Memorandum by Professor S Fred Singer,
University of Virginia
1. Will a putative global warming produce
damages or benefits?
The study led by Professor Robert Mendelsohn
(Yale University) and a team of 23 mostly academic economists
concludes that a doubling of CO2 coupled to a moderate warming
will increase the GDP of the United States. Published by Cambridge
University Press, 1999.
Using a similar methodology, the benefits of
warming are likely to be even greater for nations at higher latitudes
(UK and Northern Europe) and somewhat smaller for lower latitudes
Recall that for tropical latitudes, models predict
a lesser than global average warming. Also, any warming will increase
ocean evaporation and perforce the amount of global average precipitationhence
By contrast, the IPCC has adduced negative impacts
(damages) from global warming. Note, however, that while the five
studies cited in the Second Assessment Report (1995) appear to
give similar estimates of total damage, they differ greatly when
compared by sector. I have noted that one study cites mainly damage
to agriculture, while another cites mainly damage due to sea level
rise. And so forth.
Note also, that both Mendelsohn and IPCC use
values for sea level rise given by IPCC that are unrealistically
large. Even so, the Yale study and IPCC differ not only in magnitude
but in sign!
2. Who bears the brunt of climate change
and the costs of controls?
The answer to "brunt" is suggested
above. The answer to "cost" depends on which countries
adopt the Kyoto Protocol or similar measures. A highly regarded
study by Professor William Nordhaus (Yale) suggests that the per-capita
cost for the US is three times greater than for rest of OECD.
A summary was published in Science magazine.
25 January 2005