Risky Business? Come Heat and High Water

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has sponsored a series of reports on the economic impacts of climate change under the rubric ‘Risky Business.’

The latest report focuses on impacts on the U.S. Southeast and Texas. The report is here. It is called Come Heat or High Water, remarkably similar to the title of a book published by Joe Romm. It is as alarmist and foolish as Romm, so caveat lector.

The report ignores the published science on climate change, relying on climate models that have shown no indication of predicting the present, let alone the future. They have fantastical projections of sea level rise, temperature increases and damages to agriculture that just ignore reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In other words, it’s a Business As Usual scare story.

A much better take on Risky Business is here:

In Come Heat and High Water they write, “By the end of the century, the Southeast and Texas will likely experience dangerous levels of extreme heat. » By the end of this century, the average number of extremely hot days across the region each year—with temperatures above 95°F—will likely increase by as much as 14 times from nine days per year in recent decades to as many as 123 days per year.

Ooooookay. They continue: “Rising temperatures will likely lead to a surge in electricity demand, as well as to a decline in energy system efficiency in many of the manufacturing-intensive states in the Southeast and Texas. …The Southeast region will likely see an average increase of 4% to 12% in energy costs by mid-century.”

Might happen even sooner, depending on choices of fuel portfolio made today.

“Sea level rise along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts will likely lead to large-scale losses from damage to coastal property and infrastructure. …Local sea level rise will vary along the coasts. At Grand Isle, Louisiana, mean sea level will likely rise 1.9 to 2.4 feet by 2050 and by 4.1 to 5.8 feet by 2100. Meanwhile, mean sea level at Charleston, South Carolina will likely rise by 0.9 to 1.4 feet by 2050 and by 2.1 to 3.8 feet by the end of the century.”

Gee, that’s funny. The IPCC predicts sea level rise will be between 26 and 98 centimeters this century, or between 10 inches and 38 inches. I guess the South will rise again… and again…

Other gems from the report: ” Kentucky will likely experience the third largest crop losses in the country. By mid-century, Kentucky will likely see average losses in its grain and oilseed crops of as much as 32% annually, absent adaptation. By the end of the century, Kentucky’s losses will likely increase to as much as 69% annually.”

“Over the next five to 25 years, Florida will likely see as many as 1,840 additional deaths per year and Texas, as many as 2,580 additional deaths per year due to extreme heat.”

But gee, Mr. Wizard, I thought you just told us that they were all going to get air conditioning?

It’s all in the assumptions of course.

“Our research combines state-of-the-art climate science projections through the year 2100…” Uh-huh, and tell me how that makes you feel?

“When assessing risk related to climate change, it is particularly important to consider outlier events and not just the most likely scenarios. ”

I see, and how long have you felt this way?

“As with classic risk analysis, our work does not take into account the wide range of potential adaptation strategies Southern industries and policymakers will surely pursue in the face of shifting climate impacts.”

Umm, actually classic risk analysis offers several alternatives based on reactions to threats. Didn’t you get the memo? Or take a class? Or read a book?

From the endnotes to the report:

“The “current greenhouse gas emissions pathway” we use throughout the report refers to RCP 8.5.” Ahhh. Basing your standard predictions on an outlier, I see.

“Annual death figures in the report were calculated using state- or region-specific heat-related mortality rates multiplied by that region’s 2012 population.”

So, no thinking at all about increases in air conditioning, take-up of technology such as robots or drones for outside work, no allowances for other adaptations such as telecommuting… and no balancing of your statistics against lower death rates due to cold… Brilliant!

They have achieved Neven-like status.


5 responses to “Risky Business? Come Heat and High Water

  1. Neven is the fore runner of modern journalism: Not concerned about credibility or intelligence or apparently integrity. All that counts is touting the message. And climate doom is the only message.
    Only a rich isolated New Yorker could fail to notice that Texas gets hot.
    Only a rich urbanite who seldom if ever actually visits the sea shore and even less often reads actual data would seriously write that slr is somehow going to accelerate and destroy whole seacoasts.

  2. The assumption about the lack of response qualifies the report as garbagey propaganda. The last three-four weeks we have had a heat wave in the Iberian peninsula, with maximum daily temperatures rising to 40 degrees C in the inland areas. In a country where air conditioning isn’t that common, and old retirees prefer to stay hot rather than using it if they have it, I’ve seen one single death attributed to the heat. The solution is fairly simple, use fans, rub your skin with a wet rag, drink lots of cold fluids, spend a lot of time shopping at the supermarket, go down to the local cafe, order a cup of wine and nurse for an hour watching the football reruns from 2006 on the bar TV (we are in the offseason).

  3. I have been living in Taiwan for seven months now. We’ve had more than a month straight of 36C heat with over 70% humidity. I’m not used to it. It took about ten minutes to figure out a strategy to cope with it.

    Active in the mornings. Siesta after lunch. Active in the evenings. Drink lots of water. Eat lots of fruit. Wear a hat outside.

    Are the Konsensus Kooks so dumb that they would never think of this? Or do they just consider the rest of the world that stupid?

  4. This seems to be a good spot to link to an essay on how to deal with Climate extremists who have seemingly immunized themselves against reality:

    • A nice excerpt from the above link:
      “Now it used to be a fundamental principle of science—one still known to conference attendees—that when a theory made predictions that were not just wrong, but lousy, we knew with certainty that the theory was false, that it was broken, that it was no good, that it should not be used as a basis for decisions, that it should be scraped or hidden from view until it was fixed. Remembering the old saw that “science was self-correcting”? That was the principle.
      The principle is effectively dead. We are still asked to believe in global-warming-of-doom even though this theory cannot make good or skillful predictions. Why? Because denier! And because it is in your best political and financial interest to do so.”

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