David Wallace-Wells from the New York Magazine interviewed CEGA affiliated professor Solomon Hsiang about his work at the Climate Impact Lab and the impacts of global warming on GDP, as well as the possibilities and drawbacks of so-called climate adaptation:
“The returns on engineered adaptations have been spotty. Advocates point to awe-inspiring flood-management systems in the Netherlands, but the $14 billion levees built in New Orleans after Katrina don’t protect against category-five hurricanes today and, thanks to sea-level rise and ground subsidence, may no longer provide “adequate” protection as soon as 2023. The challenges will grow, in some cases exponentially, but the larger blueprint of adaptation is there for all to see, a photonegative of all of the impacts scientists have told us to expect even over the next few decades: heat stress and sea-level rise, wildfire and river flooding, agricultural decline, economic stagnation, migration crises, conflict, and state collapse.
Much of the most eye-opening work to integrate these has been done by Solomon Hsiang of the Climate Impact Lab; when I mentioned adaptation to him, he laughed. He was all for adaptation, he said, and has focused some recent work on the question of just how we might better respond to climate impacts. But he’s also built most of his models on recent history, he said, precisely in order to reflect at least our present-day capacity to adapt. Those models suggest unmitigated warming could cost global GDP more than 20% of its value by the end of the century; limit warming to two degrees and climate change would still kill as many people each year as COVID-19 has. You don’t do adaptation on top of that, Hsiang said. Those figures already reflect the adaptation.”
Source: After Climate Alarmism
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