Economists are downplaying many major climate risks, says report

Economists are downplaying many major climate risks, says report
Melting ice, west Greenland. Credit: Patrick Alexander/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

In a new report, an international group of researchers warns that top-level policymakers have been receiving economic assessments of future climate-change impacts that largely omit some of the biggest physical risks. The researchers point to major potential problems that have been documented by scientists, but which they say are routinely excluded or downplayed by economists. The report was produced by Columbia University's Earth Institute, Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and the United Kingdom's Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

"Economic assessments of the potential future risks of have been omitting or grossly underestimating many of the most serious consequences for lives and livelihoods because these risks are difficult to quantify precisely and lie outside of human experience," says the report. "Scientists are growing in confidence about the evidence for the largest potential impacts of change and the rising probability that major thresholds in the Earth's climate system will be breached as global mean surface temperature rises."

Impacts highlighted in the report include: destabilization of ice sheets and glaciers, and consequent sea level rise; stronger ; the combined effects of extreme heat and humidity; more frequent and intense floods and droughts; disruptions to oceanic and atmospheric circulation that could bring cascading effects; and the destruction of biodiversity and collapse of ecosystems.

Some of these impacts involve thresholds in the climate system beyond which major impacts might accelerate, or become irreversible, says the report. The crossing of one threshold might cause one or more other thresholds to be exceeded as well., the report warns. It says that some resulting impacts could exceed the capacity of human populations to adapt, for instance in heavily populated parts of south Asia that could become basically uninhabitable due to extreme heat and humidity.

As an example of cascading effects, the report notes that Arctic permafrost currently holds twice as much carbon dioxide as there is in the atmosphere. Continued melting of the permafrost caused by rising temperatures could release much of this carbon to the air, giving the greenhouse effect a further catastrophic boost. This would result in accelerated wasting of polar ice, with resulting acceleration of sea-level rise and inundation of coastal areas. "Economic assessments fail to take account of the potential for large concurrent impacts across the world that would cause mass migration, displacement and conflict, with huge loss of life," says the report.

The authors also are critical of economic assessments that are expressed solely in terms of effects on output, such as gross domestic product. This does not "provide a clear indication of the potential risks to lives and livelihoods," they say.

The report acknowledges some recent progress by researchers on the economic risks of climate change: "Some advances are being made in improving economic assessments, [but] much more progress is required if assessments are to offer reliable guidance for political and business leaders on the biggest risks," it says. "The lack of firm quantifications is not a reason to ignore these risks. [W}hen the missing risks are taken into account, the case for strong and urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions becomes even more compelling."


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Economic models significantly underestimate climate change risks

Provided by Earth Institute, Columbia University

This story is republished courtesy of Earth Institute, Columbia University http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu.

Citation: Economists are downplaying many major climate risks, says report (2019, September 20) retrieved 18 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-09-economists-downplaying-major-climate.html
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Sep 20, 2019
thats because they are starting to realize the deadly risks of climate lunacy

Sep 21, 2019
snoosebaum = Willful Ignorance.

He will remain willfully ignorant until he is dead.

Sep 21, 2019
Speaking of not accounting for risks and costs:

"In a study published today in the journal Science Advances, scientists simulated the climate of the Eocene, an era 50 million years ago, for the first time. Back then, the world was 25 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it is today.

The model's results, which align with geological evidence, suggest that when carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere increase, additional increases in CO2 then have an even bigger impact on the climate than they would have otherwise."

"Before the Eocene even started, global sea levels were estimated to be 40 to 100 meters higher than they are currently."

[ https://www.scien...r-future ]

Sep 21, 2019
In a study published today in the journal Science Advances, scientists simulated the climate of the Eocene, an era 50 million years ago, for the first time. Back then, the world was 25 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it is today.

Well, when you consider, that in order for these scientists to get their simulations to match modern temperatures, they must "correct" them by cooling the past and warming the recent. Then, applying that scientific breakthrough, it's quite probable, 50 million years ago the planet was sealed in ice. But, hey, why question these simulations, when they match the reality you crave.

Sep 21, 2019
The model's results, which align with geological evidence, suggest that when carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere increase, additional increases in CO2 then have an even bigger impact on the climate than they would have otherwise.

Yeah, I can totally get why you would fall for that. A smart person, when they fall for a lie, can really feel the impact to their intelligence. To a stupid person, on the other hand, that impact becomes tinier and tinier with each additional lie, to the point where they actually believe themselves, smart.
That's why you can never see, that the additional impact of increasing CO2 reduces to the point of trivial. Because of, you know, science. https://wattsupwi...dioxide/

Sep 22, 2019
the real VendicarKahn is a case in point , wanting to destroy ireland , banning cars forcing the population into high density communal living , lots of africans . in other words a new soviet state . history repeats , another irish exodus . Or maybe the countryside can become a tourist attraction with horse and buggy

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