Good piece, Anu. I am an economist, so the tools I bring to this are different from yours, but I too am frustrated by the part of the picture that I work with.

What frustrates me is the frequency with which we see the claim that climate change is going to destroy the economy, and in some versions of the story, will destroy it soon. For sure, some aspects of climate change affect the economy in adverse ways, like reducing productivity of some crops or diverting scarce to building flood control dams. But that’s not the whole story.

The part of the story that is not being told is that mainstream climate science does not support the thesis that climate change will destroy the economy. Quite the opposite. The most alarming scenarios used by mainstream climate scientists, including the scariest one, called RCP 8.5, hypothesize that the world economy will continue to grow rapidly at least through the end of the century. In fact, that is exactly WHY that scenario is so scary. It posits continued economic growth as the main driver of rising carbon emissions. If growth stopped, emissions would slow, and the earth would warm less.(That’s the short version of the story. For the longer version, see here: https://www.niskanencenter.org/will-climate-change-destroy-global-economy/ )

So why does this matter? It matters because the credibility of the climate action community — of which I consider myself an active member — depends on our pledge not to depart from mainstream, accepted, peer-reviewed, climate science. Every time we repeat or reTweet a story that says “scientists tell us global warming is about to crash the economy” we are telling a lie.

Some people think that telling lies like that will scare people into action. Nonsense. They just undermine our credibility and harm our cause.

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Economist, Senior Fellow at Niskanen Center, Yale Ph.D. Interests include environment, health care policy, social safety net, economic freedom.

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