NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Reports Are Misleading

December 12, 2011

By the year 2100, developing countries will be richer than the United States is today, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) worst-case temperature change scenario.  Moreover, the faster developing countries grow and the more emissions they produce, the wealthier they will be -- even taking into account all the damage that is expected from climate changes caused by those emissions.  These surprising findings about developing countries and global warming are based on the very studies that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's own reports rely upon.  But you wouldn't know it based on the IPCC's dire warnings, say Indur M. Goklany, who has represented the United States at Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change negotiations in the past, and Julian Morris, vice president of research at the Reason Foundation.

In a new study, Goklany and Morris detail how studies on the impacts of climate change disregard the economic and technological advances that poor countries are expected to make -- even under the IPCC's worst-case global warming scenario.

  • "Using the IPCC's own highest emission scenario, we show that by 2100 the gross domestic product per capita of today's 'developing' countries will be double that of the United States in 2006, even taking into account any losses resulting from climate change," Goklany says.
  • "Thus developing countries will have significantly more resources and better technology to cope with climate change than even the United States does today."

The study outlines three approaches to tackling climate change: cutting emissions of greenhouse gases; focused adaptation; and economic growth.  "The best strategy by far to combat climate change is economic growth," says Morris.

Source: Indur M. Goklany and Julian Morris, "How the IPCC Reports Mislead the Public, Exaggerate the Negative Impacts of Climate Change and Ignore the Benefits of Economic Growth," Reason Foundation, December 7, 2011.

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