Worst Deal In History: $1.5 Trillion A Year To Reduce Global Warming By 0.048°C

the cost of climate change

Bjørn “Skeptical Environmentalist” Lomborg has been doing the math on global warming – and it’s worse than we thought.

Even if every nation in the world adheres to its climate change commitments by 2030 the only  difference it will make to “global warming” by the end of this century will be to reduce the world’s temperatures by 0.048°C (0.086°F).

That’s 1/20th of a degree C.

Let’s put this into perspective.

Earlier this year, Climate Change Business Journal calculated that the annual cost of the global warming industry is $1.5 trillion.

If you want to know what that looks like in numerals it is:


And if you want a better idea of how it looks conceptually, I highly recommend this infographic visualisation.

To put it another way, even if you’d spent $1 million a day every day since the birth of Jesus, you’d still be less than half the way to reaching $1.5 trillion.

Or, to put it still another way, $1.5 trillion is the same amount we spend annually buying stuff we want and need via online shopping.

The Occupy crowd invite us to feel bitter and angry and cheated by the $700 billion it cost to bail out the US banks after the 2008 crash – and perhaps they’re right. But at least that was just a one-off payment. With the climate change industry we’re talking more than twice that amount being wasted every single year.

Well, I say “wasted”. Obviously if you belong to one of the categories below – which, of course, a lot of Occupy sympathizers do, when they’re taking time off from their day jobs rioting, soap-shunning and plaiting their armpit hair – then you might feel differently.

Carbon traders; dodgy academics; vulture capitalists pecking on the bloated carcass of renewable energy; environmental NGOs; environmental consultancies who specialise in giving “expert” testimony at planning appeals, arguing on the most spurious grounds that no the bats and birds in this area aren’t going to be affected by this new wind turbine they’re going to be happier than ever no really; sustainability officers at every level of local government; advisers attached to every business who advise them how to reduce their CO2 count; PR companies that specialise in green awareness; dog-on-a-rope wind turbine scamsters; environmental lawyers.

That’s based on a list I dashed off a few months ago when I first wrote about the $4 billion a day climate industry.

You could, at a push, argue – as neo-Keynesians like Paul Krugman no doubt would – that the existence of these non-jobs is an end in itself.

Yes, in terms of their usefulness to society or their productive value, these non-jobs are roughly the equivalent of paying people to dig holes in the ground with tea spoons and then fill them up again, grain by grain, using tweezers and a bucket of sand. But what you have to remember that is these people are otherwise unemployable. Because of their junk-science qualifications, they’re not even capable of delivering lines like “would sir like fries with that?” with the appropriate degree of friendly servility. And anyway, you couldn’t trust these guys with the stripey drinking straws, let alone with the contents of the cash register.

We’re talking about the kind of people who, if they weren’t in the pay of Big Eco, would probably be trading prisoners’ body parts in China or scamming pensioners with emails from Nigeria or training baby dolphins to act as cetacean torpedoes for the Russian navy.

So apart from keeping all those scumbags off the streets, what are we actually getting in return for this $1.5 trillion of our money which we’re being forced by our governments to spend annually on this global climate scam industry?

Well, here, courtesy of Lomborg, are the figures:

Table 1. Impact of climate policies, optimistic and pessimistic, for RCP8.5, using MAGICC, summary of finds described throughout the text
Change in temperature
°C year 2100 Pessimistic Optimistic
US INDC 0.008 0.031
US CPP 0.004 0.013
EU INDC 0.017 0.053
EU 2020 0.007 0.026
China INDC 0.014 0.048
RoW INDC 0.009 0.036
Global INDCs 0.048 0.170

(INDC stands for Intended Nationally Determined Contributions – as submitted in advance to the forthcoming COP21 climate talks in Paris; CPP stands for Clean Power Plan; RoW stands for Rest of World)

We’ve talked about the financial cost of these policies. What we haven’t yet mentioned are the social costs: the hundreds of thousands prematurely killed by the fuel poverty brought about by the drive for “clean energy”; the wildlife sliced and diced or fried by bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes and solar arrays; the remote landscapes ravaged by pylons connecting turbines to the grid; the billions of man-hours wasted on recycling; the increased pollution due to the misguided Europe-wide adoption of “low carbon” diesel cars; the rainforest chopped down and the agricultural land wasted to grow biofuels; the debasement of science for political ends; the needless panic induced in a generation or more of children; the assault on economic progress; the destruction of American forests to create wood-chips to burn as biomass; the harassment, vilification and defunding of skeptical scientists; the diversion of scarce public resources into intellectually bankrupt fields like “climate science”; the corruption of once-proud institutions like NASA, the Royal Society, and the Met Office; and so on.

All this destruction and expense just to reduce the world’s temperature – even according the most optimistic scenario – by 0.170 degrees C.

$1.5 trillion per year to shave off, at best, less than one fifth of a degree centigrade by the end of the century.

I’m no businessman but that sounds a pretty poor deal in anyone’s language.


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