17 April, 2011

The Risk of CAGW Is So Low

Dr. Alan Carlin, one of the Environmental Protection Agency’s senior research analysts, has determined that the low risk of CAGW means “that it is not currently worth doing anything to try to control it”;  see “A Multidisciplinary, Science-Based Approach to the Economics of Climate Change”, in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health:
Economic analyses of environmental mitigation and other interdisciplinary public policy issues can be much more useful if they critically examine what other disciplines have to say, insist on using the most relevant observational data and the scientific method, and examine lower-cost alternatives to the change proposed.  These general principles are illustrated by applying them to the case of climate change mitigation, one of the most interdisciplinary of public policy issues. The analysis shows how use of these principles leads to quite different conclusions than those of most previous such economic analyses [...].
The risk of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming appears to be so low that it is not currently worth doing anything to try to control it, including geo-engineering.  [...]
According to Chapter 9 of the IPCC AR4 report all the IPCC climate models predict that there should be a hot spot in the upper troposphere about 5–12 km above the Earth’s surface in the tropics caused by increased evaporation from warmer oceans leading to the accumulation of higher concentrations of water vapor in the upper troposphere [...].  The feedback creates the hotspot and is responsible for much of the temperature rises predicted by the IPCC models.  If non-water vapour greenhouse gases are significantly warming the Earth, the first signs of it are supposed to appear above the tropics.  Since no such hotspot has been found, the models and therefore the UN’s hypothesis concerning feedback are wrong.  [...]
Although it is not always necessary for environmental economists to understand the physical science aspects of the proposed environmental control measures proposed and to determine whether there may be lower-cost means to achieve the benefits desired from the proposed mitigation, it certainly never does any harm and in most cases involving multidisciplinary issues it is vital if economists are to provide realistic and useful advice to decision makers.  Some may object that in this specialized world economists should leave such matters to physical scientists since it is believed that they will know more about them.  The danger, of course, is that economists may place their trust in physical scientists who are either not sufficiently knowledgeable or have a prior bias towards particular physical science hypotheses or mitigation methods to the exclusion of others.  What is needed on the part of economists is an inquiring and open mind, insistence on use of the most relevant observational data and the scientific method, and technical curiosity so as to determine whether there may be lower cost or more efficient alternative methods to achieve whatever the environmental control measures they are evaluating are supposed to achieve.  Economists do not have to carry out the physical science research involved or invent the lower cost control measures, but they do need to recognize which research and control measures meet their needs in these respects and particularly which have been validated by use of the most relevant observational data and the scientific method.

No comments: