Response to comment on "Climate sensitivity, agricultural productivity and the social cost of carbon in FUND"
In a 2020 paper, Kevin Dayaratna, Pat Michaels and I showed that updating the ECS parameter distribution and the CO2 fertilization effect in an Integrated Assessment Model substantially reduced the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) path through the 21st century. In December 2022 Philip Meyer published a comment questioning some of our modeling decisions and recommending use of a new ECS distribution by Nic Lewis. Meyer didn't recompute the SCCC distribution however. Kevin and I have published our response here in which we go through Meyer's comments and recompute the SCC according to his recommended parameterizations:
In a nutshell, taking all of Meyer's comments into account (even the ones we don't agree with) hardly changes the SCC. His preferred parameters yield a value of the SCC of $3.39 in 2050, with a 33% chance of it being negative mid-century.
March 10, 2023
UPDATED CALCULATIONS OF THE SOCIAL COST OF CARBON
Newspaper Columns, Commentary and Other
SOME RECENT NEWSPAPER OP-EDS
COMPLETE LISTING HERE
Feb 23, 2023
Policing Misinformation from the Misinformation Police
December 7, 2022
Parliamentary Budget Officer just debunked climate alarmism
October 13, 2022
Yet again, IPCC's climate math doesn't check out
July 26, 2022
Why climate change is different than other environmental problems
June 24, 2022
Junk science has led to junk policies
We didn’t have inflation after 2008. Why are we having it now?
April 1, 2022
The 2030 Emissions Plan: Canada's gift to Putin
February 25, 2022
Don't be afraid to debate climate science
CLIMATE POLICY: WHEN EMOTION MEETS REALITY
I have done a few talks recently on the theme of why CO2 emissions, unlike other types of air pollution, have proven so hard to reduce. One such presentation was for the Irish Climate Science Forum and is available online:
My talk covers some of the main reasons why, after 30 years of concerted public policy effort, there has been so little achieved on climate policy, and why I think this will continue to be the case going forward. Governments do a disservice to the public when they keep promising more than they can deliver and when they try to rally support for climate policy by claiming not only will it not cost anything but will make us wealthier. Marcel Crok wrote an article about the presentation for Clintel here.
TEMPERATURE TRENDS IN CANADA SINCE 1888
We hear a lot about climate change. Would someone who lived in, say, 1918 notice much change in the average weather conditions compared to today? Once you delve into temperature data you will see that it's very hard to offer a simple answer to such a question. Patterns vary over time, by season and by place. For those Canadians who are curious about how the climate might have changed near where they live, I have written a rather lengthy report on the subject.
Or rather, I wrote an R program that generated a lengthy report. I analyze long term records on monthly average daytime highs in Canada, in various segments based on collections of stations available back 40, 60, 80, 100 and 130 years. There are also some nice graphs. If you think you know what "climate change" looks like in Canada, now you can test your perceptions against the data. The R program is here.
The idea of this site is very simple: to build the complete environmental record of every community across Canada. The site currently shows air emissions by source (back to 1990), air contaminant levels (back to 1974), monthly average high temperatures (back to 1900) for hundreds of places across the country, and water pollution records for several provinces.
The layout is self-explanatory and it's very easy to use. The data are all from government agencies, but most of it has not hitherto been disseminated in a usable form to the public. All my sources are linked and the data I use are easily-downloadable.
So the next time you find yourself in a conversation about some aspect of the environment and you wonder what is actually going on, look at yourenvironment.ca to find out.
Recent Journal Articles and Discussion Papers
CHANGING THE DISCOUNT RATE BY ADJUSTING THE PURE RATE OF TIME PREFERENCE
One of the most influential parameters in Cost-Benefit Analysis is the discount rate. It is common in policy discussions to decompose it using the Ramsey formula into the pure rate of time preference ("rho") and an additive part that adjusts for the effect of consumption growth, then to consider different discount rates based on different assumptions about the magnitude of rho. In an new paper coauthored with Jamie Lee and Thanasis Stengos we show that the two don't vary on a 1:1 basis, that is, the relationship is not linearly additive as is commonly assumed.
We show that as rho changes, the discount rate changes by slightly less than rho, although in the long run steady state the derivative converges on 1 from below. We estimate the relationship on US data and show that it is about 0.9 currently. We also show that the value of rho after 1980 is about 1.6. This analysis has results for debates like the one sparked by the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change. Stern argued for an extremely low discount rate based on assuming rho is 0.
ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF THE 2022 FEDERAL CLEAN FUELS STANDARD
I have published, through LFXAssociates.ca, an analysis of the proposed federal Clean Fuels Standard over the interval from 2021 to 2040.
This is the first application of a new version of the LFX Canadian Model which I started developing in 2020. This version embeds many new features including recursive dynamics and endogenous savings behaviour. My analysis shows that the CFS will be a drag on output and growth, so that by 2030 the economy will be 2.8 percent smaller than it otherwise would be and labour demand will be reduced by 72,000 jobs nationally. If compliance can be achieved through creation of credits at a capped price of $275 per tonne the costs in terms of lost GDP are roughly halved and the employment losses are about a third. While Canadian GHG emissions at the consumer stage drop, since US-based ethanol has the same lifetime GHG emissions profile as gasoline, no net global GHG emissions reduction occurs.
THE ECONOMICS LITERATURE DOES NOT SUPPORT THE 1.5C TARGET
Robert Murphy and I have published a study for the Fraser Institute arguing that standard mainstream economic analysis does not endorse the 1.5C target.
We don't conduct a cost-benefit analysis ourselves. And we point out that the IPCC SR1.5 likewise didn't do a cost-benefit analysis (they even admit as much early in the report). Instead we show that the economists who have done CBA's have found that the costs of trying to keep to a 1.5C warming target vastly exceed the benefits. Nordhaus' analysis, for instance, shows that it would be better to do nothing at all than to try to get warming down to 1.5C. And he got a Nobel Prize.
PRESENTATION TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES
The Government's NR Committee is studying the potential for biofuels and renewable fuels to play a role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. I was invited to speak to the Committee on rather short notice. In my presentation I summarize work I have done on this issue in the past as well as some basic principles that guide my thinking about climate policy.