Sunday, July 5, 2009


Knappenberger Takes on Krugman on Climate

Over at MasterResource climate researcher Chip Knappenberger takes on Paul Krugman's op ed where he pulled an Ann Coulter and accused his enemies of treason. Here was my favorite part:

[CHIP:] Krugman completely misinterprets the science on Americans’ response to heat waves. He said:

[KRUGMAN:] Temperature increases on the scale predicted by the M.I.T. researchers and others would create huge disruptions in our lives and our economy. As a recent authoritative U.S. government report points out, by the end of this century New Hampshire may well have the climate of North Carolina today, Illinois may have the climate of East Texas, and across the country extreme, deadly heat waves — the kind that traditionally occur only once in a generation — may become annual or biannual events.

In other words, we’re facing a clear and present danger to our way of life, perhaps even to civilization itself. How can anyone justify failing to act?

[CHIP:] Well, how about this justification—the hottest places in the U.S. are the ones which experience the fewest number of deaths during heat waves. We have shown this on repeated occasions (in the scientific literature, see references below) in research that I have been involved with examining the relationship between excessive heat and human mortality. Not only did we show that the nations hottest (both in terms of temperature and humidity) cities, for example, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, Tampa, Miami, have the lowest incidences of heat-related mortality in the country, but that in major cities all across the country, the population has grown less sensitive to heat waves even as urban temperatures have increased over the past four decades or so (Figure 1).
Clearly, what is happening is that as high temperatures become more commonplace, we better incorporate them into our daily lives—through better access to air-conditioning, community awareness programs, heat watch/warning programs, improved medical technologies, and just plain common sense. And, as has been shown in examples from Chicago (Palecki et al., 2001) and France (Fouillet et al., 2008), these adaptations can take place quickly. It is the rare and unexpected heat wave that kills people, not the common ones. So Krugman’s meant-to-scare example about “deadly heat waves” runs counter to the best science on the subject.

Bob, the studies that Chip and Pat Michaels have done about how people/cities have adapted to higher temps and lowered death rates is not "science", but a bit of (good) political economy reporting.

Sure, we can expect that people will continue to spend and spend to adapt to further changes in climate, but that hardly either belies the arguments that human activities are altering climate in ways that are costly or merits a political decision that those who profit from creating climate risks are justified in laying the4se risks off onto others.

Here`s a little something I just ran across on climate risks in the third world:

Regarding your criticism of Krugman`s rhetoric, I note that unlike Coulter he was talking of treason to "the planet", and not to any political authority. In a purely libertarian world, would moral suasion like Krugman`s not have a place in addressing commons problems?


So the climate research understands economics 101 and the Nobel Prize winning economics, well, not so much ...
The Rasmussen Poll claims that Americans will refuse to pay more than $100 per year to fight the dreaded Global Warming menace.

Question 3:

3. To generate cleaner energy and fight global warming, it might cost Americans more money each year in taxes and utility costs. How much are you willing to pay each year in higher taxes and utility costs?

56% Nothing
21% $100
7% $300

More good news:

"It is quite common to find Americans more favorable toward new government proposals until a price tag is attached."


We need to turn Bob Murphy's Global Warming cost studies into giant billboards.

I'm actually pro-global warming and I've become very upset that it's not likely to happen. I'm from Michigan and it would be nice to extend our summer boating season from two months to three. Further, we're at 580 feet above sea level, so all the people with homes destroyed by higher ocean levels could come here and cure our housing glut.
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