web analytics

The cost of doing nothing

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, September 28th, 2012 - 34 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster, ETS, national - Tags: ,

The early effects of climate change are now here, and in some respects the situation is deteriorating more rapidly than the models predict. We’re already facing the costs. But because of our stupid, short sighted political systems, we don’t have the capacity to respond to a threat that seems still to be years away. We are blocked by the short term costs of action, and ignore the much longer costs of doing nothing. Environmental concerns aside, even in purely economic terms, it makes no sense.

I’ve written on this before, but yet another report reminds us of our collective folly:

Climate change already killing millions – report

Climate change and carbon-based air pollution kills an estimated 5 million people a year, and already costs the world US$1.2 trillion annually, according to a new report.

Commissioned by the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a coalition of 20 countries, Climate Vulnerability Monitor: A Guide To The Cold Calculus Of A Hot Planet says by 2030, the cost of climate change will rise to 3.2 percent of world GDP and deaths will top 6 million – with developing countries taking most of the brunt.

The report said the cost of combating climate change – around 0.5 percent of global GDP – was dwarfed by the costs of doing nothing.

“A combined climate-carbon crisis is estimated to claim 100 million lives between now and the end of the next decade.” More than 90 percent of the deaths will occur in developing countries, which also face sacrificing 5 to 10 percent of their economies.

“One degree Celsius rise in temperature is associated with 10 percent productivity loss in farming,” Bangladesh’s prime minister Sheikh Hasina told Reuters. …

More confirmation of the 2006 Stern Report (also e.g. here, here). From one summary :

– The cost of reducing emissions could be limited to around 1% of global GDP;
– Unabated climate change could cost the world at least 5% of GDP each year; if more dramatic predictions come to pass, the cost could be more than 20% of GDP.

We need to face up to the short term costs, or the long term costs are much greater. Treasury understood it in 2008. Some of our smarter business people understand it. But National’s response has been to bury their heads even deeper in the sand, and further delay the introduction of the ETS. That we let them get away with it is a form of collective madness.

34 comments on “The cost of doing nothing ”

  1. Jokerman 1

    i imagine a steady increase in frequency and quantities of climate and economic refugees
    very sad
    if only the ” deniers” would pay attention to the real-time increase in frequency of extreme weather events occurring. (maybe they have not lived long enough with their eyes wide open yet)

    • ianmac 1.1

      I think everyone notices the increase of extreme weather events but the Deniers Deny that they are caused by Human action. (Just acts of their gods I suppose.)

    • Steve Wrathall 1.2

      You’re right. These “climate refugees” are in your imagination.

      Have you found out yet the identity of these mystery isles that Al Gore claims were “evacuated to NZ” in his 2006 Sci-fi Horror movie?

      “Better models are needed before exceptional events can be reliably linked to global warming…
      Especially in poor countries, the losses arising from extreme weather have often as much to do with poverty, poor health and government corruption as with a change in climate. ”
      Nature Editorial -19 September 2012

      • McFlock 1.2.1

        Judas goats normally don’t need to work so hard, Steve.
        The herd is beginning to sense that the big shed they’re being led into has some seriously disturbing odours coming from it… 

      • Georgecom 1.2.2

        Steve, hows the court case against NIWA going?

        Have costs been awarded yet?

      • Murray Olsen 1.2.3

        So Steve, what you’re saying is that without poverty, poor health and government corruption, the problems facing poor countries could be ameliorated by up to 50%? In other words, climate change is at least 50% of a serious problem. Or is it that you just don’t have much idea what you’re saying at all?

  2. Dr Terry 2

    Denyers think only, and selfishly, of themselves. “I’m alright Jack”. To hell with their severely threatened descendants.

  3. muzza 3

    What part of Geo-engineering IS happening, do people not understand?

    – The chem trail deniers seem to think its not…




    Another question might be – What makes anyone assume TPTB want any of the “useless feeders” here anyway?

  4. Steve Wrathall 4

    So a “Climate Vulnerable Forum” does a report which declares that they are vulnerable to climate. Phew, thank goodness for that! Be pretty embarassing is it didn’t , eh?

    • mike e 4.1

      Steve rattle last time you were claiming there was drought in isolated places around the world 2/3 of the worlds food production areas are in drought already 70% of Australia is in drought Now and the summer season hasn’t arrived!
      The Pacific ocean is rising faster than any other ocean your own figures!
      then you lied about the Arctic Ice melt your own links proved you wrong!
      It was the Arctic sea that had melted for the first time in six thousand years previously 150,000 years ago!
      You called those scientists liars yet your Data proved them right ,they were right in saying they expected the Arctic sea ice to melt before 2016!You just chose a part of the headline with out reading the story!
      You have found some tiny little publisher who’s made claims with no relevant data or hard science to prove their theory!
      Even the oil companies are saying that global warming is happening!
      Ostrich syndrome is what you and your deniers are suffering from!

      • mike e 4.1.1

        Silly wally by the way Nor Easterly winds predominate so far this year!
        That is the sign that la nina is on the rise this year which will mean flip flop weather pattern leaving NZ agriculture sector in drought!
        You want to put some money where your mouth is but first take your foot out!

        • Jokerman

          and those N.E are freakin annoying to be out in where i live; however, i believe i have selected one of the most “sheltered” provinces for the future (unless i go back to “school” again)
          river innundation is in the historical record (but i am a wee way from those)
          Why people place the convenience or aesthetic “pleasantness” (read Pleasantville) of living along the bottom of a river valley, over prudence, is beyond me; U.K these recent years, case in point.

      • Steve Wrathall 4.1.2

        “70% of Australia is in drought “!!!!
        This is “change”??

      • Steve Wrathall 4.1.3

        “It was the Arctic sea that had melted for the first time in six thousand years previously 150,000 years ago!”
        So is this incoherent sentence claiming that the Arctic last melted as much as today 6000 or 150,000 years ago?
        Whichever it is, to make such claims you would have to have annual ice melt minima data for the last 150,000 years and have NO years with less ice than 2012. No years during the [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eemian_Stage] Eemian Interglacial [/url] from 130,000 to 114,000 y.b.p. when “when forests reached as far north as North Cape (which is now tundra) in northern Norway”? No years during the Bronze, Roman or Mediaeval warm periods?
        You do not have such data. No one does. Like most claims that warmist pluck out of thin air, it doesn’t even withstand the mildest scrutiny

        • Kotahi Tāne Huna

          You really don’t have the faintest clue, do you Wrathall?

          Here’s a new and exciting word to add to your lexicon: proxy.

        • mike e

          The thin air bit is right you idiot that is the problem more CO2 than any time in history .
          The rest of your rant is just fantasy you’ve made up !
          99% of Scientists Agree with the science behind Global warming the other 1% come from Religious right wing Neanderthals faith based fwits like your self every bit of evidence you’ve put forward has been proven wrong mainly with your own Data !
          F off to KB WO where ever they will put you on latent Smiths show and pretend your some sort of expert!

  5. “The point is not that the events will not occur, but that the kinds preparations and precautions that a democratic government can take before the risk becomes so imminent that everyone recognises it, are so limited as to be a waste of time or worse”
    Stephen Franks 2003

  6. RedBaron 6

    Yep if that’s the Stern report I read it talks about the “insurance” side of global warming. If we leave it too late then we simply won’t have the resources etc to turn the tide – so to speak. This was the report, I think, that had a section on how a 5 degree temperature change would give us a pliocene climate – alligator filled swamps at the poles.

    The mental image of Gerry Brownlee, Nick Smith & all, up to their necks in this, really tempted me to go home and turn everything on..

    • Steve Wrathall 6.1

      “Insurance” only makes sense if the premiums are lower than the expected loss. Massive costs on us today make little sense in return for minute mitigations of speculative losses generations in the future. Especially as future generations will be much richer than us and much more able to adapt to changes, climate or otherwise, if and when they occur.

  7. Nick k 7

    We don’t have the capacity because we emit 0.02 of all emissions. We can do nothing to prevent any perceived warming.

  8. jaymam 8

    The Climate Vulnerable Forum says: “The sky is falling. Give us money!”


    “Geographer Associate Professor Paul Kench has measured 27 islands where local sea levels have risen 120mm – an average of 2mm a year – over the past 60 years, and found that just four had diminished in size.”

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 8.1

      Hard to see how you’re making the connection there. The CVF isn’t the one making claims about sea level rise. I have a question: did you have trouble understanding what they actually did say, or did you just go into blind moron mode straight off the line?

    • mike e 8.2

      Jayman you only told the part of the story that suited your agenda so you are full of IT.
      The other half of the story is that scientists believe the rate of rise is increasing and these islands may not cope with these rises!
      27 Islands is a very small portion of the 1,000nds of Islands in the pacific.
      My wife’s Island is in trouble its near the equator and was on TV the other day it is diminishing rapidly!

  9. Interesting subject and much needs to be debated that isn’t. Such as the Military industrial development of weather modification weapons of mass destruction.

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 9.1

      HAARP now is it? Your credibility is so shiny and glittering. What a star!

      • travellerev 9.1.1

        The Contrarian and te Reo Pukake both left a comment on my blog recently: “mooooooooo mooooooooo and moooooo”was the extend of both their comments. Of the three trolls you are the only one who hasn’t.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Better care for babies with tongue-tie
    Babies born with tongue-tie will be assessed and treated consistently under new guidelines released by the Ministry of Health, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Around 5% to 10% of babies are born with a tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, in New Zealand each year. At least half can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison over
    The prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison is over, with all remaining prisoners now safely and securely detained, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. The majority of those involved in the event are members of the Mongols and Comancheros. Five of the men are deportees from Australia, with three subject to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Pre-departure COVID-19 test for travellers from the UK and the US from 15 January
    Travellers from the United Kingdom or the United States bound for New Zealand will be required to get a negative test result for COVID-19 before departing, and work is underway to extend the requirement to other long haul flights to New Zealand, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. “The new PCR test requirement, foreshadowed last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago