IPCC: impact of climate change small, either beneficial or not
Media write about the report of the Second Working Group of the IPCC (focusing on “impacts of the hypothetical climate change”) that will release its fifth report next Monday. Most of the sources tell us about the catastrophes that will cripple Asia, Australia, and any other random piece of the globe. You have seen this stuff 1,000 times in the past so you may imagine what they have to offer.But there are some notable exceptions. The BBC chose an interesting title, Dissent among scientists over key climate impact report. But The Sydney Morning Herald has the most upbeat article.Their environment editor states thatIPCC report downplays economic impacts of climate change, reviewer saysand some proclamations in the article are even better.Most of them are based on the words of Richard Tol, a sensible guy working in the group. If he is right, the IPCC report should contain the following remarkable sentence:Estimates agree on the size of the impact (small relative to economic growth) but disagree on the sign.This is exactly what I have been saying for a decade. The impacts of AGW are very small so you may ignore them. Moreover, if you academically want to think about the impacts, regardless of their smallness, you will find out that the sign is uncertain. Well, any modest enough warming is more likely to be beneficial than harmful.Last September, when the First Working Group (Physical Basis) released its fifth report, I was sort of optimistic (on TV and in a newsletter), suggesting that we may be nicely surprised by Spring 2014. The other parts of the IPCC may very well see the light before WG1 and they may conclude that there is no problem before others do.This description of the situation is perhaps too optimistic but we may get pretty close to it so next week, I will be watching what is actually in the report and the summary.The Sydney Morning Herald discusses various errors and non-errors and sign errors and quotes Richard Tol, a chapter’s coordinating author, who has described Bob Ward, an IPCC reviewer, as Nick Stern’s attack dog. If the IPCC concludes that the effects of climate change are small and potentially beneficial and that the alarmists are attack dogs, erroneous inkspillers, and unhinged crackpots, it will represent some progress from the fourth IPCC report that has omitted these crucial observations, as far as I remember. ;-)In order for the progress to be nearly complete, the Third Working Group which discusses “what to do about climate change” should figure out that the most notorious climate alarmists should be arrested to help to solve the problem.
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