Even Assuming Global Warming, We Shouldn't Worry?
In order for you to believe we should do something about anthropogenic global warming (AGW) such as impose a carbon tax, you really need to believe all of these things:
- CO2 causes a direct temperature increase
- Positive feedbacks amplify the direct temperature increase several fold
- The effects on humans of the total temperature increase are significantly bad
- The cost of reducing CO2 emissions is less than the bad effects we can avoid
Even assuming that the IPCC estimates are right, AGW still doesn’t look very scary:
- Currently, AGW is the 13th ranked cause of death, accounting for only .3% of all deaths. For comparison, unsafe water is at 3.1%, malaria is at 2.0%, and urban air pollution is at 1.4%.
- Forecasts for 2085 put deaths attributable to the AGW impacts of hunger, malaria, and flooding at 237,000 in the business as usual scenario and 92,000 with the most aggressive carbon reductions. The cost is a reduction of per capita GDP in 2090 from $57.9K to $37.9K, i.e. the average person will be 35% poorer (source here).
- The forecast population at risk of water stress actually decreases under the business as usual sceanrio.
- The predicted conversion of habitat to cropland also decreases under the business as usual scenario.
The bang for the buck just doesn’t seem to be there.