Biden administration downplays climate change again, right-wingers use it as argument to conclude nothing should be done about it

I’ve seen this dynamic play out so many times now, that I insist on commenting on it. It’s often argued that inflating the risks of climate change leads to despair and causes people to do nothing about it. But in my experience, the exact opposite happens: Liberals in positions of power downplay the impact of climate change, which leads to conservatives believing them at face value and concluding nothing should be done.

I’m dumb enough to visit ZeroHedge every once in a while, because I want to know what the average disillusioned American schmuck thinks about the world. And so I find this article. It is the perfect illustration of my point.

I’ll cite it here and we will look at the raw data.

Despite endless fearmongering in numerous places, a study by the White House Council of Economic Advisors shows climate change will have little impact on GDP.

Transition Risks of Climate Change on Macroeconomic Forecasting

We are told by the Biden administration, the UN, AOC, and all the Gretas of the world that a rise in global temperatures in excess of 1.5 degrees would be catastrophic.

—————————————–

So the Biden administration’s council grabs a bunch of economic studies and produces an aggregate model on that basis, which shows that GDP isn’t really affected much by 4 degree Celsius of global warming.

This happens because economists like simple models. They look at how temperatures correlated to economic outcomes in a country in the past and then they look at how temperatures will change in the future and use that to conclude what’s going to happen in the future.

There are many problems with this approach. It is a bit like taking a driver who likes to drink before climbing behind the steering wheel, calculating how much damage his antics have caused him in the past and on that basis projecting how much increased alcohol consumption would cost him in the future.

When I explain it like this, you immediately understand the problem with this approach. If I’ve only ever drunk two glasses before climbing behind the wheel, you don’t know how much four glasses of alcohol would affect my driving skills. And similarly, you don’t know how Phoenix, Arizona is going to deal with temperatures it has never before experienced. Models based on data from the past can’t tell us that.

Finally, you have never experienced the small but important risk of catastrophic outcomes. You’ve never experienced the impact of the car hitting a tree and catching fire. You’ve never experienced the impact of hitting a pedestrian and going to jail. You’ve never experienced the impact of flying through your windshield.

And that’s the problem with every single one of these models. The people who make these models are not physicists and they are not climatologists. So their model can not incorporate the consequences of catastrophic scenarios.

Once I’ve illustrated the shortcomings of the economic models in this aggregate that predict the worst outcomes, you will understand why the libertarians and conservatives are being fooled by the liberals, in the opposite direction they imagine.

Let’s start with that blue line at the top of the chart. Kalkuhl and Wenz.

We have the paper here.

If you would simply read the abstract, you would find them acknowledging the shortcomings of their analysis themselves:

Abstract: We present a novel data set of subnational economic output, Gross Regional Product (GRP), for more than 1500 regions in 77 countries that allows us to empirically estimate historic climate impacts at different time scales. Employing annual panel models, long-difference regressions and cross-sectional regressions, we identify effects on productivity levels and productivity growth. We do not find evidence for permanent growth rate impacts but we find robust evidence that temperature affects productivity levels considerably. An increase in global mean surface temperature by about 3.5°C until the end of the century would reduce global output by 7–14% in 2100, with even higher damages in tropical and poor regions. Updating the DICE damage function with our estimates suggests that the social cost of carbon from temperature-induced productivity losses is on the order of 73–142$/tCO2 in 2020, rising to 92–181$/tCO2 in 2030. These numbers exclude non-market damages and damages from extreme weather events or sea-level rise.

They’re economists. They don’t know how to model the damage from extreme weather or sea-level rise. And if we open the study, we find they’re excluding what they estimate to be the main source of economic damage so far: Loss of life.

Non-market damages such as loss of life, conflicts and violence, biodiversity and ecosystem damages are not captured (confer to Howard and Sterner (2017) for a comprehensive overview of climate damage estimates based on various approaches). In particular, years of life lost are not considered in our analysis. This climate impact has been found to constitute the major share of the costs of global warming in the United States (Hsiang et al., 2017).

Do you see the insanity of this? “People die from climate change and this has the biggest cost for the economy. But we’re not going to include that cost in our analysis.” And then the White House economists take this study and include it as their worst case(!) scenario, on the basis of which they project the impact of climate change.

And then the libertarian and conservative bloggers read the White House economists conclusions, take their fancy chart, don’t bother asking themselves where the data came from and conclude that you can warm up our planet without damaging the economy and so the Biden administration shouldn’t try to stop emissions to begin with!

The other papers cited all engage in some variety of this same behavior. They look at historical data, for correlations between GDP and temperature. This can not tell you anything useful and I’ll just give you an example to illustrate this.

Imagine you live in Kentucky. Agriculture is 2% of GDP. A natural disaster strikes, a heatwave that causes all harvests to fail. The rest of the world is unaffected. Kentuckians remains calm. This reduces GDP by 2%.

Now imagine all harvests fail, the rest of the US suffers the same problem and other nations refuse to export food. The other 98% of GDP in Kentucky is entirely dependent on agriculture functioning as necessary. You can’t work if you’re hungry, or suffer severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

When all countries have temperatures at the high range of the historical data simultaneously, in other words, exactly what’s going to happen, the damage caused as a result is multiplied.

We’re already witnessing this outcome. Greece doesn’t have enough firefighting planes, to contain all the wildfires. As a result, the simultaneous wildfires cause more damage than they would if they occurred separately. And tourists who had to flee as their hotel was on fire aren’t going to return to islands like Rhodes, which depend on tourists for income.

For Rhodes, tourism is not just a sector of the economy. Everything else that takes place on the island is only viable due to tourism. If the tourists don’t show up, you have no income. If you have no income, you can’t spend any money. Instead of getting her hair cut and her nails done, the maid at the hotel does it herself. The government misses tax revenue. And without tax revenue, it can’t afford to maintain the roads and deliver electricity.

Which brings me to the final, most important point: GDP is an inhuman figure that doesn’t tell us what’s actually happening in our lives. Imagine my garden is flooded, so I spend 200 dollar to repair the fence. I would’ve preferred spending that 200 dollar renting an AirBnB, but because of the flood I don’t have the time and money.

For an economist, there is no difference. I spent 200 bucks. This means someone earned 200 bucks. This means GDP is up by 200 bucks. Taken to its natural conclusion, you could imagine that climate change will increase GDP, because countries like the Netherlands with a stable population will nonetheless need to spend money constructing houses far away from the coast due the rising sea level.

For the people it means they’ll live in hastily constructed ugly flats, sure. Elderly people who have lived their whole life in a town will be forced to move. But GDP is up!

Statistics allow people to believe the sort of nonsense common sense would immediately reveal to be insanity. With their petty models, these people will have you believe that 4 degree Celsius of global warming would reduce GDP by 7%, instead of resulting in the collapse of civilization.

Back to our libertarian blogger:

Assume the worst, and temperatures rise two or three degrees in an amazingly fast 20 years. The White House projects the impact on GDP would be about 1 percent, if that.

That means a GDP that would otherwise be $27.00 trillion would instead be $26.73 trillion. This we are told is catastrophic.

Here you see my point illustrated. The models err on the side of caution. The libertarians then conclude that we don’t have to do anything about the end of the Holocene. Because they think like economists, their brains are incapable of anything beyond comparing numbers.

When people are isolated from nature, they don’t understand nature. And then eventually you reach the point where the American Ron Paul acolytes conclude that number goes up, even if they transform the planet into a desert.

12 Comments

  1. Not sure if you’ve answered this question before, but I’ll ask anyway:

    Why did you feel so compelled to warn humanity about the dangers of these gene-based vaccines when the climate, biodiversity and non-human sentient animals will all benefit hugely from a mass depopulation of humans?

    I understand that you have family members and friends who were vaccinated, but their suffering pales in comparison to the suffering caused by runaway global warming triggered by amplifying positive feedback loops as a result of increased atmospheric greenhouse gases.

    • *as well as the suffering of livestock in factory farms that will be hugely reduced by a mass die off of meat eating humans.

  2. I know the largely inconsequential activity of being an internet commentor. I do apologize for my low quality comments I most of the time refrain from posting. I’m well aware of the typos I make, I barely write anything in English and thus lack practice.

    I grew up with all kinds of animals and I know what they are. I’m no fan of large scale animal farming, but I still don’t think eating meat occasionally is ultimately wrong. I hate cities and live in the countryside, I’m five minutes walking distance away from any forest. I do see what is happening there.

    My ideal world would be a low density Gaul-like country with small patches of hobbit-like hamlets surrounded by forests.

    I’ve been reading you for years and I do thank you for all the work you’ve done. I still haven’t give anything back in return.

    • >My ideal world would be a low density Gaul-like country with small patches of hobbit-like hamlets surrounded by forests.

      Yeah, that’s the ideal world of anyone who is not a CEO, politician or hypersocial normie.

      The hard part is getting there.

      >I’ve been reading you for years and I do thank you for all the work you’ve done. I still haven’t give anything back in return.

      Thanks, appreciate it.

  3. This is kind of a non sequitur but I do want your weigh in.

    I am skeptical of our experts, but also skeptical of the herd. On that basis I’m skeptical of climate narratives but also suspect humans must be causing some form of mass damage to the ecosystem.

    I got curious and looked up a whole bunch of random places on weather underground, then looked up the monthly aggregate temperature from July on every 10th year as far back as it would go. So far I’ve looked at a few cities in California, Wyoming, Minnesota, Kyoto, Oslo, Berlin etc, and essentially what I see is that the July months every tenth year all have average temperature lines oscillating around the same values, with most places having data going back to the fifties.

    I also know that in my own town the microclimates are severely different, you can drive a car from the city block areas of to the farmland or the undeveloped prairie and feel in real time that it’s ten degrees hotter where all the buildings and concrete are.

    Now keep in mind I’m fully comfortable with the global warming hypothesis being true, I’m really indifferent either way, but my own investigation and experience have shown that:

    1) most people are cynical liars, especially the ones occupying prominent and powerful positions on society, such as media, government, and expert consult roles

    2) The actual temperature averages for July haven’t really changed in SEVENTY years in any of the dozen or so scattered places I looked

    3) microclimates are real and urban style developed areas really are hotter than farm or wild land areas

    With that in mind, why shouldn’t I personally conclude that heat islands much better characterize the climate destruction involved? Why wouldn’t I hypothesize that people who already occupy their seats of power on the basis of stirring up hysteria to justify seizing more power, might also be lying about global warming to justify seizing more power, just like I watched them in front of my face lie to seize power during the covid hoax?

    From my perspective, why should I not believe these things?

    If you could at least take a minute to understand why I see it as I do, you might be able to develop better rhetorical methods to convince me and others like me. In fact you should go ahead and practice convincing me personally, because I have no committed resistance to believing your side of it.

    • >I got curious and looked up a whole bunch of random places on weather underground, then looked up the monthly aggregate temperature from July on every 10th year as far back as it would go. So far I’ve looked at a few cities in California, Wyoming, Minnesota, Kyoto, Oslo, Berlin etc, and essentially what I see is that the July months every tenth year all have average temperature lines oscillating around the same values, with most places having data going back to the fifties.

      1. If you’re just going to randomly click around like that, you’re not going to find the signal, it’s drowned in the noise.

      2. The warming signal is known to be concentrated in winter and nights. This is also one of the reasons we know it’s the greenhouse effect that’s causing it. It’s hard to come up with some other mechanism that would cause nights to warm faster than days.

      3. The warming has been happening since 1750.

      4. The warming is concentrated in the arctic.

      >microclimates are real and urban style developed areas really are hotter than farm or wild land areas

      This has already been looked at. Even the “skeptics” ditched this theory. There was a “skeptic” who sought to prove it’s the urban heating effect and he ended up changing his mind when his own analysis didn’t find the urban heat island effect.

      Also: The urban heat island wouldn’t cause all the weird shit happening now. Lack of arctic and antarctic ice. Methane clathrate explosions in Siberia. Giant forest fires. Melting glaciers. Etc.

      • I’ll rerun it using nights. Let’s see what I find out.

        Like I said I’m not committed either way, in any case my goal is to take the high ground and produce as many eugenic aryans as possible and cut the rope ladder so minorities can’t get in. No matter the nature of the hardship that’s my response strategy

        • >produce as many eugenic aryans as possible

          Yeah bad idea.

          Children are not some sort of trophy to show off to the other LSWMs on Twitter how based, trad and alpha you are.

          You should have children if you think you’ll be able to grant them a happy life.

          Considering the whole world is going to shit right now, you shouldn’t be bringing children into it. You won’t be able to grant them a happy life.

          You have to be a moron if you can’t see the writing on the wall by now. Hell is coming.

          • Hellish conditions are prophesied, but my God still commands my procreation and promises that the righteous will have an unusual degree of safety and comfort, due to obeying specific commandments and also due to physically gathering in a certain location prophesied to have most calamity pass it by.

            The end of the world will suck for everyone except us, and as that “us” unfortunately doesn’t include you, I literally cannot explain this to you in much detail.

          • >The end of the world will suck for everyone except us

            I’m sure your kids will be perfectly happy in your secret location watching as the coral reefs die, the Amazon burn down, billions of people die of hunger and the elephants and gorillas go extinct.

            That is, if they have no soul. If your wife pops out two little Tate brothers I’m sure they’ll be happy.

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The patients in the mental ward have had their daily dose of xanax and calmed down it seems, so most of your comments should be automatically posted again. Try not to annoy me with your low IQ low status white male theories about the Nazi gas chambers being fake or CO2 being harmless plant food and we can all get along. Have fun!

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