The Cost of Climate Change

The IPCC is about to release its newest AR5 climate change assessment report.

It, like all 4 previous reports, predicts dire consequences; but now with greater certainty unless governments act.

Assuming that everything the IPCC tells us is true, a remarkable new cost/benefit analysis demonstrates conclusively that the proper course of action for governments is to adapt to climate change rather than fight it with IPCC-recommended taxation.

The IPCC recommends governments enact cap-and-trade tax systems to pay for combating the effects of runaway climate change. The Australian model is one of them.

The new analysis, using a scaled-up Australian carbon tax model, quantifies the global cost of climate change leading to its undeniable conclusions.

50 to 1 Project

Australian Topher Field

For the first time ever, someone has quantified the global price-tag for fighting climate change using actual $$ costs and the IPCC’s data and recommendations. The results are conclusive.

They are summarized in layman’s terms in a highly entertaining 9m30s video by Australian Topher Field for his 50 to 1 Project.

Field accepts IPCC data and recommendations without question and calculates the global cost of climate change based on the Australian tax model. He compares that cost with the cost of simply mitigating climate change as it occurs using accepted expert assessment.

Topher includes comments from IPCC-skeptical scientists and researchers.

Cost of the IPCC Model

Assuming IPCC figures are correct and projections for the 10-year cost of the Australian model are also correct, Field works the numbers.

The numerical calculations are straightforward and explained in detail on a web page titled, “Is CO2 mitigation cost-effective?

The highlights are:

  • Australia produces 1.2% of global CO2 emissions
  • Over the next 10 years Australian’s carbon tax would cost $162.3 billion
  • Over the next 10 years the Australian model would reduce global temperature by 0.00005°C
  • Over the next 10 years the IPCC forecasts a global increase of 0.17°C
  • Scaled up, the global cost to prevent 1°C of temperature rise is $3.2 quadrillion dollars!!
  • Scaled up, the global cost to prevent 0.17°C over the next 10 years is $540 trillion

The world bank projects global GDP at $670 trillion over the next 10 years. To prevent the IPCC’s measly 0.17°C projected temperature rise over that time would cost $540 trillion.

For those counting that amounts to 80% of global GDP and $77,000 for every man, woman and child on Planet Earth.

Topher Field’s figures are reasonable. They all come from generally accepted mainstream sources, including the IPCC.

Cost of the Reaction Model

The pragmatic approach to climate change is to just react to observed changes as they occur. That obviously includes projecting anticipated changes and planning for them accordingly.

Fortunately, the IPCC has already done the legwork. It projects the effects of climate change for the rest of this century.

Accepting that, then all that’s needed is to calculate the cost of counteracting those predicted effects as they occur.

According to Field, the cost of mitigation climate change figures has been done by Stern (2006). It costs 1.5% of global 10-year GDP to counter the effects of a 0.17°C temperature rise. 1.5% of global 10-year GDP is $10 trillion.


According to Topher Field’s analysis, the cost of fighting climate change the IPCC way will cost $570 trillion over the next 10 years. That’s 80% of global GDP.

On the other hand, anticipating and mitigating climate change effects as they come will accomplish the same goal for $10 trillion, or about 1.5% of global GDP.

Comparing 80% to 1.5% works out to over a 50 to 1 difference in cost for the two methods of dealing with climate change. Hence the name “50 to 1 Project”.

A common problem with big government solutions to anything, like cap-and-trade, is that often no cost/benefit analysis is applied to determine the most effective way to solve the problem.

It’s no contest, mitigating climate change effects as they arise is far, FAR cheaper than IPCC carbon tax schemes which, themselves, cause a major slowdown of economic activity.

Perhaps that is why Australians voted in a new government a couple weeks ago committed to repealing Australia’s burdensome carbon tax. Now the tax is history!


About azleader

Learning to see life more clearly... one image at a time!

Posted on Sep 22, 2013, in Business, Climate, economics, environment, Government, IPCC, nature, news, Politics, science. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I love hearing debate from both sides, as each contain persuasive elements.

    Historically, science and politics have had many disagreements.

    Toss in some religious and business pressure, and anything can evolve (or not).

    “Only listen to advice which assists the cause”.

    Anyhow, it always gives me plenty of material for my cartoons.

    This is my latest . . . .



    • Very funny cartoon! Thanks for sharing.

      Topher Field has a lot of great cartoonist humor in his video that makes it both entertaining and educational. His video inspired my article.

      Having been a planetarium director for several years I especially liked Topher’s joke in the video about Pluto not being a planet anymore. 🙂

  2. EVERYWHERE CARBON ECONOMY IS FAILING. Would YOU pay taxes for the AIR YOU BREATH? SNOW EVERYWHERE!!!!! Nearly 12″ SNOW COMING TONIGHT.! !!! 50% Share holder of 2007 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE, I.P.C.C. withdrawn all 26 CLIMATE Models.MELTING. & DEICING ARE TWO SEPARATE PROCES . In Eastern ANTARCTICA RUSSIAN CLIMATE RESEARCH SHIP went to measure Ice MELT surrenderd by OVER TEN FEET OF THICK ICE & they did not find CO2 THERE !!!! Three rescue SHIPS were also stuck ed there over 3 Weeks. Is it GLOBAL WARMING? Is it CO2? GLOBAL Cooling.

    • Nobody quantifies the incredible cost of CO2 reduction schemes better than does Topher Field. I believe he is the first person ever to calculate the total global cost. His video is amazing.

      Don’t confuse this winter’s cold weather events in the United States with climate change. It’s a colder winter than normal here and there is some growth in the ice caps, but the rest of the world is normal or above normal temperature.

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