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Discussion > Tol 2009, 2014, 2015 and the Economic Effects of Climate Change

Even lower heating costs, which might look like a clear gain, mean lower profits for energy providers…
Does it? I suspect you have a rather simplistic idea of finance, Whiffy.

So, you do not consider increasing growing areas by latitude and altitude a gain? Nor do you consider a longer growing season a gain? Nor do you think that an increased crop yield is a gain, either? Wow! How about the greening of the planet? Not a gain?

Never mind, let’s revert to the ad homs, eh? It is so much easier than trying to formulate a rational argument.

Nov 26, 2015 at 8:33 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Ratty, that is just waffle, not proof of "the simple fact that there has been nett positive gain from global warming". Your list of gains would indeed be positive, unless they were offset by factors such as an increase in the range of pests, changes in rainfall, increases in max temperatures that kill crops, loss of land to drought or flooding etc. Nature is much more complicated than whatever you think you know about "finance". There is no proof of a "nett positive gain from global warming".

Nov 26, 2015 at 11:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Increase in range of pests…
Evidence, please.
…changes in rainfall…
Erm… evidence, please.
…increases in max temperatures that kill crops…
What?! Err… I mean … evidence, please.
…loss of land to drought or flooding etc.
Now tell us when there hasn’t been floods and/or droughts… though even the IPCC admits that there has been a reduction in these.

The simple fact is that more food is being produced on less land than at any other time in history. Personally, I look on that as being a pretty big gain, as has been the drastic reduction in energy costs that fossil fuels have given us, enabling more and more people to be raised out of poverty, increasing their standards of living, their life span, their enjoyment of that life, and (I know this might be a shock to you) helping to reduce the population growth. Now, as history clearly shows us that it is the reduced cost of energy that has brought so many benefits to the world, what do you think the new idea of pricing energy out of the budget of the proletariat is going to do for us?

Nov 27, 2015 at 10:01 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

The statement There is no proof of a "nett positive gain from global warming". is a bit off the mark.
Go back to first principles, if we get cooling down to the temperatures of 50k years ago then we have a net loss for humans, if we have a cooling to LIA conditions then there's a net loss for humans. Historically the evidence is that warmer conditions than now were beneficial to the Minoans, Romans and their contemporaries. So evidence suggests at least another 2'C from current to Minoan Climate Optimum conditions will give a net gain.

Nov 27, 2015 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Sandy, that is just speculation, not evidence relevant to the present-day. You don't even know the global temperature at the time of the Minoans, Romans or anyone else comparable. Only some vague estimates with wide error margins from proxies whose veracity you would at other times question. So saying there would be a certain gain from a global rise of 2C above a temperature you don't know is not sensible (being polite). And that is without considering the different circumstances (ecological, population etc) the now exist.

Ratty, your position has changed from the insupportable "the simple fact that there has been nett positive gain from global warming" to "The simple fact is that more food is being produced on less land than at any other time in history." The latter is doubtless true. The former is a groundless assertion that you don't even try to defend but instead you slide effortlessly into a defense of fossil fuels.

Nov 27, 2015 at 8:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff


that is just speculation, not evidence relevant to the present-day

What evidence is there that it is not relevant? We have more advanced technology, particularly in agriculture which is most relevant in this discussion. Isn't the whole of this discussion based on speculation, yours that we're all doomed by 2'C rise from current, mine that it will be beneficial At least I have physical evidence rather than models to base my arguments on.

As it happens I think proxies have their place in looking at the past, like models you have to be careful how you use them. There is plenty of of evidence, as has been pointed out already, that there have been warmer period than now in the current interglacial. Here's another piece of evidence

Nov 27, 2015 at 9:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

So, Whiffy, you do not consider that more food being produced on less ground than ever before is a nett gain?! You are venturing into the area of the totally absurd – especially when you conveniently ignore the many other benefits that we have gained!

My “defence” of fossil fuels is merely a statement of the bleedin’ obvious – without fossil fuels, we would not be at our present incredible standards of civilisation; we would still be scratching a bare living from the ground, unable to engage in long-distance conversations such as this, just hoping that at least one of our many children will make it to an age when they can be of some use getting food to the table.

Why do you not attempt to find out what life would be like without fossil fuels: try and live your life – try and live one day! – without fossil fuels; no heating, no lights, no car, no cooking, no fridges, no TV, no computers, any clothes have to be totally natural (100% cotton, wool, linen or leather – all hand-picked, sorted, spun and woven, hence the cost, of course). Get the picture? Get your altruistic head out of the clouds and focus more on reality.

Nov 27, 2015 at 10:03 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Sandy, you don't have "physical evidence". None at all. Your ancient comparisons are irrelevant for at least these reasons and doubtless more:

- you have no way of knowing whether the temperature was optimal. Perhaps they would have been more successful still with global temperatures 2C lower.

- the circumstances are different. There were relatively small populations (compared to today's) living in an environment that was almost certainly under less ecological pressure.

- you are extrapolating from a region to the whole world with no obvious reason to think our whole world of 7 billion resembles the ancient Mediterranean.

You also introduce a favorite straw-man of "we're all doomed by 2'C rise", which I have never seen anyone apart from "skeptics" say.

The paper on melting Peruvian glaciers is indeed interesting, indicating that Peru was at similar temperatures then as now.

Ratty, more food being produced on less ground than ever before is in itself obviously a net gain. But considering the immense changes to agriculture over the last 50 years, the improved productivity has nothing obvious to do with proving any "nett positive gain from global warming".

Nov 28, 2015 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

I threw you a lifeline, Daft. That you could not see it for what is was, and cling on to it can only be laid at your feet. I shall let you sink into the morass of your own making.

Nov 28, 2015 at 4:59 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Leave the poor Troll alone, the oxygen of replies is going to his head and making him all light headed ;)

Nov 28, 2015 at 8:36 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

So just as nobody can provide evidence of research organizations lying, neither can anybody provide any proof of net gains from warming. Yet these two items seem to be articles of faith among "skeptics". As I said before, this seems to be evidence of brainwashing.

Nov 29, 2015 at 8:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

… neither can anybody provide any proof of net gains from warming.
We gave them to you, Naff. That you choose to ignore them is on your own head, not ours.

Nov 29, 2015 at 8:27 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

So are you saying that we'll be OK with a 2'C rise in GAT?
So are you saying that computer models are better than proxies at guessing the future?
So are you saying that despite having technology and developing new technologies all the time we're still going to have severe problems due to population even if we fix GAT?

Nov 29, 2015 at 9:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Breath of Fresh Air
You're a fine one to talk ;-)

Nov 29, 2015 at 9:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Ratty, no you suggested only that gains in agriculture are due to temperature and not to technological change, which is pretty stupid. Disentangle the one from the other (what part is temp change and what part is technology) and you might have an argument, but there is no way to do that.

Sandy, so you have sensibly dropped ancient Rome as "physical evidence" that warming will be beneficial. What other physical evidence do you have in its place? And whether "we" will be OK, I very much doubt the consequences of warming will be evenly distributed, do you?

Nov 29, 2015 at 11:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

I haven't dropped anything, I'm trying to find out what you actually believe to be the best method of working out the potential benefits of an increase in GAT of 2.0'C.

As far as I can tell from your evasive answers you haven't got a clue and have a vague idea that models based on selective proxies are bang on the money.

Of course changes in climate affect the globe differently in different places, where I grew up in Scotland was once under a mile of ice, at the same time where I currently live in France had a population of Neanderthal surviving reasonably well. Given the choice between at bit more warming and "reversing climate change" back 50K years the population of Northern Europe, Asia and America should be hoping for another Minoan Climate Optimum. BTW I'd like some evidence that the previous warm periods weren't in fact warmer than today.

Nov 30, 2015 at 7:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Perhaps you should pop over to WUWT and correct all the misconceptions here (Climate and Human Civilization over the last 18,000 years) straight?

Nov 30, 2015 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Sandy, I don't know the best method of estimating gains and losses from CC and neither do I know whether previous warm periods were warmer or cooler than now, nor whether they were "optimal" in any one region. What I am quite sure of is that saying that a contemporary 2C rise will be beneficial because some ancient civilization did very nicely at some unknown global temperature is a non sequitur.

Nov 30, 2015 at 3:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

You really are determined to misread and misinterpret everything you read, aren’t you? Do you do it on purpose, or are you truly that dense? No-one, but no-one, has said that any further rise will be beneficial; we have just noted that the rise so far has been beneficial, so why should any further rise not be – why are you so convinced that it will be detrimental?

No. Forget it. You have now decided that there is no way of determining what is beneficial and what isn’t; as usual, you just shift the goalposts – as often as not into another field, altogether – so I really have no interest in further conversation with you.

Nov 30, 2015 at 6:33 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Ratty, you claim that "the rise so far has been beneficial" and yet have no evidence for that. Sandy says "evidence suggests at least another 2'C from current to Minoan Climate Optimum conditions will give a net gain" and yet cannot identify that evidence. Your belief system seems to be evidence free.

Nov 30, 2015 at 8:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff


I don't know the best method of estimating gains and losses from CC and neither do I know whether previous warm periods were warmer or cooler than now, nor whether they were "optimal" in any one region.

How can you have a discussion with someone who doesn't know and doesn't accept the lessons of history, it's like arguing with a Parrot who continually says I'm a clever boy you idiot

Nov 30, 2015 at 9:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Sandy you provide no "lessons of history". You have no facts to help you. You don't know what global temperatures were with any accuracy in historic Crete or Rome. You don't know whether these temperatures were at, above or below "optimal" conditions. And you don't know whether adding 2C to today's (or pre-industrial, not sure what you mean) temperatures would land us at, above or below ancient conditions. Yet you believe this unknown outcome would be a positive change. It is a logical proposition only a fool would support.

Dec 1, 2015 at 1:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

all I can do is suggest you read the following
The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850 by Brian M. Fagan
A History of the Vandals by Torsten Cumberland Jacobsen
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Aztec and Maya by Charles Philips
Sea Peoples of the Bronze Age Mediterranean c.1400 BC1000 BC by Raffaele DAmato

Other things to check are the rise and fall of the rise and fall of empires due to climate. I know that you hate Micheal Mann's use of tree rings but you could google this Tree rings suggest Roman world was warmer than thought

You then have to compare what you've read with your extensive knowledge of climate and climate models and decide whether, in general, a warmer climate is more beneficial than a cooler one.

Dec 1, 2015 at 9:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Sandy, the Minoan paper is interesting. It puzzles me that despite knowing so much about how changes in climate can cause great civilizations to fail, you are committed to the idea that, to borrow a quote, "this time is different" - that current climate change will be beneficial.

Dec 1, 2015 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff