By Andrew Follett
Simply letting global warming happen and dealing with its effects may be a lot cheaper than decarbonizing the global economy, according to a new report by the Manhattan Institute.
“Mainstream estimates are very disconnected from the rhetoric you hear about global warming from environmental groups and politicians, especially in the wake of the election,” Oren Cass, the senior fellow at the free-market Manhattan Institute who authored the research, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“The expected impacts of climate change from even the Obama administration are substantially less than you hear from the rhetoric they’re saying,” Cass said. “This is not the end of the world.”
The study found the Obama administration’s long-running projection for the cost of global warming is about 0.1 percent of the U.S. economy per year. Government economic estimates claim that, without global warming, global gross domestic product (GDP) would have grown from $76 trillion in 2015 to $510 trillion in 2100.
Under some of the worst global warming scenarios, however, global GDP still grew to about $490 trillion in 2100. This is a $20 trillion cost, but the world is still 6.5 times wealthier than today.
Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assumes in its various scenarios that the people of 2100 will be between three and 20 times wealthier than people of today, despite assuming the worst possible impacts of global warming. Reducing emissions today for the benefit of people in 2100 is transferring money from the poor to the rich.
“The problem is that even if we spend the money environmentalists want, we couldn’t solve this,” Cass continued. “None of the plans proposed by environmentalists would actually accomplish anything and actually stop global warming. Instead of 3.9 degrees of warming, we’ll get 3.7 degrees of warming.”
The Paris global warming agreement would likely cost as much as $16.5 trillion between 2016 and 2030, according to projections from the International Energy Agency. If fully implemented, the agreement wouldn’t actually prevent much global warming. Even the lowest cost estimates, performed by environmental groups, place the costs at $12.1 trillion.
“The required expenditure averages about $484 billion a year over the period,” calculated Bloomberg New Energy Finance, with the assistance of the environmentalist nonprofit Ceres.
Global warming will only cost about $1.9 trillion, or 1 percent of the world economy by the same year, according to a study sponsored by the United Nations.
“The rhetoric you’re hearing about climate change is used to promote ever more costly plans,” Cass told TheDCNF. “That panic is nowhere to be found, even in the regulatory literature of the Obama administration. It’s important to not blow the problem out of proportion and claim it’s a World War 2 scale problem.”
“Should we really be asking the impoverished developing world today to develop more slowly to marginally slow global warming, rather than asking the vastly more wealthy future to deal with some comparatively cheap effects?” Cass asked.
American taxpayers spend an average of $39 billion a year financially supporting solar energy, according to a report by the Taxpayer Protection Alliance. President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus package contained $51 billion in spending for green energy projects, including funding for failed solar energy companies such as Solyndra and Abound Solar.
Despite relatively high levels of taxpayer support, in 2014 solar and wind power respectively accounted for only 0.6 and 4.7 percent of electricity generated in the U.S., according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Ironically, solar and wind power have not done much to reduce America’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Studies show solar power is responsible for one percent of the decline in U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions, while natural gas is responsible for almost 20 percent. For every ton of CO2 cut by solar power, hydraulic fracturing for natural gas cut 13 tons.
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