Economics, Energy and the Environment, Pethokoukis

Matt Ridley: ‘The strong possibility that climate change will be slow and harmless must be taken seriously’

Matt “The Rational Optimist” Ridley highlights an interesting new study by Oxford climate scientists on climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide emissions:

It uses the most robust method, of analysing the Earth’s heat budget over the past hundred years or so, to estimate a “transient climate response” — the amount of warming that, with rising emissions, the world is likely to experience by the time carbon dioxide levels have doubled since pre-industrial times.

The most likely estimate is 1.3C. Even if we reach doubled carbon dioxide in just 50 years, we can expect the world to be about two-thirds of a degree warmer than it is now, maybe a bit more if other greenhouse gases increase too. That is to say, up until my teenage children reach retirement age, they will have experienced further warming at about the same rate as I have experienced since I was at school.

At this rate, it will be the last decades of this century before global warming does net harm.

Bottom line from Ridley: “There is little doubt that the damage being done by climate-change policies currently exceeds the damage being done by climate change, and will for several decades yet. Hunger, rainforest destruction, excess cold-weather deaths and reduced economic growth are all exacerbated by the rush to biomass and wind.”

None of this means do nothing. Certainly more energy science research, possibly to enable natural gas to be a bridge fuel to solar. And back in 2011, several AEI scholars illustrated one way a carbon tax might work to deregulate US energy:


Subsidies for ethanol and other alternative fuels would be abolished (basic research on renewable energy would be funded on the same stringent terms as other basic research). As discussed above, business and household energy tax credits would be abolished. Regulations designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions would be repealed. Instead, a tax on greenhouse gas emissions (“carbon tax”) would be imposed.

8 thoughts on “Matt Ridley: ‘The strong possibility that climate change will be slow and harmless must be taken seriously’

  1. Ridley is right. All of the predictions made by the alarmists have turned out to be wrong so far so it should not be a surprise that there will be little or no damage from a slight warming if it ever shows up. And isn’t it about time that AEI started to argue that research should be left to the markets rather than having it be driven by government planners?

  2. Dear Al Gore,
    I’m tempted to say you’re a moron for your LIE about “global warming” but I guess it was genius to get all the lemmings and even the fraud-in-chief to go along with the lie so you can MAKE millions of dollars off the SCAM.
    You still are TOTALLY DISGUSTING and you’ll get what you deserve (which isn’t good) eventually.

  3. Climate model predictions have turned out to be wrong on the conservative side — that is to say, we have blown past all of the worst-case scenarios.

    This present study of course mentions that it is highly uncertain due to the unknown amount and effect of the aerosols China is pumping into the atmosphere.

    In the meantime, the jet stream grows ever more crazy, as does the weather.

    Note that the effects of adding CO2 are not linear.

  4. Temperatures have not risen past 1998 levels. The predicted location of major warming, at about 30,000 ft. above the equator, shows no sign of the predicted “hot spot”. And most damaging to the warmunists, the predicted increase in worldwide humidity – caused by CO2 warming – has not happened. In fact the humidity at the hot spot altitudes has been going down since 1948. Carbon dioxide concentrations have already done 95% of the warming they are theorized to cause. Sticking to the failed GW theory is getting harder and harder to rationalize.

  5. How about skip the carbon extortion scheme, deregulate the energy business, and mandate that federal government get out of the land owning/land confiscation scams?

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