of model accuracy at this scale. We are all very impressed by the satellite geosciences, but…

The confidence limits on individual county outcomes in the model must be large and spatially correlated compared to variance in local means, especially if adaptation is allowed. There should a much “smoother” plot with less entropy. I sorta know my way around these kind of geospatial stats and the minimum scale at which it is justified to plot them; this just looks a bit weird in a spurious accuracy sort of way; the New York July weather graph gives me the same uneasy feeling.

89 Scott Gustafson July 3, 2017 at 4:10 pm

#1 Didn’t we do this at least once before? So did GDP increase or decrease during the medieval warm period? How about during the Roman Warm Period?

90 Larry Siegel July 5, 2017 at 5:49 am

Increase, in the North Temperate zones, but we don’t have much information about the tropics.

91 Matthew Young July 3, 2017 at 4:37 pm

Scaling Ethereum?

Auto traded savings and loan trading pits manage monetary congestion and does a better job than traditional banking. Bitcoiners and eutherites are just now figuring out. Tim Cook is trying to patent the technology and shut down the use of money everywhere. But Tim will fail as the technology has a clear prior art path. The idea is simple, why wait for a ledger entry, just put the cash on deposit. Or why wait for ledger service when you can take out a loan.

S&L tech works best with each party having a secure and honest digital wallet in their hand. Ledger Nano S – USB Smartcard Hardware Wallet almost meets the requirement.

We are doing something called the no arbitrage cash layer. All auto traded, self regulated and no humans allowed. All accounts on record are bot managed. If anyone wants to form a automated savings and loan trading pit, search around til you find my blog, the method is on one of my pages.

92 Matthew Young July 3, 2017 at 4:45 pm

Why do we have two posts on the subject here?

Yesterday was intro to etheurem, today is congestion management. Why the interest? Is it because the entire derivative industry, all 60 trillion of it, is going full auto traded cash? Are we tired of HFT skimming from the top? Does government rig the tradebook? Is current banking theory full of baloney? Is it the monopoly licenses handed to exchanges by government? Or are we tired of holding back the economy for eight years while we babysit a bankrupt Congress.?

93 Alex July 3, 2017 at 6:25 pm

Are the effects of sea-level rise taken into account in this study? What is the percentage of damage that comes from sea-level rise?

94 Alex July 3, 2017 at 7:11 pm

Okay they have a full text available. Good! I see from Figure 4F that the damage is not likely to be more than 0.2% of GDP. Also, I don’t see anything about adaptation, but adaptation is crucial to understanding damage from sea level.

95 Alistair July 4, 2017 at 11:51 am

+1. Storm damage is nearly all explained by 2 things

1) Exposure (i.e. the extent to which you build vulnerable stuff on vulnerable land)

2) Storm surge/extreme precipitation (i.e. the extent of unpleasant changes in weather systems.)

The basic “sea level” rise is almost irrelevant compared to those 2 factors. But everyone thinks “Waterworld…”

96 daguix July 4, 2017 at 5:19 am

2) Bitcoin has been around for 8 years now and companies working on this subject have attracted millions of dollars of investments. Those “easy” economies of scale in the order of magnitude of x100 should have already happened by now. I am skeptical of seeing those kinds of improvements in the near future. If they just wait for Moore’s law, it is at least 10 years from now, which means twice the average lifespan of any venture in the software industry. So decentralization by blockchain will eventually happen, but it will take much more time than they expect. And it is still unclear if it will gain mass traction or just be like torrent vs youtube.

97 Ricardo July 4, 2017 at 9:19 am

Right, most people like the idea of the legal system, deposit insurance, fraud protection on credit cards, etc., limiting their losses when something goes wrong with a transaction. Bitcoin cannot provide that and its transaction costs coupled with uncertainty over the currency’s future value don’t give it huge competitive advantages. It will probably remain a niche product catering to people trying to keep transactions secret from their governments and/or spouses.

98 Matthew Young July 4, 2017 at 1:08 pm

This post is worth correcting.
Right now all crypto currencies scale better than the tax dollar. I can send bitcoins to any person in the world over any reasonable chat app. I can send them as fast as my computer, and it is all bearer cash.

It is block chain that does not scale, but then neither to Fed board meetings scale very well.

Or take another example. Give me the code for Swift, the central bank money transfer protocol. let me change, USD for BTC, and Swift still works just fine shipping bitcoins.

What is going on here is that crypto freaks are just now learning how a savings and loan works, they had never seen one before, evidently. Any and all crypto coins can be managed by a savings and loan, because they are all bearer cash.

The is no scaling problem, there never was. What we had was ledger services, block chain miners, attempting to grab market share from the S&L tech.

99 Alistair July 4, 2017 at 11:43 am

1.2 % isn’t negligible, but it’s not huge. It’s about what I (a lukewarmist) might have guessed.

A few concerns. Firstly, I’d like to see how the study handled the adaptation measures; they seem to be hard to estimate. A lot of previous studies badly overstate damage by assuming no adaptation, which is nuts. Secondly, I’d like to see how confident they are with US regional-level effects. None of the regional climate models in operation that I know of have good spatial/temporal accuracy; I’m not sure you can apportion any damage so precisely as this. Finally, I’d also caution that RCP 8.5 is the most “extreme” scenario in the IPCC; there are several more restrained ones which look like better fits to actual emission growth.

Anyway, if we work with these numbers, then the Copenhagen consensus looks right; it’s not “worth” spending the money on avoiding climate change; better to buy a mop and bucket and clear up the mess.

100 Troll Me July 4, 2017 at 3:51 pm

With 1 week’s notice, you can fly from New Orleans to almost any US city for the equivalent to a few days’ work at the minimum wage. No entry visas are required to take that flight.

The people who will face potentially catastrophic risks, even assuming that they were legally allowed to go to a better place (whether to avoid flood risk or drought risk, etc.), and even then under the assumption that they even have documents … well, it takes a long time to save up for a flight like that when you formerly made less than $1-2 a day and are faced with a complete absence of economic opportunity due to the disaster.

Does your idea of “buy a mop and bucket and clear up the mess” involves the ability to relocate for those who presently earn $1 a day and might be stuck on the wrong side of a border in a situation that will leave them faced with flood or drought, etc?

101 mkt42 July 4, 2017 at 12:12 pm

3: the reference to the game “Anti-Monopoly” made me do a double-take. I’d thought that they’d been successfully sued by Parker Brothers for trademark infringement but it turns out that they’ve been able to keep selling their game.

We have a copy of the original game. I thought it might become a collectors’ item due to its manufacture and sales being prohibited, but oh well hurrah for competitive markets.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Monopoly

102 Elias July 4, 2017 at 2:17 pm

1.2% per +1 degree is a lot compounded over time. On the other hand, there are probably plenty of efforts that can be undertaken to offset that 1.2% shortfall that are significantly less costly than reversing global warming. Removing NYC zoning laws alone would probably get you there.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: