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Swiss Re Climate Impact Paper Misleads Public

June 9, 2021

By Paul Homewood


A rather curious report from the GWPF:



Author Tim Worstall says that Swiss Re’s claim climate change would reduce world GDP by 8.5% per year is highly deceptive, because it fails to take account of economic growth.
The economy in 2050 is likely to be much bigger as a result of economic growth and smaller as a result of any damage due to climate change that may occur. In other words, the world our children will experience will be the nett result of these two effects.

But as Worstall explains, Swiss Re have simply left out one half of the equation:

“They have simply ignored the benefits of economic growth and only discuss the costs of climate change impacts. In fact, the whole paper has been written in a way that obscures the fact that they have used this trick.”

GWPF director, Dr Benny Peiser said:

“Once again, we see the public being misled by academic trickery and half truths. This is no longer surprising, but it is still shameful behaviour by Swiss Re and Oxfam.”

Tim Worstall: The holes in Swiss Re’s climate report (pdf)


I say curious, because the author readily accepts that climate change will be damaging economically. His report actually states:



I would certainly dispute that assumption, particularly at the lower amounts of warming. There is strong evidence after all that the warming since the 19thC has been economically beneficial. It is important that we don’t allow Swiss Re to get away with such ludicrous and unscientific claims.

There is also a danger that Worstall’s argument could be used to counter complaints about the cost of climate policies, which could be offset by economic growth.

I will try to post my own thoughts later today

  1. Chaswarnertoo permalink
    June 9, 2021 1:23 pm

    A corn field readily depletes its CO2 on a still day. Those plants are starving.

    • Julian Flood permalink
      June 10, 2021 4:00 am

      Up to a point, Lord Copper. Maize uses C4 carbon fixation which can cope with much lower CO2 levels than the more prevalent C3 system. On the surrounding hillsides the grapevines are using a crassula acid fixation pathway and store CO2 as malic acid overnight — always pick you leaves for dolmades before daylight, the acid tang is heavenly.

      C4 fixes C12 and C13 at much closer rates than C3 which preferentially discards the heavier carbon isotopes. Intriguingly plankton use C3 and or C4 to cope with varying CO2 levels — my bet would be that ocean pollution has altered carbon isotope pulldown and accounts for the so-called fossil fuel C12 signal.


  2. Gamecock permalink
    June 9, 2021 1:24 pm

    Worstall is a staunch supporter of a carbon tax. /PNA.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      June 9, 2021 10:37 pm

      So WTF is the GWPF promoting him for?

  3. JimW permalink
    June 9, 2021 1:35 pm

    This is what happens over time. Fallacies take root, and your position weakens little by little until you find yourself arguing from a position a long way from where you started.
    Carbon tax has been embraced by the very industries you would have thought would be fighting the most to destroy the climate change movement. Allied to the investment banks , they stand to make enormous profits from its manipulation.
    Everything else has been financialised, this is just a step in the same process.

  4. Broadlands permalink
    June 9, 2021 1:50 pm

    “it fails to take account of economic growth. The economy in 2050 is likely to be much bigger as a result of economic growth and smaller as a result of any damage due to climate change that may occur…”

    It fails to note that ‘urgent’ CO2 emission reductions to zero mean more severe economic damages that are already in plain view as a result of the pandemic travel lockdowns. The cost of climate mitigation is huge and it is destained to failure in the end.

    • June 9, 2021 2:03 pm

      It fails to take account of the lack of empirical data (therefore no science) to back up the claim that there too much CO2 in the atmosphere and that what we are experiencing is anything other than natural and it most definitely does not take account of how bad a lurch back into conditions akin to the Little Ice Age would be. With all of this there is never a clear establishment of basic principles of what is “ideal” and why. That is how they are able to translate what has been wonderful for life on the planet (coming out of the Little Ice Age) into a catastrophe. This is a catastrophe made of words, not actual occurrences.

  5. Jack Broughton permalink
    June 9, 2021 2:30 pm

    Using a combination of “Climate-science” and Economic models of the future ….. what could go wrong, could go wrong, could go wrong.

    The front page picture of Swiss cheese is probably the mot accurate part of the report.

  6. Cheshire Red permalink
    June 9, 2021 3:12 pm

    More rampant dishonesty from climate grifters. It’s so endemic it’s become standard practice.

    What other explanation is there given their consistent refusal to play fair at every turn?

  7. bobn permalink
    June 9, 2021 3:31 pm

    So a little arithmetic needed.:

    Climate changes (as it always does)
    – gets warmer = plus benefit
    – gets colder = minus benefit
    – GDP grows with time = plus benefit
    – Nett zero panic measures undertaken = minus benefit

    Now do your sum.
    Of course everything input is just an assumption pulled out your —-.
    So any theoretical result is pure cow manure.
    Why bother, get a real job, I’m getting back on my diesel powered tractor.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      June 9, 2021 8:53 pm

      Bobn….one to upset the XR bunch…you say (I agree): ‘gets colder=minus benefit’….then again, those who want it to be cooler probably never heard of Napoleon’s Moscow nor Hitler’s Stalingrad. Cold is very bad.

      • bobn permalink
        June 9, 2021 10:44 pm

        Yes Harry. Strange how people hope for long hot summers and short, not too cold winters. I’ve not met anyone who wants it the other way around. Even the polar bears hate winter! They hibinate and dream of warmer days!

      • Graeme No.3 permalink
        June 9, 2021 11:23 pm

        I developed the Danger of Warming Factor some years ago, but there was no interest.
        It is calculated from the number of Britons who go to the Arctic in summer, divided by the number who go south to Spain, Italy or the Balkans (and multiplied by a thousand). This indicates the real concern for Global Warming of the average Briton.

  8. Tim Leeney permalink
    June 9, 2021 3:52 pm

    What are the GWPF thinking of, promoting this?

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      June 9, 2021 10:34 pm

      Well I for one have no idea. Somewhat worrying.

  9. Athelstan permalink
    June 9, 2021 6:33 pm

    Not sure at all about dear Tim and we know that, lying by omission is just that, a lie but manipulation and legerdemain, the same.

  10. Ray Sanders permalink
    June 9, 2021 10:29 pm

    From of all places a Guardian article yesterday.
    “Modern monetary theory draws attention to inflationary triggers that are independent of aggregate spending pressures: for example, administrative pricing practices (for example, indexation agreements with privatised energy or mass transport companies to increase prices irrespective of current conditions) and abuse of market power (such as cartels).”

    What monetary theory is claiming is that one off price increases are not inflation drivers, but prolonged indexed administrative practices are. So a steadily escalating carbon tax will cause inflation and screw up the economy. Well who would have thought of that?

  11. John Hultquist permalink
    June 10, 2021 5:05 am

    Swiss Re won’t be able to raise rates if the porridge is just right.

  12. Tim Worstall permalink
    June 10, 2021 9:07 am

    Just in case anyone might be interested in what my position actually is.

    I take the view that politics is going to do something about climate change. Whether it’s all actually true or not is, in policy terms, irrelevant therefore. The task is therefore to insist that the least invasive, least awful, policy be followed. Which is the carbon tax. Just as an example, the UK already has a carbon tax of the correct size as per the Stern Review. The problem is that it’s all on petrol. As I’ve been pointing out for a decade now the correct carbon tax would mean a *reduction* in fuel duty.

    That is, I’m trying to get the enthusiasts for climate change action to understand the implications of their own evidence and logic. The Stern Review really does say don’t have silly plans, don’t try to pick technological winners, just stick on that carbon tax of $80 per tonne CO2 – which, as I say, we already have – and leave well alone.

    I even wrote an entire book on the point. All of the evidence presented – Nordhaus, Stern, every economic model used by the IPCC etc – says that the best outcome, even if we accept all of the claims about climate change, is a globalised, capitalist and free market economy with a carbon tax. Of course, if all of climate change is entire bunk then the best outcome is still a globalised, capitalist, free market economy.

    Which is what my argument actually is. Whether climate change is true or not, whether we do anything about it or not, the best outcome is still neoliberal globalisation. The point of accepting the climate change argument is only to show that this is still true, even when we do accept that.

    Which, given the idiocies that Greenpeace, XR and all too many governments propose seems a worthwhile effort to me.

    • Gamecock permalink
      June 10, 2021 12:21 pm

      It is better to remain silent and appear foolish than to speak up and remove all doubt.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        June 10, 2021 1:39 pm


  13. tom0mason permalink
    June 10, 2021 10:23 am

    The entire report is another hobgoblin of bogus nonsense.
    There is NO evidence that the small rise in atmospheric CO2 has caused any problems, and judging by past history, it will not cause a problem for the future. All there are is consensus politics and fantasy climate models.
    A warmer planet would be a damper planet, with a richer CO2 atmosphere, it would be a more productive and life enhancing planet.

    Atmospheric CO2 is not a problem and humans do NOT control it, nature does!
    The climate is chaotic and humans do NOT control it, nature does!

    See more at
    such as this …

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