Economist warns of 'radical' climate change, millions at risk

Apr 02, 2013 by Shaun Tandon
British former chief economist for the World Bank Nicholas Stern is pictured on April 1, 2010, in Paris. As the author of an influential 2006 study on climate change, he warned Tuesday that the world could be headed toward warming even more catastrophic than expected but he voiced hope for political action.

The author of an influential 2006 study on climate change warned Tuesday that the world could be headed toward warming even more catastrophic than expected but he voiced hope for political action.

Nicholas Stern, the British former chief economist for the World Bank, said that both emissions of and the were taking place faster than he forecast seven years ago.

Without changes to emission trends, the planet has roughly a 50 percent chance that temperatures will soar to five degrees Celsius (nine degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial averages in a century, he said.

"We haven't been above five degrees Centigrade on this planet for about 30 million years. So you can see that this is radical change way outside human experience," Stern said in an address at the .

"When we were at three degrees Centigrade three million years ago, the sea levels were about 20 some meters (65 feet) above now. On of just two meters, probably a couple of hundred million people would have to move," he said.

Stern said that other effects would come more quickly including the expansion of deserts and the melting of Himalayan snows that supply rivers on which up to two billion people depend.

Even if nations fulfill pledges made in 2010 at a UN-led conference in Cancun, Mexico, the world would be on track to warming of four degrees (7.2 Fahrenheit), he said.

Stern's 2006 study, considered a landmark in raising on climate change, predicted that warming would shave at least five percent of gross domestic product per year.

Despite the slow progress in international negotiations, Stern saw signs for hope as a number of countries move to put a price on .

"My own view is that 2013 is the best possible year to try to work and redouble our efforts to create the political will that hitherto has been much too weak," Stern said.

Stern said that French President Francois Hollande was keen for nations to meet their goal of sealing an accord in 2015 in Paris.

Stern also voiced hope that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, long a prominent voice on climate change, would become more active after this year's elections.

US President Barack Obama has vowed action on climate change after an earlier bid was thwarted by lawmakers of the rival Republican Party, many of whom reject the science behind .

Emissions have risen sharply in recent years from emerging economies, particularly China.

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User comments : 56

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AWaB
3.3 / 5 (13) Apr 02, 2013
If you want to design a bridge, call an engineer. If you need an operation, call a doctor, not an engineer. If you want to get good advice about the weather/climate, don't call an economist!
Shootist
2.2 / 5 (20) Apr 02, 2013
"The polar bears will be fine." - Freeman Dyson.
ValeriaT
2 / 5 (8) Apr 02, 2013
The climate change is the substitutive problem: it's the fuel crisis, which will throw the world into instability. Or do you think, USA are prepared to fight with Iraq or China with Japan because of warm sea? Just these wars are what triggers the collapse of financial markets and prices of oil.
gregor1
1.9 / 5 (17) Apr 02, 2013
How about the millions who will die if the suggested mitigation strategies are put in place? These guys never like to mention how many people their willing to kill off. Their biblical faith in computer models has no more credibility than belief in unicorns or fairies.
Lurker2358
3.4 / 5 (14) Apr 02, 2013
"The polar bears will be fine." - Freeman Dyson.


Freeman Dyson probably also thought we'd all be using pure solar by now, and there'd be a few million people living on the Moon and Mars by now too.
djr
3.9 / 5 (15) Apr 02, 2013
gregor1 "How about the millions who will die if the suggested mitigation strategies are put in place?"

Do you have any data to support the claim that millions will die? Please share. Millions are currently dying of the smog in China - http://www.nytime...tml?_r=0

Even though smog is a different issue than climate change - they are absolutely connected - and many of the solutions will be the same (migrating from fossil fuels to renewables for example).

Who in your view should get to make the kind of calculus that is clearly required to deal with the challenges of pollution, and climate change that we currently face?
VENDItardE
1.9 / 5 (13) Apr 02, 2013
IDIOT
Maggnus
4.1 / 5 (9) Apr 02, 2013
IDIOT


Bahhawhaw just as coherent an argument as he put in his last post! Having trouble using your words little one? Does he need a lollypop? Awwww poor thing.
Lurker2358
1.9 / 5 (9) Apr 02, 2013
Bahhawhaw just as coherent an argument as he put in his last post! Having trouble using your words little one? Does he need a lollypop? Awwww poor thing.


I gave him a 5 just because his name is mocking vendicar decarian's constantly everyone a "tard".
gregor1
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 02, 2013
@dir http://www.telegr...out.html
Fossil fuels underpin our entire economy. In the short term the answer for China is probably natural gas
djr
4.3 / 5 (11) Apr 03, 2013
Fossil fuels underpin our entire economy. In the short term the answer for China is probably natural gas.

Or nuclear, or a combination of renewables and nuclear - time will tell.

You did not answer the question I asked - that figures - you were just making stuff up - who needs data right?
antigoracle
1.7 / 5 (15) Apr 03, 2013
This is what the GW Alarmists would call a Stern warning.
... never mind, I'll show myself out.

P.S. Nicholas you got it wrong before and you're even more wrong now. The world is cooling.
deepsand
3.1 / 5 (17) Apr 03, 2013
This is what the GW Alarmists would call a Stern warning.
... never mind, I'll show myself out.

P.S. Nicholas you got it wrong before and you're even more wrong now. The world is cooling.

Says the cherry picking fool.
Benni
1.3 / 5 (12) Apr 03, 2013
I'm getting real concerned about the snail pace of the AGW "political class" to outpost the "nonwarmers" here.

Now listen up "political class warmers", a significant percent of our profits in the energy equipment business I'm in depends on the price increases we charge to change equipment design for greater efficiencies, however tiny. Our design department won't be able to con utilities into buying new equipments at double the cost of the antiquated design of the 1980's & 90's. If there is waning belief in GW our engineer's salaries won't increase way beyond inflation this year.

So come on here, AGW class & give us some support here, we want those higher salaries so we can build bigger houses for ourselves, & heat them with natural gas, meanwhile the rest of you can pay the outrageous prices for wind turbine energy generation & bailouts of bankrupt solar panel manufacturers. I budgeted a new Mercedes into my next salary hike, but I need the "warmer drumbeat" to pay for it.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (11) Apr 03, 2013
This is what the GW Alarmists would call a Stern warning.
... never mind, I'll show myself out.

P.S. Nicholas you got it wrong before and you're even more wrong now. The world is cooling.

Says the cherry picking fool.
-- deepsandTurd aka Fecal Matter
And so the Turd surfaces from the depths of its ignorance with this gem.
Maggnus
3.8 / 5 (10) Apr 03, 2013
And now we have Benni's spin on the conspiracy.

All dem PROFITS all bean LOST an stuff! All dat NEW FANGLED equip ments all being left all IDLE and not getting no MONEY an all dat! Needing dem AGWITES all SCIENTIFING an making all dat MONEY an getting all RICH buying dem MERCEDES an stuff!

runrig
4.4 / 5 (7) Apr 03, 2013
"The polar bears will be fine." - Freeman Dyson.


Great vacuum cleaners. And a believe he makes fans now too.
runrig
4.5 / 5 (8) Apr 03, 2013
"The polar bears will be fine." - Freeman Dyson.


Great vacuum cleaners. And a believe he makes fans now too.


The point of these posts is to drive home that no-one but Americans knows who the hell Mr Dyson ( in this context ) is ! This the WWW. Yet threads are repeatedly spammed by reference to said person. Who the hell is he? and why is he considered an omniscient sage by certain groups on one side of the AGW fence? Is he an expert on Polar Bears ? AND no, I will not use Google.
Howhot
4.5 / 5 (8) Apr 03, 2013
My freaking hamsters will be fine too! -- Howhot

antigoracle
1.1 / 5 (9) Apr 04, 2013
British former chief economist for the World Bank Nicholas Stern is pictured ....

Ah, the World Bank, the FALSE savior of those in need. The ones who would see you in poverty and ensure that's where you remain and if you're headed there, would give you a shove to ensure you meet your destiny.
While the AGW "scientists" are frantically trying to explain the reversal in global warming, going so far as to falsify data for even more hockey sticks. We have this Turd admitting he was previously WRONG by making an even more ABSURD and UNSUBSTANTIATED claims.
Howhot
4.2 / 5 (10) Apr 05, 2013
A wingnut says:
While the AGW "scientists" are frantically trying to explain the reversal in global warming, going so far as to falsify data for even more hockey sticks.

Say what??? There was a reversal of global warming? When did that happen and why don't I know about it? It must have been last week. It was kind of cold week if you live in Boston. But that's not global is it? Clueless internet spawn.

So in a last moment of desperation, the tripe says;
falsify data for even more hockey sticks.
Well there is a lot of money put into getting that hockey stick data dude, from satellites, weather monitoring systems, geological surveys, university researchers and high-school classes. And that isn't just the Good-old-USA, but globally. That data, collected, analyzed, and distilled in the bowls of internet shows a perfect HOCKEYSTICK correlation between atmospheric CO2 and global average temperature.

So quit being a stupid wingnut.

wlasley1
5 / 5 (7) Apr 07, 2013
It's actually too late to continue wasting time on deniers, they're either too ignorant or psychologically incapable of accepting the science. The CO2 levels are already too high to rely solely upon reducing emissions. We need technologies to cost effectively remove this gas from the atmosphere within the next 50 years. There is a solution, we can change ourselves by improving education enough that every high school graduate understands the basic science. This will prepare students for the information age work, increase science support while decreasing the cost of science research and engineering, and insure that the deniers become an ineffective political minority. Or we can keep on doing what we have been doing like signing petitions, having demonstrations, giving the politicians and environmental organizations money and hope they solve the problems. But it seems that's a lot like doing the same thing we have been doing for the last 50 years and expecting different results; ie crazy
antigoracle
1 / 5 (10) Apr 07, 2013
The CO2 levels are already too high to rely solely upon reducing emissions. We need technologies to cost effectively remove this gas from the atmosphere within the next 50 years...

Really genius!! The idiocy of the AGW Alarmist stooge never ceases to amaze me. They would happily make billionaires of the likes of Gore, while the truth stares them in their stupid faces.
deepsand
3 / 5 (14) Apr 07, 2013
The CO2 levels are already too high to rely solely upon reducing emissions. We need technologies to cost effectively remove this gas from the atmosphere within the next 50 years...

Really genius!! The idiocy of the AGW Alarmist stooge never ceases to amaze me. They would happily make billionaires of the likes of Gore, while the truth stares them in their stupid faces.

AGW is deducible from first principles.

Deal with it.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (10) Apr 07, 2013
The CO2 levels are already too high to rely solely upon reducing emissions. We need technologies to cost effectively remove this gas from the atmosphere within the next 50 years...

Really genius!! The idiocy of the AGW Alarmist stooge never ceases to amaze me. They would happily make billionaires of the likes of Gore, while the truth stares them in their stupid faces.

AGW is deducible from first principles.

Deal with it.

Then the models should be spot on, but they are not. Why?
deepsand
3.2 / 5 (13) Apr 07, 2013
The CO2 levels are already too high to rely solely upon reducing emissions. We need technologies to cost effectively remove this gas from the atmosphere within the next 50 years...

Really genius!! The idiocy of the AGW Alarmist stooge never ceases to amaze me. They would happily make billionaires of the likes of Gore, while the truth stares them in their stupid faces.

AGW is deducible from first principles.

Deal with it.

Then the models should be spot on, but they are not. Why?

That you need to ask the question reveals the depth of your ignorance.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (7) Apr 08, 2013
AGW is deducible from first principles.

Deal with it.

It's dealing with the morons like you that's the problem.
AGW is a lie and you're too dumb to deal with it.
humy
5 / 5 (6) Apr 08, 2013


Then the models should be spot on, but they are not. Why?


climate models are meant to give probabilities of various approximate possible outcomes and the climate models are never supposed to be exactly "spot on" because the weather is a chaotic system.
Have you heard of the "butterfly effect" and "chaos theory"? No climate model is expected to or would likely to ever be exactly "spot on" but that doesn't mean the models cannot make very useful predictions of the probabilities.
The climate models are improving all the time and should not be ignored.
deepsand
3 / 5 (14) Apr 08, 2013
AGW is deducible from first principles.

Deal with it.

It's dealing with the morons like you that's the problem.
AGW is a lie and you're too dumb to deal with it.

Your sophomoric retort is laughable.
Osiris1
3.3 / 5 (8) Apr 08, 2013
Now Junior, repeat after me, elementary math: republican=moron......future school taught indoors because global warming produced summer temps of 160 degrees F in tropical areas so school had to be held indoors in air conditioned homes as no outdoor movement possible from April-October in latitudes between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.....future history
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 08, 2013
No climate model is expected to or would likely to ever be exactly "spot on" but that doesn't mean the models cannot make very useful predictions of the probabilities.


AGW is asserted to be completely determined from first principles.
If true, all the AGW climate models can never be wrong.
Very useful for probabilities? Does this mean the AGW models do NOT account for every climate influence?

never supposed to be exactly "spot on" because the weather is a chaotic system.


But AGW is 'settled science', meaning it can NOT be questioned, based upon models of chaos?
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 08, 2013
""If we want to understand our future climate, we have to be able to understand the climate of the past," said lead author Alexey Fedorov from Yale University. The researchers say other factors must be considered besides a build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Their findings are based on an analysis of ocean floor sediments collected by drilling into the ocean floor."

Read more at: http://phys.org/n...html#jCp
humy
5 / 5 (7) Apr 08, 2013
AGW is asserted to be completely determined from first principles.

correct. Very basic science tells us that CO2 should cause global warming.
If true, all the AGW climate models can never be wrong.

How does " all the AGW climate models can never be wrong" logically follow from AGW being determined from first principles?
Where is the contradiction in AGW being determined from first principles and a AGW climate model NOT being true?
Your 'deduction' is flawed.
A climate model could be wrong despite using perfectly correct first principles (such as how CO2 is known to absorb infrared etc) but still get the probabilities wrong because, for example, inaccurate data fed in the model regarding the variation in the rate of evaporation of moisture from different types of vegetation on the ground in different places.
humy
5 / 5 (7) Apr 08, 2013
---continued---
And when you say "climate models can never be wrong",you do understand that modern climate models give probabilities and estimates and NOT any certain prediction of the exact temperatures, right? All these models are PROBABILISTIC and ESTIMATING models.

Very useful for probabilities? Does this mean the AGW models do NOT account for every climate influence?

That makes no sense. Where is the contradiction in a model giving very useful probabilities AND the model accounting for every climate influence? Again. Your 'deduction' is flawed.

But AGW is 'settled science', meaning it can NOT be questioned, based upon models of chaos?

What is that supposed to mean?
antigoracle
1 / 5 (7) Apr 08, 2013
AGW is deducible from first principles.

Deal with it.

It's dealing with the morons like you that's the problem.
AGW is a lie and you're too dumb to deal with it.

Your sophomoric retort is laughable.

http://www.examin...pulation
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (8) Apr 08, 2013
Where is the contradiction in a model giving very useful probabilities AND the model accounting for every climate influence?


What is the probability that AGW climate models do not account for every factor influencing climate?
The probabilities accounting for water vapor are quite low.
deepsand
3.2 / 5 (13) Apr 08, 2013
AGW is deducible from first principles.

Deal with it.

It's dealing with the morons like you that's the problem.
AGW is a lie and you're too dumb to deal with it.

Your sophomoric retort is laughable.

http://www.examin...pulation

Denialists exposed as being frauds.
deepsand
3.2 / 5 (13) Apr 08, 2013
AGW is asserted to be completely determined from first principles.
If true, all the AGW climate models can never be wrong.

Non sequitur.
deepsand
3.2 / 5 (13) Apr 08, 2013
Where is the contradiction in a model giving very useful probabilities AND the model accounting for every climate influence?


What is the probability that AGW climate models do not account for every factor influencing climate?
The probabilities accounting for water vapor are quite low.

Models do stand as proxies for first principles.

Input variables here are not substitutive, such that their effects are cumulative.

Level of atmospheric H2O vapor is not persistently increasing as is that of CO2.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (7) Apr 08, 2013
Level of atmospheric H2O vapor is not persistently increasing as is that of CO2.

But the global temperatures are NOT.
Water vapor is the most important atmospheric gas to retain heat so is should be quite easy to model, right?
As for the capability of models to predict the future, one would think that with all the computer power and data that can be collected, obits of earth satellites should be predictable for years or decades. Unfortunately, predictions must be updated every 2 weeks if one really needs to know where a satellite following a known trajectory, with a known mass in known gravity field...
And AGW models can predict the earth's climate 100 years from now?
humy
5 / 5 (6) Apr 09, 2013
What is the probability that AGW climate models do not account for every factor influencing climate?

Your point being....?

nobody is saying that the models must necessarily literally account for everything if that is what you are suggesting?
humy
5 / 5 (6) Apr 09, 2013
Water vapor is the most important atmospheric gas to retain heat so is should be quite easy to model, right?

What are you suggesting?
Are you implying that all the current weather models they use do NOT adequately take into account water vapor?
If so, how would you know this? Have you been involved in their research? Have you any qualifications or expertise in weather modelling? Show us the evidence that all the current weather models they use do NOT adequately take into account water vapor.......
humy
5 / 5 (6) Apr 09, 2013
As for the capability of models to predict the future, one would think that with all the computer power and data that can be collected, obits of earth satellites should be predictable for years or decades.

NO, NO, NO. Again, you show your total ignorance of the subject. One would NOT "think that" at all if one has the very rudimentary understanding that the weather is a 'chaotic system' meaning, even if there was no truly random element in the system, the tiniest error in the physical measurement of the starting condition of the system (and no measurement is infinitely accurate! So EVERY measurement has SOME error), even if the model you use is infinitely sound and totally correct, can result in your long term forecast of what the conduction in a particular point in space and time being way off. This does not mean that the model cannot be used to give us extremely useful probabilities and estimates of what the global weather would, overall, be like, say, 10 years from now.
humy
5 / 5 (6) Apr 09, 2013

misprint: "conduction" should have been "condition" in:

even if the model you use is infinitely sound and totally correct, can result in your long term forecast of what the conduction in a particular point in space and time being way off.


peter09
5 / 5 (6) Apr 09, 2013
Deniers always make base statements as though they are true and expect everyone to argue on the details - the fact is that the models are not that bad.

http://www.ucar.e...acy.html
deepsand
3.2 / 5 (13) Apr 09, 2013
Level of atmospheric H2O vapor is not persistently increasing as is that of CO2.

But the global temperatures are NOT.

Irrelevant to the role of any single input.

You seem to have no idea what a multivariate function is.
humy
5 / 5 (7) Apr 09, 2013
Deniers always make base statements as though they are true and expect everyone to argue on the details - the fact is that the models are not that bad.

http://www.ucar.e...acy.html


Yes, and not only have the models been proven pretty good at predicting the probabilities, the models are improving all the time.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (9) Apr 10, 2013
You seem to have no idea what a multivariate function is.

It's what that lone neuron of yours, is incapable of doing.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (9) Apr 10, 2013
"All in all it was really interesting to look so deeply into the role of water in the global warming debate. Very little seems certain. Even the so obvious positive water vapor feedback is hard to find in the observations. There seem to be no trend in either total or extreme precipitation."
"Right now we cannot say there is more water vapor due to global warming, more rain due to global warming, more extreme precipitation due to global warming or more floods due to global warming. That's pretty sobering in a media world where almost every flood is connected to global warming."
http://www.staatv...certain/
"Despite improved cloud simulations in about half of the models, major challenges remain, especially in the simulation of clouds and water vapor in the upper troposphere."
http://www.gfdl.n...story.68
Howhot
4.3 / 5 (6) Apr 11, 2013
The deniers are looking back into the stone age trying to get explanations for an obvious impending global warming disaster, while the economist from the article already has a plan for fellow investors on how to make them rich from turmoil to in-sue.

Good move deniers! Way to be on the back side of the bell curve.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (7) Apr 12, 2013
What is a 'denier'?
I and others have noted that climate has been warming for thousands of years, fortunately, else much of North America and Europe would be covered in ice.
Howhot
4.3 / 5 (6) Apr 12, 2013
My friend R2 says;
I and others have noted that climate has been warming for thousands of years

Really? The climate has been warming, when every measure of solar radiance has show a decreasing trend. The planet should be getting cooler, yet in 50 years the earths polar ice caps are melting? It's a hockey stick heat effect from excess CO2. But I'm preaching to someone who knows this stuff.
Neinsense99
3.5 / 5 (8) Jun 01, 2013
"The polar bears will be fine." - Freeman Dyson.

And the denialist crowd accuse scientists of using appeals to authority!
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (6) Jun 01, 2013
My friend R2 says;
I and others have noted that climate has been warming for thousands of years

Really? The climate has been warming, when every measure of solar radiance has show a decreasing trend. The planet should be getting cooler, yet in 50 years the earths polar ice caps are melting? It's a hockey stick heat effect from excess CO2. But I'm preaching to someone who knows this stuff.

If you look at the US state of SD, the rivers on the eastern half run from N to S. The rivers in the western half run W to E into the Missouri. Why? Glaciers once covered that half of the state down to Nebraska.
What happened to the glaciers that were there thousands of years ago? They MELTED! Why? Climate changed thousands of years ago melting those glaciers.
Why did the climate change thousands of year ago? AGWites can't say.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (7) Jun 01, 2013
And 5000 years ago in the Alps, glaciers must have been growing to cover the Ice Man, and then began to melt uncovering him.
Climate changes and has been changing for thousands of years.
Is this why AGWites had to change their battle cry to 'global climate change'?
deepsand
3.7 / 5 (12) Jun 01, 2013
... AGWites had to change their battle cry to 'global climate change'?

Wrong again.

The term "climate change" was apparently first used in a 1975 paper by geo-chemist Wallace Broecker.

It was later PROMOTED by REPUBLICAN strategist and FAUX News commentator Frank Luntz, who suggested using it because it's less "frightening" then saying "global warming"