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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Pollution Penance: "Column B"


Anonymous said...

This guy should have done some research.

Amazingly, he is not the first person to have thought of odds and impacts of scenarios in this way. He might start with the decades-long modeling project executed by the Yale School of Forestry and Department of Economics to do for real what he is showing on a whiteboard. For that matter, he might have read the UN IPCC WG2 and WG3 reports which reference a lot of relevant research on this question.

Here are some (example) problems with his video:

1. His "bad case" is overblown and rhetorical. Under a reasonable scenario for global economic and population growth (Scenario A1B), the IPCC projects about 2.8C increase in global temperatures by 2100. According to any competent modelers (for example, the Yale project), this would lead to about break-even net global economic impacts, i.e., the positive benefits of warming would about equal the negative impacts. It's only when you get to warming of about 4C in 22nd and 23rd centuries that you, according to the IPCC, see a net reduction in global GDP of about 1- 5%. That's a lot of money, but it's hardly the Armageddon that he is describing.

2. According to the IPCC, no global climate model currently predicts any of the disaster scenarios he describes for the next century.

3. Without any quantitative consideration of odds of an outcome, you could apply this same 2X2 matrix argument to the risk of space aliens descending from the sky and killing everybody. Why don't we have crash programs that risk global depression against space aliens and a meteor strike and a global pandemic based on a modified version of Avian Flu and, and, and, and....? Because the list of such anxieties is endless and our resources are finite.

salina said...

One of the fundamental problems with this argument is that both sides seem incapable of finding the pieces of one another's theories that they both can agree upon. Anonymous, I would like to see if there are any aspects of Glumbert's tutorial that you DO think are accurate.