Global Warming: Good for Bad and Bad for Good?

Another day, another negative impact from pernicious global warming caused by humanity’s relentless quest for self-betterment.

Today, it is our coffee supply that is in jeopardy. Earlier this week, global warming was melting mummies in Chile. Last week, it was blamed for war in Syria. Turns out that global warming is a highly selective beast—it only harms the things we love, while enhancing the things we don’t.

Penguins? Polar bears? Songbirds? Coffee?

Harms. Harms. Harms. Harms.

Jellyfish? Poison ivy? Ragweed? War?

Helps. Helps. Helps. Helps.

Mummies are sort of a special case.  If they were roaming around attacking people, we’d imagine that global warming would empower them. But in this case, the mummies are harmlessly laying around in the (apparently poorly climate-controlled) vaults in a museum in Chile.  There, they are a natural treasure. So, predictably, global warming is causing harm. 

[Gotta wonder what warming could do to poor old Lenin lying entombed in Red Square.  Our greener friends might want him reincarnated, while others would hope he would begin to leak like the Chilean mummies].

And the list goes on and on—something that we’ve pointed out previously (see here and here, for example).

Consequently, the news of the past week should hardly come as a great surprise. We’re pretty used to it by now.

But what may come as a surprise is that according to U.K. economist Richard Tol, recent studies into the economic impacts of climate change find the positives to be increasing and the negatives to be decreasing.

Tol writes:

Since 2009, however, more estimates of the economic impact of climate change have been published…The new trend shows positive impacts for warming up to about two degrees global warming, just like the old trend did. The new trend, however, shows markedly less negative impacts for more profound warming than did the old trend. In other words, in the last five years, we have become less pessimistic about the impacts of climate change.

Couple this result with the bevy of new scientific findings indicating the future climate change is likely to be on the low side of climate model projections and we have some good news about climate change’s impact on something that we all like—money!

Got to wonder why it is that you only find this result highlighted in these pages and not headlining the front page of the Washington Post or New York Times.