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Willard Needs Your Help

July 12, 2013

By Paul Homewood




Reader Willard thinks that this paper by Alan Carlin endorses “the consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW).”

So, too, did John Cook and his little munchkins who included it in the 97% of papers that endorsed the consensus.


Unfortunately, Willard is having trouble finding exactly where in the abstract Alan Carlin actually says this. I assume, therefore, that it must be in code, so can anybody help him find it?




A Multidisciplinary, Science-Based Approach to the Economics of Climate Change

Alan Carlin


Economic analyses of environmental mitigation and other interdisciplinary public policy issues can be much more useful if they critically examine what other disciplines have to say, insist on using the most relevant observational data and the scientific method, and examine lower cost alternatives to the change proposed. These general principles are illustrated by applying them to the case of climate change mitigation, one of the most interdisciplinary of public policy issues. The analysis shows how use of these principles leads to quite different conclusions than those of most previous such economic analyses, as follows: The economic benefits of reducing CO2 emissions may be about two orders of magnitude less than those estimated by most economists because the climate sensitivity factor (CSF) is much lower than assumed by the United Nations because feedback is negative rather than positive and the effects of CO2 emissions reductions on atmospheric CO2 appear to be short rather than long lasting. The costs of CO2 emissions reductions are very much higher than usually estimated because of technological and implementation problems recently identified. Geoengineering such as solar radiation management is a controversial alternative to CO2 emissions reductions that offers opportunities to greatly decrease these large costs, change global temperatures with far greater assurance of success, and eliminate the possibility of low probability, high consequence risks of rising temperatures, but has been largely ignored by economists. CO2 emissions reductions are economically unattractive since the very modest benefits remaining after the corrections for the above effects are quite unlikely to economically justify the much higher costs unless much lower cost geoengineering is used. The risk of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming appears to be so low that it is not currently worth doing anything to try to control it, including geoengineering.

  1. terbreugghen permalink
    July 12, 2013 12:53 pm

    Thanks again. I’ve been warring with some enviro-socialist friends about the 97% claim and your research has been instrumental in having them enter the conniption phase of the dialogue where the term “bigot” and “racist” are regularly used completely out of context. (because they’re convinced that global warming will disproportionately affect non-white populations. . .yes, they’re really making that argument.)

    Anyway, in reading Carlin’s abstract, it occurs to me that he’s advocating solar irradiance reduction via geoengineering because of lower cost.

    I’m very concerned about this kind of hubris, the idea that since we can’t control human carbon emissions, (which amount to less than 5% of global carbon emission) then we’ll just control ALL THE SUN’S OUTPUT HITTING THE EARTH.?!?!?!?

    Doesn’t that strike you as a bit megalomaniacal? And if history is any indication of truth, do we really think we can put up a space-borne version of venetian blinds and control with any degree of accuracy the climatic effects of such a project?


  2. Brian H permalink
    July 13, 2013 8:04 am

    CO2 effects are economically negligible is the take-away. Every cent spent on controlling it is wasted.

  3. July 20, 2013 2:03 pm

    Thanks, Paul. You should have sent me a note. I just noticed your call to help.

    It’s been more than a week now and your commenters do not seem very helpful. They’re using your call for help to editorialize about eco-socialism, bigotry, racism, hubris, megalomania, and venetian blinds. The usual deaths and taxes.

    A wasted opportunity.

    It might be appropriate to recall my exchange with Dana.


    Dear all,

    In the spirit of openness, I promised to ask Dana about the rationale behind the rating of Carlin’s ABSTRACT as a 2. Here’s what Dana said:

    It explicitly acknowledges AGW and just says it probably won’t be catastrophic. That’s a 2. […] Talks about economic benefits of reducing CO2 (then says they’re small), “The risk of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming” admits AGW.

    I believe this justifies well enough the reading that took place. But here’s Dana again:

    It could also be classified as a 5 for minimizing the anthro influence. I’ll be the first to tell you our ratings aren’t 100% perfect.

    I would disagree about that reading, since the minimisation does not pertain to AGW, but to CAGW. But that does not exclude the possibility that other raters could rate this differently. As we just saw, Paul would rate it as a 6, and Carlin himself as a 7. And we saw in

    Note though that this reading must occur between two different raters, or else would have to be adjudicated as such.

    So even the authors readily admit that the rating may not have been error-prone. OTOH, the self-ratings clearly show that the ABTRACT ratings were conservative. Unless we put forward more sophisticated tests than brandishing anecdotal contrarians who seem to have difficulty understanding Cook’s questionnaire, or even confuse causes from effects of AGW, I don’t think you have a case.


    That’s still the memo for me, at least for the moment.

    Thanks for playing,

    Due diligence,


  4. July 20, 2013 2:49 pm

    What part of does not disprove do you not get, Pop?

    Do you know where Carlin establishes any connection between hypothesis 3a, which he doubts but without rejecting explicitly, and 1-2-3, which he explicitly rejects?

    I don’t think you can find it. And in fact, even if you did, here’s what you can read from his conclusion:

    The conclusion from this analysis is that hypotheses 1 and 2 are invalid based on the best current data, and that hypothesis 3a is of doubtful scientific validity and casts still further doubt on the validity of 1 and 2. As mentioned in Section 1.2.2, however, these conclusions are all subject to case-by-case analysis to determine the validity and relevance of the data used.

    In other words, Carlin has the honesty to admit the limits of using the “CO2 lags temp” claptrap and “here, let’s eyeball some curve fitting”. Carlin would certainly need an editor if he needs to “offer” clarifications that are contradicted by his own PAPER. He would also need an epistemologist, but that’s another question.


    Also note that you’re still using this as an argument

    > With regard to quantification, I state that the economic benefits of reducing CO2 […]

    which confuses the causes of GW (the main topic of Cook) with its effects (the main topic of Carlin).

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