Many Climate Economists Reject Climate Models and Turn to Ethical Judgments

For years on these pages, I have written various posts explaining that even if we accept the computer models touted by the IPCC and White House at face value, we still can’t justify aggressive government policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions. For just one example, in September 2014 I wrote a post that used the latest IPCC report’s numbers to demonstrate that the economic costs of capping global warming at 2°C would likely exceed the benefits of avoided climate change damage.

In case any IER readers thought my analysis couldn’t be right, we’ve got independent confirmation from “the other side” that the formal models don’t support the claims of climate alarmists. Specifically, last month David Roberts at Vox—who advocates aggressive government action in this area—posted an article trumpeting a new survey from the Institute for Policy Integrity, which showed that economists publishing in the field of climate change thought that the actual models in the literature were underestimating the danger. (Incidentally, the Institute has its own very curious roots, and appears to have been founded by some very well placed political operatives, including John Podesta, Jack Lew, and Steven Croley, all of late affiliated with the Obama White House.)

For an example of how the 365 economists who responded to the survey were more concerned than the actual published literature, consider the question asking what year would the world start experiencing net negative economic impacts from climate change? Here is the breakdown of the answers:

climate change pie graph 1

Already, notice that the expert respondents are at odds with the alarmist rhetoric that declares destructive climate change is already upon us. As the numbers indicate, 59 percent—a solid majority—thought that climate change would be beneficial for the global economy at least through the year 2025. Moreover, 37 percent of the experts thought that climate change would be beneficial to the global economy until at least the year 2050. Does this match up with the apocalyptic rhetoric coming from Vox and other quarters?

Source: Institute for Energy Research
Date: Jan 12, 2016