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7. Global Warming, Uncertainty, Irreversibility & LongTerm Policymaking (SPRING 2006) Larry D. Sanders Dept. of Ag Economics Oklahoma State University INTRODUCTION (ch. 10 Hackett; other sources) Purpose:
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Larry D. Sanders
Dept. of Ag Economics Oklahoma State University
1. To understand uncertainty & irreversibility.
2. To become aware of the issue of global warming.
3. To consider the policy options with respect to
possibly irreversible actions/events such as global
4. To provide natural resource managers with tools to apply to
the climate change issue
A: not observable, unknown to exposed, effect delayed, new risk, risk unknown to science
Desire for regulation
X Global warming/ climate change
D: controllable, not dread, not global catastrophe, not fatal, equitable, individual, low risk to future gen., easily reduced, risk decreasing, voluntary
x Nuclear War
B: uncontrollable, dread, global catastrophe, fatal, not equitable, hi risk to future generations
C: Observable, known to exposed, effect immediate, old risk, risk known to science
Adapted from Carlson et al. Agricultural & Environmental Resource Economics, 1993; also Sanders
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla)
The mainstream scientific consensus on global warming is becoming clearer every day: changes in our climate are real and they are underway. Now. . . . The evidence that human-induced global warming is real is increasingly clear and compelling.
Union of Concerned ScientistsThe Debate over Global Warming
“That an elected official would call global warming a ‘hoax’ borders on the criminal . . .”
--Barry Lopez, nature writer, 2005.
“Greenland's glaciers are melting into the sea twice as fast as previously believed, the result of a warming trend that renders obsolete predictions of how quickly Earth's oceans will rise over the next century, scientists said yesterday.” (17 Feb 06, The Washington Post)
“Most climate scientists believe a major cause for Earth's warming climate is increased emissions of greenhouse gases as a result of burning fossil fuels, largely in the United States and other wealthy, industrialized nations such as those of western Europe but increasingly in rapidly developing nations such as China and India as well. Carbon dioxide and several other gases trap the sun's heat and raise atmospheric temperature.”
(17 Feb 06, The Washington Post)
Consequences Vol. 1, No. 2, Summer 1995, US Global Change Research Information Office.
--From cnn.com special section on global warming article “Messing with the thermostat can be devastating”, Miles O’Obrien, November 27, 1997.
NOTE: estimates based on 225-ppmv increase in atmospheric concentration of CO2 when applied to climatic & economic conditions 1990 (ERS-USDA)
Per Capita Energy World CO2
Country Emissions (%) Consumption (mil. Btu)Emission (%)
US 19 335 23.8
China 10 13.6
Japan 5 171 5.0
Brazil 4 33 1.3
Germany 4 3.6
India 4 4.6
UK 2 169 2.4
Indonesia 2 1.0
Italy 2 1.8
Southern US climate becomes tropical changing ag production
Northern US climate moderates, more like Southern US today
Increase in heat-related deaths/diseases (malaria, dengue fever)
Political crises, volatility could increase
Only 24% of public is concerned
Models under-estimate complex global ecosystem (can’t predict 7 days out, much less years)
Models under-estimate the “technological fix” & market economics
Doubtful that government intervention will do anything but create more immediate problems
Let the market & private property rights manage the situationThe Claims about Global Warming:“It’s Real”“Skeptical”
Av. temp. over past 10,000 years =15 ºC
Global Temperature: the Past 20,000 Years, & the Next 100 Years
IPCC (2001) forecast:
+ 1.4-5.8oC, with band
Age in Europe
1. whether global warming is in fact occurring, &
1. If worst-case predictions are true & nothing done to stop it, large-scale changes in global climate that will severely affect the planet & our geo-political-economic system; inaction is generally irreversible.
2. If predictions are not true, or wildly over-stated but actions are taken to minimize global warming (Kyoto Agreement), wide-scale economic impacts on the US will reduce competitiveness (30-50% increase in fuel & utility bills; loss of economic gains); action is reversible, but cost of action and cost of reversal could be high.
* Worldwatch Institute, p.112.
** Worldwatch Institute, p. 113.
“…although climate models will always be improving, there are certain changes we can already predict with a level of confidence. First, most studies indicate . . . more droughts and more floods, more variable and more extreme rainfall. Second, . . . Longer growing seasons mean more generations of pests . . . . Third, climate change will hit farmers in the developing world hardest.”*
“. . . Estimates that grain yields in the tropics might fall as much as 30 percent over the next 50 years—a period when the region’s already malnourished population will increase by 44 percent.”**
“… the wheat-growing prairies of Canada and the Great Plains of the United States would eventually no longer produce enough food to support their populations if nothing were done to fight climate change.”**
* Worldwatch, p. 73.; ** Worldwatch, p. 72.
*Ancev, T. (2002)
Consider govt intervention such as a Pigouvian tax to shift to a production or development level that reduces human-caused factors that contribute to global warming; ex: carbon tax
Levitus et al. Science 2000; 287: 2225
OF THE ARCTIC
Hoerling and Kumar: Science 2003 January 31; 299: 691-694
“Look 500 miles north if you want to see what your weather will look like.” H. Willis
Insurance & Reinsurance, FEMA, OFDA, NGOs, Nation States, Companies
$150b/yr w/in this decade
Do producers have the ability to manage this risk?
If not, can/will the market respond?
If not, can/will government intervene?
Ancev, T. “Global Warming and Global Institutions: How Are They Related”, unpublished monograph, December 2002, Oklahoma State University.
Bell, A. & Strieber, W. The Coming Global Superstorm, Pocket Books, 2000.
Carlson et al. Agricultural & Environmental Resource Economics, 1993.
Center for Health and Global Environment, Harvard Medical School, “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Humans”, 2000.
CNN: http://cnn.com/TECH (see interactive features; see global warming 101)
DEOS: “Current Velocities of the Gulf Stream”: http://rads.tudelft.nl/gulfstream/
Epstein, Paul R., “Climate Change and Public Health”, Center for Health and Global
Environment, Harvard Medical School, 2000.
Joyce, T. & Keigwin, L. “Are We on the Brink of a New Little Ice Age?”, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, http://www.whoi.edu/institutes/occi/abruptclimate_joyce_keigwin.html
Knight, F. H. Risk, Uncertainty, and Profit, 1921.
Lopez, B. private conversations after OSU speech, 24 Feb 05. Various publications.
NASA & associated projects:
Oklahoma Climatological Survey, 2005.
Union of Concerned Scientists, http://www.ucsusa.org/global_environment/global_warming/index.cfm
USDA, various sources.
The Washington Post
Willis, H. Earth’s Future Climate, Llumina Press, 2000.
The Worldwatch Institute. State of the World 2005: Redefining Global Security . WW Norton, 2005.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Ocean and Climate Change Institute:
Graphic review of global warming: http://www.solcomhouse.com/globalwarming.htm