Slow Moving Disasters: The Cost of Climate Change

Bjorn Lomborg bucks the trend.

The new United Nations report is being talked about as though it portends the end of the world: To avoid catastrophe, we must instantly transform the entire economy no matter the costs.

This is unjustified. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its latest major global analysis, estimated that the total impact of unmitigated climate change from extreme weather, changes in agriculture, rising sea levels and so on would be equivalent to reducing the average person’s income by between 0.2 and 2 percent in the 2070s. [Box 3.1, file page 95.]

Link to the IPCC report where this number may be found. It may be a made-up number, but neither Lomborg nor I made it up.

Assuming 3% annual income growth over 50 years (2020-2070) gives us a 438% increase in income. So cutting that by 2% means the average person would see only a 430% increase over half a century.