Chapter 8 - Costing Climate Change (cont.)
Drought years in the noughties, as at the turn of the nineteenth century and the 1940s, have been followed by high levels of rainfall and damage through flooding. After half a century of carbon emissions with, according to the IPCC and other warmists, each decade showing higher average temperatures, some corroboration of the impending desertification of south-east Australia should surely be evident. In fact the main threat to irrigated agriculture has come from governments taking water from farmers and allocating it to ‘environmental flows.’
The suggestion that yields from major crops are declining as a result of climate change is equally spurious and not supported by empirical evidence.
The following discussion with the IPCC’s Chris Field (‘ one of two lead authors’) was broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Commission:
CHRIS FIELD: Year-on-year, yields have increased by something like two per cent. But they’ve been increasing by less than that recently, and based on a number of very careful, thorough statistical analyses, researchers are now able to see that for at least two of the world’s major food crops, wheat and maize, the increases in yields year-on-year have slowed, partly as a consequence of climate change. So the drag, the anchoring effect of climate change in making it more and more difficult to increase yields is something we’re seeing at the global basis. I’m sure there are some places where there are still yield increases, but there are other places that are offsetting those where yields are decreasing. This idea that we’re seeing slower-than-expected yield increases is emerging at the global scale.
SARAH FERGUSON: But we’re not just talking about— this isn’t any longer about modelling; this is about already-observable facts?
CHRIS FIELD: Absolutely. That’s one of the really different things about this report than what the IPCC has said in the past. The impacts of changes that have already occurred are widespread and consequential. 13
At least with respect to wheat, this is a highly contested view. Exhaustive research by Wilcox and Makowski has found that although higher temperatures mean reduced yields, ‘the effects of high CO2 concentrations (> 640 ppm) outweighed the effects of increasing temperature (up to 2 degrees Celsius) and moderate declines in precipitation (up to 20 percent), leading to increasing yields.’ 14
Globally, yields of the major crops have increased at the same rate for decades with no signs of a fall-off. Figure 2 below illustrates global and Australian wheat trends (Australian yields declined for a number of country -specific reasons). These and other doubtful measurements of human induced climate driven change by the IPCC indicate that its estimate of slender economic loss from climate change is an exaggeration.
Source: A. Lake, “Australia’s declining crop yield trends I: Donald revisited” (paper presented at the 16th Australian Agronomy Conference, University of New England, New South Wales, 14-18 October 2012), accessed July 10, 2014 http:// www.regional.org.au/ au/ asa/ 2012/ agriculture/ 8163_lakea.htm .
How much will abating climate change hurt?
IPCC Working Group III seeks to assess the costs incurred from stemming human induced greenhouse gas emissions.15 It does so by quantifying the array of taxes, spending and regulatory measures that it considers necessary. The spin of its Summary for Policymakers is evident in its various injunctions, many of which use disturbances claimed from climate change as an agent for income redistribution. The report includes the following points:
Limiting the effects of climate change is necessary to achieve sustainable development and equity, including poverty eradication.
Effective mitigation will not be achieved if individual agents advance their own interests independently.
Issues of equity, justice, and fairness arise with respect to mitigation and adaptation.
Climate policy intersects with other societal goals creating the possibility of co‐benefits or adverse side‐effects.
These boilerplate advocacy statements are accompanied by optimistic estimates of the costs which the IPCC has estimated will emanate from the measures it proposes to curtail greenhouse gas emissions.
The highly complex Table 2 summarises modeling of a number of different costs of climate emission reductions and their variations . As is conventionally the case, the modelling is simplified to exclude transitional losses, and the costs of thousands of different taxes and regulatory measures are assumed to be robust and stable.
In the table, to achieve emission concentrations at 450 parts per million in 2050 (row 2), the cost is put at a cumulative 3.4 per cent of world income levels. This cost rises to 4.8 per cent in 2100.
The 2050 cost would increase by 138 per cent (to 4.7 per cent) if carbon capture and storage (CCS) is unavailable.
Climate Change The Facts 2014