Climate Costs in Context
There is a consensus among climate scientists that human activity is contributing to climate change. However, claims that rising temperatures pose an existential threat to the human race or modern civilization are not well supported by climate science or economics; to the contrary, they are every bit as far from the mainstream as claims that climate change is not occurring or that it will be beneficial.
The Obama administration’s long-run projection for the cost of climate change is less than one-tenth of one point of economic growth per year.
Forecasts for the coming century of environmental and social impacts, such as sea-level rise, ecosystem destruction, and geopolitical instability, are likewise substantial but not catastrophic.
Politicians and activists are especially misleading when they assert a “scientific consensus” for their predictions of damage. Widespread agreement—and, most infamously, the “97% consensus”—extends only to the more mundane assertions that climate change is occurring and that human activity is at least partially responsible.