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Member since: Sun Jul 17, 2022, 09:06 PM
Number of posts: 907

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I'll let my words speak for themselves.

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Cost of climate change much greater than current estimate

The Social Cost of CO2, or SC-CO2

An article in WaPo covers a recent study in the journal Nature on the cost of climate change. WaPo: "the monetary toll of climate change will be enormous. The social cost of carbon is an attempt to put a dollar figure on that destruction."

In short, the authors in Nature say that the cost of climate change is almost four times greater than the existing estimate.

from Nature:
"a 2017 report ... highlighted that current SC-CO2 estimates no longer reflect the latest research."
"we show that improved ... methods...substantially increase estimates of the SC-CO2"
"estimate is $185 per tonne of CO2 ...a value 3.6-times higher than the US government’s current value of $51"

The last sentence is the kicker:
"Our higher SC-CO2 values, compared to estimates currently used in policy evaluation, substantially increase the estimated benefits of greenhouse gas mitigation and thereby increase the expected net benefits of more stringent climate policies."

Some of the costs of climate change will be in deaths due to heat, crop failures, forest fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts. Changes in ecosystems will make pandemics more likely as people come into contact with animal reservoirs of pathogens. And there are always the unknown, unexpected factors that the real world excels in throwing at us.

The main point is that improved research methods raise the estimate almost 4 times as much as the current estimate of $51. Personally, I think the $185 number is still way too low. I can't judge the economic factors, but the study partially relies on climate models, which so far are often underestimates of real damage and the rate of change.

One cost factor which seems to be neglected: conflict. Nations and peoples will not suffer in silence. We already see waves of refugees partly driven by climate change; we should expect to see armed conflict due to climate change.

War is expensive.

The conservative platitude "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is common sense, but this research which puts a high number to the value of the prevention can be used to justify the cost of a climate Manhattan Project, a carbon Moon Shot.

WaPo article:

The paper in Nature (the link in the WaPo article doesn't seem to work):
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