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2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #16

Posted on 21 April 2024 by BaerbelW, Doug Bostrom, John Hartz

A listing of 29 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, April 14, 2024 thru Sat, April 20, 2024.

Story of the weekBloomberg headline, Nature Kotz et al. 2024

Our story of the week hinges on these words from the abstract of a fresh academic publication:

Here we use recent empirical findings from more than 1,600 regions worldwide over the past 40 years to project sub-national damages from temperature and precipitation, including daily variability and extremes7,8. Using an empirical approach that provides a robust lower bound on the persistence of impacts on economic growth, we find that the world economy is committed to an income reduction of 19% within the next 26 years independent of future emission choices (relative to a baseline without climate impacts, likely range of 11–29% accounting for physical climate and empirical uncertainty). These damages already outweigh the mitigation costs required to limit global warming to 2 °C by sixfold over this near-term time frame and thereafter diverge strongly dependent on emission choices.

That dry language and the arc of the authors' research findings unpacks as evidence-based headlines:

The paper's results will be refined, inevitably. With passing time the empirical, already-experienced evidence the paper relies upon to establish its projections will increasingly include measurable economic impact.  Meanwhile other researchers will doubtless be inspired to improve on this effort, "what if the authors are incorrect?" being a reasonable question to ask. Equally it's reasonable to ask "how wrong can they be?" Even supposing that the unfolding truth reveals the authors have delivered a 50% overshoot, 19 trillion dollars is not a trivial amount of economic opportunity to lose. Our ultimate truth may also include underestimation. For the time being, Stanford University's Marshall Burke may have the best assessment of this paper, for guiding our path forward: "I wouldn’t put a ton of weight on their specific numerical estimates, but I think the big picture is basically right." Marshall seems suitably cautious; when starting at $38T/year, plus or minus a lot still ends up as a big deal. The big picture includes that we have other urgent needs for funds on this scale and can't afford accidental (or intentional) wasted opportunity costs of this magnitude. Procrastination on dealing with our climate problem loses us important options. 

Stories we promoted this week, by publication date:

Before April 14

April 14

April 15

April 16

April 17

April 18

April 19

April 20

If you happen upon high quality climate-science and/or climate-myth busting articles from reliable sources while surfing the web, please feel free to submit them via this Google form so that we may share them widely. Thanks!

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Comments 1 to 2:

  1. Regarding the story of the week: "Wednesday's study from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), which is backed by the German government, stands out for the severity of its findings. It calculates climate change will shave 17% off the global economy's GDP by the middle of the century." Now compare this with the DICE economic model (Richard Nordhaus) : "The updated results imply a 1.6% GDP- equivalent loss at 3 °C warming over preindustrial temperatures, up from 1.2% in the review for DICE- 2016.19 Mar 2.",the%20review%20for%20DICE%2D%202016.

    The time frames of the two studies look approximately the same. 3 degrees warming would be about mid century. The difference in estimated damages between reducing gdp by 17% compared to 1.6% looks absolutely huge.

    You cant reconcile this easily. This has me puzzled so I'm hoping I haven't misinterpreted something. However the DICE model has been heavily criticised by several experts as seriously underestimating the costs of climate change and being an absurd study in its handling of  risk assessments.

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  2. @ 1. Nigelj

    Absurd indeed. The IEA has said that the clean energy transition would save the world $71 trillion by 2050. The cost would be $44 trillion, but $115 trillion in fuel savings.
    So it's worth doing even without climate change costs.

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