Common Sense Canadian

World Bank: Battling climate change would grow global economy

PostedJuly 4, 2014 by in International
World Bank-Battling climate change would grow economy

World Bank president Jim Yong Kim

Read this June 24 story from The Guardian on the World Bank’s view that tackling climate change would be good for the global economy, contradicting statements by national leaders like Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Australia’s Tony Abbott.

Fighting climate change would help grow the world economy, according to the World Bank, adding up to $2.6tn (£1.5tn) a year to global GDP in the coming decades.

The findings, made available in a report on Tuesday, offer a sharp contrast with claims by the Australian government that fighting climate change would “clobber” the economy.

The report also advances on the work of economists who have argued that it will be far more costly in the long run to delay action on climate change.

Instead, Tuesday’s report found a number of key policies – none of which included putting an economy-wide price on carbon – would lead to global GDP gains of between $1.8tn and $2.6tn a year by 2030, in terms of new jobs, increased crop productivity and public health benefits.

The pro-climate regulations and tax incentives would also on their own deliver nearly a third of the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions needed to keep warming below the 2C threshold for dangerous climate change, the bank said.

The World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, said the findings put to rest claims that the world could not afford to act on climate change.

“These policies make economic sense,” Kim said in a conference call with reporters. “This report removes another false barrier, another false argument not to take action against climate change.”

Australia’s prime minister, Tony Abbott, said during a visit to Canada earlier this month that it was too costly to fight climate change. “What we are not going to do is clobber our economy and cost jobs with things like a job-killing carbon tax,” he said.

Kim did not comment directly on Abbott’s remarks but he said pointedly that the World Bank study provided solid data on the effects of pro-climate policies, in contrast to “opining” about their costs.



About the Author

Common Sense Canadian



    As usual the global geoengineering/aerial spraying projects of the last twenty years or so go unmentioned.
    Garbage in garbage out.


    “Fighting climate change would help grow the world economy, according to the World Bank, adding up to $2.6tn (£1.5tn) a year to global GDP in the coming decades.”


      Damien Gillis

      Historically, wars are economic boons – albeit short term. Why should a war on fossil fuels be any different?

      Seriously, though, even if building out renewable energy and re-engineering our communities, food production and transport infrastructure doesn’t grow the economy – and, I’ll acknowledge that our dogmatic obsession with “growth” writ large is a fundamental part of the problem – the flip side of the coin is certainly true. Namely, that there are great financial costs to NOT addressing climate change, as this economist story describes:


        Damien, “historically” the economic “benefits” all all wadded up in the national debt, which we really haven’t come to terms with. When the “debt bomb” hits, all economic “benefits” from war will be reconciled; the result will not be good. Similarly, replacing functional energy generation with less reliable, more costly generation will be a net loss – unless the broadest definition, to include the cost of pollution, is encompassed. Carbon dioxide is accused of causing increasing havoc like tornadoes, hurricanes, cyclones, tropical storms; increased wildfires, decreased wheat and corn yields, etc.

        It seems like a no-brainer, eh?

        Except it’s not happening. If it is not happening, then it is all for naught.
        It is just replacing good energy generation with unreliable, more costly generation… a net loss…
        Tornadoes, hurricanes, cyclones, tropical storms are all less, lower in number AND intensity. Wildfires average 1,280,000 km-squared less per year than the year past, GLOBALLY. Western USA wildfires are burning at a rate that is the lowest in 3000 years; that is a world-wide, century-long history of ever-decreasing global burned area. Individual years go up and down, but the trend is down, not up. There is no decrease in wheat yields… and as for the “corn belt” region of the USA? Not only are yields up, but this region has not seen any hint of warming for FORTY YEARS…

        Don’t believe me… believe these web sites:

        “developed 0.5°×0.5° data set of global burned area from 1901 to 2007 ”
        “average global burned area is ~442 × 104 km2/ yr during 1901–2007…”
        “declining rate of burned area globally (1.28 × 104 km2/yr).
        “… the declining trend of burned area in tropics and extratropics…”

        The National Interagency Fire Center (USA) maintains these stats from incident reports, detailing the number of wildfires, and the acres they burned.
        Year Number Acres
        2013 47,579 4,319,546
        2012 67,744 9,326,238
        2011 74,126 8,711,367
        2010 71,971 3,422,724
        2009 78,792 5,921,786
        2008 78,979 5,292,468
        2007 85,705 9,328,045
        2006 96,385 9,873,745
        2005 66,753 8,689,389
        2004 65,461 8,907,880

        LA Times: “Although 2013 was marked by two high-profile blazes, one in California and the other in Arizona, nationally the total wildfire acreage, 4.15 million, is far below the 10-year average of 6.8 million acres.”

        Western USA, 3000 years, lowest rate of burning:

        Number of wildfires in Canada are also on a declining trend over the past 40 years of global warming No significant change in total area burned over the past 40 years
        You can see a nice graph at

        The count of all hurricanes was over 60 in 1985, 1991, 1997; since 2007 the count has been 50 or below, every year (2013 ended with 43)

        The number of named Atlantic storms last year was 13, about half of 2005’s 25, with 2014 forecasts predicting even less. See

        The number of actual Atlantic hurricanes in 2005 was more than seven times that of last year.

        Mankind’s “Climate Change” – supposedly through the emissions of carbon dioxide – is considered to have kicked in, starting in 1950. Prior to that, there just wasn’t enough carbon dioxide from man to have made a gnat’s mass of difference. Note that the USA hurricanes were the worst, prior to 1950 (1941-1950)

        Hurricanes, cyclones, typhoons (by count) have been on the decline since 1996, when the hurricane count last broke 60. Tropical storms, by count, haven’t broken 100 for sixteen straight years, and have been on the decline since 1998. See
        Extremes peaked in 2005-2006, with the 5-year moving average over 40, the last couple of years, below 5.

        The intensity, or strength, of cyclones, globally, is lower; below the peaks of 1993, 1998, and 2006
        (and the above chart does not show the severe storms of the 1900-1950 half-century, when things were much worse, and CO2 much lower).

        Down under, Aussies’ extreme storms peaked in 1983-84:

        The count of “Named” storms each year can no longer be compared, since the USA’s National Hurricane Center began naming sub-tropical depressions as if they were full-tropical-strength, starting with Gustav, in 2002. Hurricanes, cyclones, etc and tropical storms (by ferocity) peaked in 1993, with a smaller peak in 1998, and an even smaller peak in 2006. See

        Tornados are also way below normal. Three things about tornado data:

        (1) Doppler radar wasn’t around before. With radar, we detect more tornados, now.

        (2) People report tornados; fewer people back then, we missed some. More people now, we report more tornados.

        These two things would make the tornado count trend upward, even if the real number of tornados was absolutely flat, so the fact that the count of tornados is down, in spite of the detection bias, makes the claim of more ‘extreme weather’ even more silly, but wait,

        (3) The rating of the ferocity of a tornado is based upon the damage, and the width of the swath of destruction it leaves on the ground. Two identical tornados, one through a grassy pasture, and the other through a town, well, the one through the town would receive a higher rating, even though the two were identical. More people, more towns, one would expect more damage, higher ratings, if tornados were constant. Truth is, even the ferocity ratings are down. Ah, but lately, the “width” factor was changed from the average width, to the maximum width, thus tornadoes in the recent year or so will be rated higher than they would have been, prior to the “rule change”… even so, the numbers, and ratings, are lower. Tornado data:
        Source: Greg Carbin of the NOAA Storm Prediction Center.

          Damien Gillis

          “…replacing functional energy generation with less reliable, more costly generation will be a net loss – unless the broadest definition, to include the cost of pollution, is encompassed.”

          Voodude, I do indeed believe we must factor in all the external costs encompassed by given energy choices – and doing so changes the cost-benefit analysis.

          I can think of many compelling reasons for shifting away from our fossil fuel dependence – especially in the era of high-cost, high-risk, water-intensive, unconventional energy, with exceedingly low EROI (energy return on energy investment). The comparison you’re making would have made far more sense if this was 30 years ago. Today, new supplies of fossil fuel energy are increasingly coming from shale oil and gas and bitumen, which are a whole different ball game compared with the sweet light crude and conventional gas of the good old days. Moreover, with the staggering decline rates for shale gas wells, they’re hardly proving to be a dependable, cost-effective, long-term energy supply!

          When fully costed throughout their life cycles, these fuels are hardly more affordable than photovoltaics and wind – especially if we factor in other externalities like human and animal health and impacts on fresh water.

          Sure wind and solar aren’t base load, but they can’t be examined in a silo – rather, as part of an integrated energy web in which they make a specific contribution at different points within a day or year. Properly combined with base load sources like hydro and geothermal – and battery systems on a small-scale, local level – they can be extremely effective.

          I can appreciate your devil’s avocate rebuttal to exaggerated claims of anthropogenic climate change, but what’s wrong with renewables…or conservation? Why are you deploying this climate research? What is your interest in remaining tethered to fossil fuels?


            You post articles that I must research, otherwise I would be flippant in commenting. I owe you that. As far as what is motivating me, in a broader arena, I have found that every time I stop to research a subject, I find that it is actually the opposite of what I read in the broader media. Well, not “every time” but, I am astounded how much hype is put out that isn’t true. Polar Bears, for example. Penguins! Neither animal is actually threatened. 97% percent of scientists agree… global warming is… Turns out that is more like 0.3%. Fukushima is the worst – NOT! People are busy working and taking care of their lives, and other people, the press – are pulling the wool over their eyes, fooling them to thinking that “this is the worst ever” when it is not. People are not deliberately ignorant of history, but they are busy, and don’t notice stuff. I do.


        Damien, The Economist article you mentioned is just a bunch of calculations that are based upon the IPCC predictions. None of the power-houses of investment, the big-names in the article, have anything new to add to the argument, just their names being used to add window dressing to the IPCC claims.
        The article “points out that, if the oceans go on rising at current rates, the sea level at New York city will rise by 27-49cm by 2050 and by 64-128cm in 2100. In Norfolk, Virginia—home to America’s largest naval base—the rise could be 134cm.”
        The reason the Cheasapeake, that area in Virginia, is slipping into the ocean is because of a BOLIDE IMPACT, an ancient meteorite crater.

        There is not a lot of “agreement” on what literal sea level rise is; some areas, like South Carolina’s Charleston is SINKING (subsidence), as is New Jersey.

        61% of the tide gauge records show no change in sea levels, 4% show a decrease, and a minority of 35% show a rise.

        “The analysis reveals a consistent trend of weak deceleration at each of these gauge sites throughout Australasia over the period from 1940 to 2000.”

        An analysis between relative sea level at for sites (NC and NJ and two Western Atlantic sites) concludes that overall, non-relative sea level is rising at 3 or 4 inches per century (1.58 mm/yr = 4 in/century). NC and NJ are subsiding.

        Damien, a lot of “news” has been made of the Western Antarctic ice sheet… it will (eventually) melt and contribute to sea level rise. However, what is happening in East Antarctic (the centre of the continent is a desert, this is happening in the edges)…
        Boning, Lebsock, Landerer and Stephens, published, 02 NOV 2012: “…recent extreme precipitation events along the East Antarctic coast that led to significant regional mass accumulations that partially compensate for some of the recent global ice mass losses that contribute to global sea level rise. The gain of almost 350 Gt from 2009 to 2011 is equivalent to a decrease in global mean sea level at a rate of 0.32 mm/yr over this three-year period.

        C. GENTHON, G. KRINNER, H. CASTEBRUNET (Annals of Glaciology 50 2009) say that increased precipitation in the Antarctic is so large that it will slow down sea level rise by 1 mm/year. The interior of the continent is a desert; the additional precipitation collects on the margins.
        “Abstract – 7 JUN 2013
        Recent snowfall anomalies in Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica, in a historical and future climate perspective
        Enhanced snowfall on the East Antarctic ice sheet is projected to significantly mitigate 21st century global sea level rise. In recent years (2009 and 2011), regionally extreme snowfall anomalies in Dronning Maud Land, in the Atlantic sector of East Antarctica, have been observed. It has been unclear, however, whether these anomalies can be ascribed to natural decadal variability, or whether they could signal the beginning of a long-term increase of snowfall. Here we use output of a regional atmospheric climate model, evaluated with available firn core records and gravimetry observations, and show that such episodes had not been seen previously in the satellite climate data era (1979). Comparisons with historical data that originate from firn cores, one with records extending back to the 18th century, confirm that accumulation anomalies of this scale have not occurred in the past ~60 years, although comparable anomalies are found further back in time. We examined several regional climate model projections, describing various warming scenarios into the 21st century. Anomalies with magnitudes similar to the recently observed ones were not present in the model output for the current climate, but were found increasingly probable toward the end of the 21st century.”

        The United Nations spoke in late 2009 of a maximum 2 metre rise by 2100, up from 18-59cm estimated in 2007; 28 to 98 centimeters by 2100, according to the latest IPCC report. AlGore, in his Oscar-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, went much further, talking of 20 feet, and showing computer graphics of cities, such Shanghai and San Francisco, half under water.

        The inconvenient truth: sea level is not changing much. Did you know, “sea level rise” is slowing down? Actual measurements show that. There is no sign of anthropogenic changes, no evidence of mankind’s influence, in the sea level data. Sea level is rising, and should rise, for obvious natural causes. It is nothing to worry about. It is rising at less than half of what the IPCC claims.

        “…It is found that the GMSL rises with the rate of 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr during 1993-2003 and started decelerating since 2004 to a rate of 1.8 ± 0.9 mm/yr in 2012. This deceleration is mainly due to the slowdown of ocean thermal expansion in the Pacific during the last decade, as a part of the Pacific decadal-scale variability, while the land-ice melting is accelerating the rise of the global ocean mass-equivalent sea level. Recent rapid recovery of the rising GMSL from its dramatic drop during the 2011 La Niña introduced a large uncertainty in the estimation of the sea level trend, but the decelerated rise of the GMSL appears to be intact.”…112…26C

        With the steady increase of CO2 levels, a trend of increasing sea levels is required (to support “Global Warming” theory). “The new reconstruction suggests a linear trend of 1.9 ± 0.3 mm·yr− 1 during the 20th century, with 1.8 ± 0.5 mm·yr− 1 since 1970.”

        A 2012 paper by Beenstock et al. finds global mean sea levels rose at only 1 mm/year, equivalent to less than 4 inches per century, over the 203 year period from 1807-2010.
        The authors also find no acceleration of sea level rise, which indicates that there is no human influence upon sea levels. In addition, the authors find that sea level rise is a local, rather than global, phenomenon; 61% of the tide gauge records show no change in sea levels, 4% show a decrease, and a minority of 35% show a rise.

        “For 1993 to 2001, all the data show large rates of sea-level rise over the western Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean (approaching 30 mm yr− 1) and sea-level falls in the eastern Pacific and western Indian Ocean (approaching − 10 mm yr− 1).” This indicates a “sloshing” -after removal of barometric pressure – 10 to 20 times as hard as from global sea level rise.

        This implies that relative sea level change is primarily related to subsidence (land sinking), or post-glacial rebound (land rising) rather than sea level changes from melting ice on land, or from thermal expansion (called “steric”, from warming) or, to the rather short, changing ocean currents.

        Beenstock: “…tide gauges dating back to the 19th century were located where sea levels happened to be rising. Data reconstructions based on these tide gauges are therefore likely to over-estimate sea level rise.

        Beenstock: “Although mean sea levels are rising by 1mm/year, sea level rise is local rather than global, and is concentrated in the Baltic and Adriatic seas, South East Asia and the Atlantic coast of the United States. In these locations, covering 35 percent of tide gauges, sea levels rose on average by 3.8mm/year. Sea levels were stable in locations covered by 61 percent of tide gauges, and sea levels fell in locations covered by 4 percent of tide gauges. In these locations sea levels fell on average by almost 6mm/year.”

        Beenstock et al. measurements of sea level rise agrees well with the 1.1-1.3 mm/yr (4.3 to 5.1 inches per century) found by the NOAA 2005-2012 Sea Level Budget, which used both satellite and buoy data. They found no acceleration of sea level rise.

        NOAA: “The regional patterns of sea level change, however, are many times larger, and can be extremely complex.”

        Sea level is a local phenomenon; NOAA calls it “regional”.

        A lack of measured acceleration of sea level rise dooms the alarmist theory of “Global Warming”. Church and White, 2006, found what they called “significant acceleration”, but subsequent studies have not confirmed that.

        Even more peer-reviewed, journal-published research shows that the rate of sea level rise is slowing. A paper by Ablain, Cazename, et al:

        Ablain: “These new calculations highlight a reduction in the rate of sea level rise since 2005, by ∼2 mm/yr. This represents a 60% reduction, compared to the 3.3 mm/yr sea level rise (glacial isostatic adjustment correction applied) measured between 1993 and 2005. Since November 2005, MSL [mean sea level] is … measured by a single satellite, Jason-1. However, the error analysis performed here, indicates that the recent reduction in MSL [mean sea level rise] rate is real.” …

        Ablain: “One of the most important indicators of global warming is the global Mean Sea Level (MSL), which integrates the response of many components of the climate system. … Tide gauge records have shown, that during the 20th century, global MSL has risen at an average rate of about 1.7 mm/yr (Church and White, 2006, Jevre- jeva et al., 2008). Since 1993, altimeter measurements from TOPEX/Poseidon (T/P) and Jason-1 satellites provide MSL measurements with global coverage (e.g., Nerem and Mitchum, 2001; Cazenave and Nerem, 2004; Leuliette et al., 2004; Nerem et al., 2006). The most recently published study using altimeter data reports a global MSL rate of 3.3±0.4 mm/yr over the 1993-2006 time span (Beckley et al., 2007). If the Global Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) correction … {about 0.3 mm/yr}; (Peltier, 2004)) is accounted, this rate increases to 3.6 mm/yr. However, differences in estimated MSL rates, from different authors, up to 0.7 mm/yr, are commonly reported. It is likely that such a scatter mostly results from differences in data processing and in applied geophysical corrections.”

        A paper in 2010 by Manfred Wenzel and Jens Schröter, in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, did not find the telltale signs of mankind’s influence, as predicted by “Global Warming” theory. The paper confirms other studies of tide gauge records which show that there has been no statistically significant acceleration in sea level rise over the past 100+ years, in contrast to statements of the IPCC and AlGore.

        Wenzel & Schröter: “The global mean sea level for the period January 1900 to December 2006 is estimated to rise at a rate of 1.56 ± 0.25 mm/yr [0.061 inches per year, roughly six inches per century] which is reasonably consistent with earlier estimates, but we do not find significant acceleration. The regional mean sea level of the single ocean basins show mixed long-term behavior. While most of the basins show a sea level rise of varying strength, there is an indication for a mean sea level fall in the southern Indian Ocean. Also, for the the tropical Indian and the South Atlantic no significant trend can be detected. Nevertheless, the South Atlantic, as well as the tropical Atlantic, are the only basins that show significant acceleration. On shorter timescales, but longer than the annual cycle, the basins’ sea level are dominated by oscillations with periods of about 50–75 years, and of about 25 years…”

        The rate of sea level rise, as determined by satellite altimetry (which is only available since 1992 and is calibrated to tide gauges) has decelerated over the past 5 years, from 3.2 mm/yr to only 1.5 mm/yr, about the same rate as calculated by Holgate for the period 1954-2003.”

        According to the 2012 NOAA sea level budget, global sea levels rose at only 1.1 – 1.3 mm/year from 2005-2012, which is less than half of the rate claimed by the IPCC (3.1 mm/yr) and is equivalent to less than five inches per century. The acceleration of sea level rise, crucial to proving the alarmist’s “Global Warming” theory, is absent.

        The NOAA report compares sea level rise, calculated from two different methods. The first uses satellite altimetry measurements of sea surface level relative to the satellite’s orbital altitude. The second method combines ARGO (ocean buoy) measurements of ocean temperature, to calculate the the steric (thermal expansion) change to ocean volume, plus the GRACE satellite measurements estimating the ocean’s mass. The rate of sea level rise, using the ARGO & GRACE method, shows a sea level rise of only 0.2 (ARGO) + 0.1 (GRACE) = 0.3 mm/yr.

        NOAA: “The regional patterns of sea level change, however, are many times larger and can be extremely complex. Steric sea level change is the dominant contributor to the spatial trend patterns observed for total sea level … While the global ocean has been gaining mass from the continents during this period, the Indian Ocean continues to show a net loss of mass to the other basins (Chambers and Willis 2009).”

        Only by adding on a relatively large and highly questionable Gobal Isostatic Adjustment, (based on a computer model, Paulson’s, from 2007) of 0.9 mm/yr to the GRACE data, do the two estimates come close to agreement. Following this questionable Global Isostatic Adjustment, the ARGO + GRACE estimate is 1.1± 0.8 mm/yr, as compared to the satellite altimetry estimate of 1.3 ± 0.9 mm.

        Trends of sea level that start in 2012 or 2011 should be suspect, since there was a large drop in sea level in 2011, about 7mm, unprecedented in the satellite era. That’s two to ten years’ worth of rise, gone in one season (temporarily – it is attributed to flood waters sitting on Australia, which eventually will evaporate or run off, back into the oceans).

        John Fasullo, of the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research: “Rain that falls in the outback of the largest island – also the smallest continent – tends to dribble away into inland waterways and seemingly get lost, without ever making it to the coast, or to collect in shallow inland seas and stay there till it evaporates. “It is a beautiful illustration of how complicated our climate system is.”

        Figuring sea level is not an easy thing. First off, sea level should be rising (normally and naturally, nothing to do with mankind’s burning of fossil fuels) just because the earth is rebounding from massive glaciation and The Little Ice Age … just as the earth should be warming a bit, since it was so frozen, not very long ago in geologic time.

        Modern satellites have only been available since 1992, and they are calibrated to select tide gages, some of which are of the questionable design and installation, as described above. Even their instruments are subject to drifts in calibration and odd effects from radio signal propagation through the atmosphere, the ionosphere in particular. Satellite altimeter data shows more than a 0.5mm/year drift:

        Third, all the wave action, tides, variations in atmospheric pressure, storms, winds, all that has to be removed from the data, in order to see the sea level itself.

        Next, since those massive ice sheets of glaciation, stuff that covered Chicago with ice, to a height of like half a mile, well, the weight of that ice pushed the land down into the earth’s mantle quite a bit. In areas where glaciation weighed heavily upon the land, now the land is rising back up. Ocean bottoms may be rising, or sinking. Land may be rising or sinking, too.

        Then we need to look at places built upon soft dirt, like Venice, Italy. Venice has been sinking, rather than the Adriatic rising. The weight of the city of Venice is smushing the soft alluvial deposits of river silt. The city building foundations are sinking into the mud around there, more so than sea level rising around the buildings. (There is also a fresh-water issue, for Venice, subsidence due to fresh water being pumped out from under them, from an aquifer, also causes Venice to sink.)

        So, actual “sea level” is, in part, a competition between moving water and moving land. The rest has to do with land-ice becoming sea water, and sea water expanding from steric effects. A bit remains, having to do with fresh water in liquid form being retained, such as in lakes and reservoirs, aquifers, etc.

Leave a Response