Temperature Trends

White House Warns that Climate Change Could Reduce U.S. GDP in 2100 from $140.3 Trillion to Just $139 Trillion

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Crystal Ball
trulia

The White House Council of Economic Advisors has just issued its study, The Cost of Delaying of Action to Stem Cimate Change. The study argues (for illustrative purposes only) that failing to keep the future average global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius would result in an annual loss of 0.9 percent of GDP due to climate damage. Sounds serious, no? The study warns:

Based on a leading aggregate damage estimate in the climate economics literature, a delay that results in warming of 3° Celsius above preindustrial levels, instead of 2°, could increase economic damages by approximately 0.9 percent of global output. To put this percentage in perspective, 0.9 percent of estimated 2014 U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is approximately $150 billion. The incremental cost of an additional degree of warming beyond 3° Celsius would be even greater. Moreover, these costs are not one-time, but are rather incurred year after year because of the permanent damage caused by increased climate change resulting from the delay.

Most global temperature projections due to man-made warming do not expect average temperature to exceed 3 degrees Celsius until around 2100. So using that as a baseline (for illustrative purposes only), let's run some rough numbers to see just how bad the permanent loss of 0.9 percent per year would be in 2100.

Right now the U.S. GDP is about $17.2 trillion. Assuming a growth rate of 2.5 percent per year for the next 85 years yields a projected U.S. GDP of $140.3 trillion by 2100. So, a 0.9 percent loss per year in 2100 would mean that future GDP would instead be about $139 trillion. In other words, the GDP of the denizens of the 22nd century America would be about $1.3 trillion lower than it otherwise would have been had global average temperature been held to 2 degrees Celsius.

So how much economic growth should we be willing to sacrifice now to prevent this future loss? Put it this way, lowering the average economic growth rate from 2.5 percent to 2.489 percent over the next 85 years would result in a similar permanent annual loss of GDP by 2100.

Assuming a U.S. population of 500 milion by 2100, the intergenerational equity question is: How much should people now making an average per capita GDP of $54,000 sacrifice for people 85 years hence whose per capita GDP of around $278,000 would be a couple of thousand bucks higher if temperatures were a degree lower?

Of course, all of these calculations projecting outcomes nearly a century hence need to be taken with vats of salt.

For the record, I do think that man-made climate change is a problem, but I also think that these sorts of attempts at ginning up scary scenarios are not very persuasive.

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  1. “Long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.”
    -John Maynard Keynes

    1. Societies that place a strong emphasis on democratic institutions are ideal for Keynesian looters. What you don’t loot today, will be looted by your adversaries tomorrow. The real costs of your looting, will be externalized to people born tomorrow by which point you are already dead and being revered in their public schools as an economic genius.

    2. It’s pretty obvious that Keynes had no children, and hence no inclination to preserve any future for his posterity.

      1. Hans Hermann-Hoppe makes a pretty good case for that. It also explains why gays are seemingly best suited to revitalize downtrodden communities with capital investments.

  2. Oh, for derp’s sake = STOP IT!

  3. Compared to what cost if we were to accept Obo’s recommendations?

    1. We’d make money following his recommendations, because we would use money to hire people to work on the problem and it would all get reinvested back into the economy, and multipliers and stuff.

      1. You’re right, but I’ll bet it’s mostly that “stuff”.

      2. and stuff.

        Mostly this, yes.

  4. “I do think that man-made climate change is a problem”

    CITATION. MUTHER F’IN. NEEDED.

    1. Yeah, I’m unaware of any actual proof that climate change has been man-made.

      1. Look. Human activity must be harming the planet. I mean, you can’t burn all those fossil fuels without having some sort of effect. You just can’t. Combine that with the fact that the climate is changing, and human activity must be the cause. Because it must be causing something. Oh, and circular reasoning is circular.

      2. Two separate questions. Both more than answered. Go to Google. Type “climate change evidence.” Read stuff. Why is this so fucking difficult for you people?

        1. You can also Google “evidence for creationism” and get plenty of reading material as well. Seems like you don’t really understand how this internet thing works.

          1. Well then it seems as if a finely tuned sense of reliable sources such as one acquires sometime in middle school might be useful.

            1. Middle school – the arbiter of all things true and right

            2. How the fuck would you know?
              The irony, it burns.

            3. The guy who straight up admitted that he believes ad hominem is a valid form of argument is lecturing us on determining “reliable sources”. Hilarious.

            4. Tony, do you find it even slightly relevant that ‘climate change’ policy proposals always seem to call for increased government power and the researchers who deliver the findings are bank rolled by governments?

              Socialists have a long history of trying to co-opt a scientific basis for their plundering and oppression.

              1. Tony, do you find it even slightly relevant that ‘climate change’ policy proposals always seem to call for increased government power and the researchers who deliver the findings are bank rolled by governments?

                No, but he does find it relevant that deniers call for more liberty and their researchers are bankrolled by evil KKKorporations.

                Principals trump principles.

              2. Tony is a troll-bot. The only thing he finds relevant is the attention you give him.

              3. Slightly relevant? That’s the entire point! Only government can do what is necessary to save civilization, and make progress toward a man-made Utopia on Earth. Only the government can do this. Why is that so hard to understand?

            5. reliable sources == sources that confirm your preconceptions!

        2. The evidence shows no statistically significant temperature trend.

          1. And all the “best” models going back decades have been completely wrong. Actual temps are always lower than the model prediction by at least one standard deviation.

          2. Actually, the evidence is compelling that THERE HAS INDEED BEEN A SIGNIFICANT TEMPERATURE TREND since the end of the most recent ice age. I just don’t think that SUV’s and coal-fired power plants had much to do with it.

            1. The dataset I’m looking at only goes back as far as the industrial revolution.

              1. conveniently enough for anti-capitalists

        3. This is the same way Tony has learned so much on the subject of HBZ. Hamster Bondage ZooPhilia. It takes alot of duct tape…..that’s all I’ll say.

          1. That’s already TMI.

        4. Tony

          How old were you when your father abandoned you/your family ?

        5. Tony:

          “Two separate questions. Both more than answered. Go to Google. Type “climate change evidence.” Read stuff. Why is this so fucking difficult for you people?”

          This is one instance that I’m siding with Tony. (The only such instance on record).

          The evidence is abundant and clear.

          1. The earth is warming. This has been true since around 1880, despite some cyclical ups and downs along the way, including a long pause over the last decade plus.

          2. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have been rising. They’re at around 400ppm today, vs. 280ppm pre-1850.

          3. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. So is H2O, CH4, and a bunch of others.

          4. Man-made CO2 emissions (mostly fossil fuels and cement production) have added incrementally to natural CO2 emissions and exceeded the capacity of the planet’s natural CO2 sinks, with the surplus accumulating over time in the atmosphere.

          Ergo… humans are contributing to warming. Or so say around 97% of scientific papers.

          But that’s pretty much where the consensus ends.

          How much is man-made? Only 1.6% of those papers quantified the amount of man-made warming as being 50%.

          How much will the planet warm in the future? No consensus there either. Estimates of climate sensitivity range from 1.5 to 4.5 deg C for a doubling of CO2.

          Well… mark this page as possibly the only time I’ll ever agree with Tony.

          1. The earth is warming. This has been true since around 1880

            Really from about 1750 as the Little Ice Age ended.

            They’re at around 400ppm today, vs. 280ppm pre-1850.

            No one really knows the pre-1850 CO2 levels. 280 ppm is a pretty good guess, but it could be over 300 ppm or under 250 ppm. We don’t really know that well.

      3. SS & WTF: Even researchers who doubt that warming will become dangerous do think that there will be some future warming due to loading up the atmosphere with greenhouse gases. And there has been warming over the past century. Just how much is what is in dispute.

        1. There has been warming over the past century, however, the cause has not been demonstrated, whether it is man-made or a natural cycle. And, it is important to note that the models based on the hypothesis that man-caused CO2 was causing global warming have failed, which falsifies the hypothesis.

          1. WTF: It doesn’t falsify the hypothesis directly, but it does falsify the projections made by the models. The hypothesis is that adding GHGs to the atmosphere will, all things being equal, increase warming.

            1. Ron, The hypotheses put forth by the IPCC and the “leading” climate scientists is much more specific than that. They say that adding X tons GHGs to the atmosphere will increase global mean temperature by Y degrees over Z years. Those hypotheses have been falsified. The broader hypothesis that you state has been lost to history because it didn’t give them an excuse to take over the energy industry.

              1. sg: Yes, I know. That’s why I linked to my discussion of climate sensitivity in my earlier response.

                1. Ron, yeah I know you’re sceptical of the alarmist claims. I was just nitpicking on what the actual hypothesis has become. I’m barely old enough to remember a time when the hypothesis put forth was as general as what you stated.

                  BTW, thanks again for all the great reporting on this issue. I always look forward to your articles on this.

            2. And the myriad of natural factors be damned in those calculations.

            3. all things being equal

              That’s a BIG assumption.

            4. Well, the hypothesis that adding GHGs to the atmosphere will, all things being equal, increase warming, sounds reasonable, but it has yet to be proved that doing so has had an actual effect that is not accounted for by natural phenomena. A hypothesis that fails to be demonstrable by observation and predictive value is useless. And the lack of warming since 1998 in spite of increasing CO2 levels would seem to falsify that hypothesis.

        2. The most damning fact for those who predict catastrophic global warming is that their models keep overestimating future warming by at least a standard error. How are we supposed to take them seriously?

          It isn’t surprising though. Good global temperature data only goes back to 1979. That’s less than 4 decades of data. Many of the forces that drive climate have periods much longer than that.

          1. Well the satellite data only goes back that far, but there are other sources like science dudes writing down the temperature while they pooed in a hole in their backyard.

  5. White House Warns that Climate Change Could Reduce U.S. GDP in 2100 from $140.3 Trillion to Just $139 Trillion

    IOW, an Obama administration budgetary rounding error.

    What’s even cuter is that they’re assuming that their own economic polices won’t have already collapsed us back into the stone age by then.

    1. What’s the straight-line projection of our national debt by 2100, anyway?

      Considering its already in the trillions, I would say that another trillion in 86 years is, indeed, a rounding error.

  6. Awesome, this gives us another convenient way to identify the jingoistic party-line-obsessed math-impaired fearmongering poo-flinging retards. I can’t wait for this to hit my Facebook feed. And for the HuffPo article to be cross-posted here at the Hampersand.

  7. Oh, look everyone! Choney’s here to enlighten us with his wisdom, knowledge and superior intellect in general! Let’s just put out one question for the group:

    What’s the “correct” temperature for the Earth, from which variations up or down are “bad”? Discuss!

    Choney everyone! Have a nice day!

    1. What I haven’t had an explanation for yet is, that the earth has had like 8 ice ages, which I assume to have ended the earth had to get warmer. All these ice ages happened before Homo sapiens, so who turned up the heat?

      1. Also climatologist, predict the exact number of hurricanes for each season 5 years in a row and then I’ll listen to your predictions for 100 years from now of temperature. He’ll tell me what the weather will be like next weekend and I’ll listen.

        1. I’d settle for “is it raining THIS FUCKING AFTERNOON OR NOT?”

          Gimme bone here, weatherman*…

          *WEATHER IS NOT CLIJMATE HURRDURRHURRRRR!!11!

        2. Florida Man: that’s weather not climate you knuckle dragger, see we can predict decades long trends but not day long anomalies, jeez get with the program.
          -Tony

        3. James Hansen predicted “monotonic decadal increases” in global temperatures over the next century. The “consensus” view is about +0.4C/decade.

          I have yet to find an AGW alarmist who will take an even-money $1000 bet that 2015-2019 average temperature will be 0.8C above 1995-1999.

          I wonder why that is. They are willing to sacrifice trillions of $ of global GDP, millions of lives, and the last vestiges of individual liberty on the altar of AGW, but won’t risk a $1000 of their own money.

          1. When one of the Apocalyptics predictions of calamity and destruction comes true, then I’ll start to take them a bit more seriously.

            To date, it’s been a sad procession of utterly failed predictions of doom and gloom, one after another. Let’s not even get into the gobsmacking inaccuracy of the climate models.

          2. They are willing to sacrifice trillions of $ of global GDP, millions of lives, and the last vestiges of individual liberty on the altar of AGW, but won’t risk a $1000 of their own money.

            Julian Simon took Paul Erlich’s money so it wouldn’t be a bet but a sure thing.

      2. Goddamned dinosaurs and their smoking I bet.

        *picturing the cover of the one Far Side book*

        1. Is Gary Larson dead? If not moar farside plz.

    2. “What’s the “correct” temperature for the Earth, from which variations up or down are “bad”? Discuss!”

      And if there are fewer polar bears, won’t there be more seals? Don’t they get a seat at the table?

      1. More seals = good for the dress sporran makers.

        I approve!

      2. And if there are fewer polar bears, won’t there be more seals

        Only the ugly ones, the cute ones will be clubbed as cubs for their fur.

      3. And if there are fewer polar bears, won’t there be more seals? Don’t they get a seat at the table?

        Nice. But you’re forgetting- seals smell really really bad.

        1. Seems like an appropriate place for this.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCiIBfEKCds

        2. But do they taste good?

      4. And if there are fewer polar bears, won’t there be more seals? Don’t they get a seat at the table?

        “Dangers of global cooling: Seals being eradicated at unseen rates by starving polar bears. Page A2.”

        These fucking headlines write themselves. When you take a position that’s based on emotion with no premise but “I’m right and you’re wrong,” there’s no losing.

  8. White House Warns that Climate Change Could Reduce U.S. GDP in 2100 from $140.3 Trillion to Just $139 Trillion

    Economics warns that the White House could reduce GDP in 2100 from a larger amount to some significantly lower amount.

  9. No offense, but I’m not sure you got your math right. It really isn’t clear from the White House’s claim, though. My impression is that they’re claiming a 0.9% reduction in the growth rate. If that’s the case, then we’re looking at a 1.6% growth rate, rather than a 2.5% growth rate. That translates to a 2100 GDP of $66.3 trillion. That said, it could also be one time cost that grows within the economy at the higher growth rate. Again, the claim is (intentionally?) vague.

    1. BD: Hmmm. The report says: could increase economic damages by approximately 0.9 percent of global output. As I understand it, “output” is a measure a total amount, not a rate. After all the calculation in the report is against the total GDP of $17.2 trillion, yielding a loss of $150 billion.

      1. Any statement that includes could can be ignored. Particularly when issued by the government.

      2. Your point is taken. As I said, it really isn’t clear to me what they’re getting at. Your interpretation strikes me as more intuitive. If so, they should be a lot more clear about that as a conclusion. A 0.9% reduction over any reasonable time period, falls within the realm of measurement error.

    2. And if so, can we get estimates on how the growth rate is impacted by actual legislation like Dodd-Frank, Sarbenes-Oxley, or the ACA?

      I bet we could offset that 0.9% in a hurry, and then some.

    3. Most global temperature projections due to man-made warming do not expect average temperature to exceed 3 degrees Celsius until around 2100. So using that as a baseline (for illustrative purposes only), let’s run some rough numbers to see just how bad the permanent loss of 0.9 percent per year would be in 2100.

      I think RB is saying that they’re predicting a 0.9% reduction from a 3 degree increase, which increase isn’t scheduled to hit for another 85 years. AGW isn’t costing us 0.9% yet, and the concern is that implementing programs to forestall that 0.9% loss will cost far more than 0.9%.

  10. noooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  11. Any mention of what EPA regulations shave off GDP?

  12. Also, I’d really like to know what they’re defining as “a leading aggregate damage estimate in the climate economics literature”. Because, to date, everything I’ve seen (particularly on a net basis) has been pretty much a guess.

    1. BD: See my answer above. They supply the studies on which they base their aggregate damages in the appendix.

      1. Whoops, misplaced.

        Thanks for the heads up. My impression from an admittedly cursory review is that the research isn’t looking at costs of inaction, per se, but at increased remediation costs from delay. That is, its not estimating what the economic consequences of warming would be, but at the increased cost of reducing carbon emissions in the future.

  13. Shouldn’t Krugman be in favor of global warming? Think of the spending required to move New York City to the Adirondacks

    1. Set up Barricades and let them drown.

    2. Thanks for the heads up. My impression from an admittedly cursory review is that the research isn’t looking at costs of inaction, per se, but at increased remediation costs from delay. That is, its not estimating what the economic consequences of warming would be, but at the increased cost of reducing carbon emissions in the future.

  14. Of course, all of these calculations projecting outcomes nearly a century hence need to be taken with vats of salt.

    Are you suggesting that economic modeling is not quite as scientific as climate modeling? Social science may be fake science, but it’s still real to me, dammit!

    1. Pink, organic, Himalayan salt.

  15. Based on a leading aggregate damage estimate in the climate economics literature

    The whosa whatsa?

  16. We’d make money following his recommendations

    Elon Musk agrees.

  17. Some many incredibly huge straw men, where do you start?

  18. What’s the “correct” temperature for the Earth, from which variations up or down are “bad”?

    Progressive control-freeakism fetishizes stasis. Change is bad, mmmkay?

    1. Government loves stasis. Power loves stasis. Stasis is the lifeblood of the corrupt and fearful.

  19. For the record, I do think that man-made climate change is a problem

    Ron, is there one bonafide issue or event *today* that can be directly linked (not suggested through computer models and the results have been replicated) to warmer temperatures and of that increase in temperature, how much of that damage can be directly proven and attributable to human activity?

    More to the point, are there any beneficial effects that have been confirmed? Higher agricultural output, greater density of forested land, a reduction in Winter deaths caused by cold temps, etc.?

    1. I don’t know the veracity, but I have read that it takes less energy for southerners to keep cool with air conditioning than it takes for northerners to keep warm.

      1. Isn’t burning wood free? My AC bill in the summer can hit $400 for 2800SF house set at 73 degrees.

  20. I googled what ends ice ages. I got increase in CO2. Where did the increase in CO2 come from? The ocean. Why? We don’t know.

    http://www.scientificamerican……t-ice-age/

    The take away is we have no idea why other ice ages end but we can say with certainty that the warming now is caused by man.

    1. I’ve read that it’s actually more likely due to variations in the earth’s orbit and rotation, combined with sunspot cycles that causes the ice age/warm cycles. The increase in CO2 from the oceans is just as likely to be caused by the warming rather than causing the warming, as warmer waters can hold less dissolved gases. Especially since CO2 is only a fraction of a percent of the atmosphere.

      1. That is actually a theory in the article, but you can’t blame America for earths orbit or sun activity.

  21. Only two takeaways from this:

    1. The White House Council of Economic Advisors is stupid enough to think that it can predict what the economy will do over the next 4 generations.

    2. Even this White House isn’t convinced that the potential damage caused by climate change will be greater than the damage certain to be caused by trying to prevent it.

    1. Also, I suggest everyone listen to the most recent Car Talk. It’s titled “The Andy Letter” and in it Andy writes in to posit that it is possible for two people who know nothing about a subject to actually know less than one person who knows nothing about a subject. Assuming that hypothesis can be expanded to encompass any number of people, it is a wonderful example of how Councils and Committees can be so wrong, so often.

      1. “wonderful example” == “wonderful explanation”

  22. I for one welcome our Global Warming Overlords. Without them, 2/3rds of North America would be under an ice sheet, and I’d be fending off attacks by Saber-toothed Cats.

    1. fending off attacks by Saber-toothed Cats

      *Wondering if my .30-06 is up to the task*

  23. FM: The basic idea is that earth wobbles a bit on its axis over time which changes the amount of sunlight hitting the northern hemisphere during the summer. As sunlight wanes snow builds up and eventually grows into continental glaciers. As the oceans grow colder they absorb and hold more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

    In the fullness of time the earth wobbles back and more sunlight starts to melt the glaciers. Once that begins the oceans warm and they release carbon dioxide which, as a greenhouse gas, further reinforces the warming trend. So do ice ages wax and wane.

    1. So, launch the dastardly oceans into space? Get Superman to adjust the tilt of the axis to no more wobble?

  24. Someone should help them play this game by demonstrating how much GDP things like the Drug War have cost the US

    or (gasp) capital gains taxes!

    1. But…but…but…taxing capital gains stimulates investment and job growth!

      /Tony-derp

  25. Pro Libertate warning: If the government continues to spend and regulate us to death, there won’t be a United States in 2100.

    1. Ahem. I already did that.

      1. Pro Libertate/JW Joint Release: If the government continues to spend and regulate us to death, there won’t be a United States in 2100.

        1. How did you get first billing? I’m calling my agent!

          1. Primogeniture: My name is Latin.

            1. [curses in Latin]

              1. People called Romanes they go the house?

        2. And you will stand and sadly shake your head, looking down on us (snifter of brandy in hand) from your Oort Cloud base…

    2. I could care less if there is a United States. What’s important is the betterment of every person’s ability to produce and retain their life, liberty and property. I have my doubts that whatever degenerate form of this state exists by that time will still be suitable for those endeavors.

      1. It’s “I couldn’t care less”.

        I’m sure that “every person’s ability to produce and retain their life, liberty and property” would be much easier without a government. After all, who needs laws, and police, and courts and shit. Everybody will simply respect each others rights just because it’s the “right thing to do”, right? We can all just form our own little posse and hold court right where we catch the bad guys, right? What could possibly go wrong.

        /+1lynch-mob

        1. I’m sure that “every person’s ability to produce and retain their life, liberty and property” would be much easier without a government

          Yes it would. Last I checked, monopolies were extraordinarily ill-suited to provide quality goods and services at low cost.

          After all, who needs laws, and police, and courts and shit. Everybody will simply respect each others rights just because it’s the “right thing to do”, right?

          If you think territorial monopolies of taxation and aggression are the way to go then I could see how such a simple minded sentiment would take hold with you. You make some seriously flawed assumptions about the order inherent in anarchism and that only a monopoly could provide courts, laws and shit.

          We can all just form our own little posse and hold court right where we catch the bad guys, right? What could possibly go wrong.

          Polycentric law, market derived standardization of said law with indemnity companies and/or protection agencies as enforcement.

          You should actually read how an anarcho-capitalist society could be run before you start objecting to arguments no one has made.

        2. It’s “I couldn’t care less”.

          I love playing the “You Misspoke and Now I’ve Got You,You Son of a Bitch” game too.

          I’m sure that “every person’s ability to produce and retain their life, liberty and property” would be much easier without a government.

          Strawman all the way home.

          Everybody will simply respect each others rights just because it’s the “right thing to do”, right?

          Like politicians?

      2. I care simply because the alternative countries are mostly worse, in one way or the other. If we go, I fear things could get generally uglier. We exert a profound influence on the rest of the world.

        1. Things will get uglier. If ever there were an iron law of statism, that would be it. It’s not like the government needs to appeal to consumers, all it needs is an adequate amount of aggression and most importantly they require some immoral philosophical assumptions to be widespread enough that people will not only accept the plundering, kidnapping and murders, but they’ll ask for more.

          1. Government oppression tends to increase over time unless energy is expended to halt or reverse it.

  26. “To put this percentage in perspective, 0.9 percent of estimated 2014 U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is approximately $150 billion. The incremental cost of an additional degree of warming beyond 3? Celsius would be even greater. Moreover, these costs are not one-time, but are rather incurred year after year because of the permanent damage caused by increased climate change resulting from the delay.”

    Meanwhile back in the real world, the federal government wasted $100 billion in 2103 alone on improper payments on entitlement and social welfare programs.

    Those are ACTUAL costs – not a theoretical construct of alleged costs based on a theory that its proponents are not the least bit capable of actually proving to be true.

    1. 2013 not 2103

  27. And then of course there is the cost of complying with federal regulations.

    The 2013 estimate is $1.863 trillion.

    http://cei.org/10KC

    More actual costs that dwarf the theoretical costs of global warming.

  28. “For the record, I do think that man-made climate change is a PROBLEM, but I also think that these sorts of attempts at ginning up scary scenarios are not very persuasive.”

    Oh boy. Have fun here, Ronald!

    As to the last part of that sentence, I’ll leave it then to you find ways to persuade the large number of commenters here who deny the first part. It would seem that would be your task. I haven’t been able to do it, science can’t do it…maybe you can. You should at least try.

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