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Sun Jun 28, 2020, 08:19 AM

The Dismal Science On Climate And The Future - It's Even Worse Than You Could Imagine

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Glendon had spent the majority of his career working in finance, but he makes a point to stand out slightly, with spiky gray hair, a yellow plaid bow tie, and rectangular brown-and-red glasses. He grew up outside Detroit, in the nineteen-seventies, where he became “familiar at a very young age with things going badly,” he told me. “I became fascinated by the question: Why does that happen in some places and not in others?” Early in his career, he moved back and forth between places that worked well and places that worked poorly: he was an engineer in an auto factory in Detroit and a banker on the South Side of Chicago before moving to a small-business lending program in Russia; then he got a Ph.D. in economic history at Harvard. He joined the investment firm Wellington Management in the late nineties, first as a researcher trying to understand what might become of Asia after the financial crisis. He eventually became a partner. Seven years ago, he started asking questions about climate change.

“What I discovered was that investment professionals talked in a weird way about it,” he said. “They used language for climate change that they wouldn’t use for anything else. They wanted certainty, belief. They didn’t think or talk probabilistically. They talked about it in a way that was binary. That is not how you should think about investing.” He went on, “You can get people in the business community interested in just about anything. You can get uptight white guys to talk about erectile dysfunction and diarrhea, if there are stocks involved. But you couldn’t get them to talk about climate change.”

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Glendon said, “The economics of climate change,” as it has been calculated and analyzed to date, “will be seen as one of the worst mistakes humans have made, much worse than any of the denialists.” The models are all calibrated on the past fifty to seventy-five years, a period of time when, at least in rich countries, “nothing happened,” he said. “No wars, no Great Depression—one bit of inflation and one financial crisis and that’s it.” Many typical models take data from that historic period and project what might happen in the future. They are also based on the assumption that the experience of the economy is contingent on the climate at that time. But, Glendon said, they haven’t incorporated thresholds, or breaking points. “The actual experience of the economy is contingent on the climate of the future.”

For instance, many economic models still assume that India will keep growing indefinitely. “They just have seven-per-cent growth forever of G.D.P., of demand,” Glendon said. “There is no question about whether climate change might impact this growth. India gets rich forever.” This leads to a major assumption, which “underpins the entire oil market,” among others, Glendon said. But the report found that three hundred and eighty million people work outdoors in India, and less than ten per cent of the country’s homes have air-conditioning. By 2030, possibly two hundred million Indians could be exposed to lethal heat waves, in which the temperature could kill a well-hydrated person who spent only four hours outside, even in the shade, and by which the average number of lost daylight working hours could increase to the point where between 2.5 and 4.5 per cent of G.D.P. could be at risk annually. Florida is another one of the report’s case studies. Many mortgages on homes and properties along the Florida coast now require owners to have flood insurance. Insurance contracts are renewed every year. If, at a certain point, insurance companies will no longer cover properties in a given area, owing to their climate exposure, then owners may risk defaulting on their mortgages. “If you say there are parts of the country where thirty-year mortgages don’t make sense, even just because of uncertainty, bad things will happen in that place,” Glendon told me. “These places will be financially underwater long before they are physically underwater.”

EDIT

https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-a-warming-planet/will-big-business-finally-reckon-with-the-climate-crisis

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Reply The Dismal Science On Climate And The Future - It's Even Worse Than You Could Imagine (Original post)
hatrack Jun 28 OP
pansypoo53219 Jun 28 #1
Boomer Jun 28 #3
pansypoo53219 Jun 28 #4
Boomer Jun 28 #5
pansypoo53219 Jun 29 #8
delisen Jun 28 #2
CatLady78 Jun 29 #6
bronxiteforever Jun 29 #7

Response to hatrack (Original post)

Sun Jun 28, 2020, 08:31 AM

1. my cousin is a climate chemestry Phd. he says humans are fucked. only a mega huge volcano can save

humans. and has to kill a shitload.

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Response to pansypoo53219 (Reply #1)

Sun Jun 28, 2020, 10:58 AM

3. Please share more!

I'm curious how he would describe the volcano scenario and its effects.

I'm assuming that a volcano would eject enough debris into the atmosphere to cool down the planet, but that's a short-term effect. It's only masking the underlying rise in carbon. Eventually the particles are washed out of the atmosphere and we're back to a hellish reality.

If the volcano's "nuclear winter" killed a substantial portion of our population -- let's say 2/3 or even 3/4 -- our carbon emissions would be lowered to bare subsistence level. But we're already at the point where feedback loops, such as melting permafrost, are emitting both carbon and methane, so a drop in human contributions is not going to stop climate change. At most, it would just slow down the progression.

So I don't see how a supervolcano changes the outcome. It seems like it would just add an unexpected plot twist before the inevitable finale.

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Response to Boomer (Reply #3)

Sun Jun 28, 2020, 09:35 PM

4. i am the one who is hoping for a volcano. he is all doom.

we keep breeding like rabbits. or roaches. and culling humans is hitlerish. need a dirty atmosphere to cool it. we adapt rather than change. weeeeee.

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Response to pansypoo53219 (Reply #4)

Sun Jun 28, 2020, 11:04 PM

5. I'm with your cousin on this one

I can't see a supervolcano doing anything more than delaying the inevitable for a few years at best.

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Response to Boomer (Reply #5)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 04:36 PM

8. they knew this in the 70's i think. only a china like 1 child policy everywhere will work.

gates should have done birth control 1st. + medicine is delaying death more & more. we need darwin, so bless the anti-vaxers + anti maskers.

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Response to hatrack (Original post)

Sun Jun 28, 2020, 10:04 AM

2. Plus

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Response to hatrack (Original post)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 05:16 AM

6. I have wondered about this

How is it that it has only been in the last 5-10 years maybe that I have seen environmental issues start getting factored into economic models? They generally parrot that crap-austerity for the poor, cut taxes on the wealthy etc over and over.

How can something that is supposed to be a science ignore how finite our resources are and how they are subject to natural laws that should be factored into any realistic model?

They should fund interdisciplinary areas where some of these social sciences (especially these hideously right shifted ones like economics) have more of a conversation with people with training in the natural sciences.


Look at psychiatry for instance. It will almost certainly become a more accurate science if they implement stuff like computational psychiatry properly (without falling prey to the biases inherent in ai right now). Surely economics is another softer science that needs a serious overhaul.

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Response to hatrack (Original post)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 08:51 AM

7. Kick

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