Could Climate Change Lead to World War?


Global mean surface temperature difference fro...
Climate bomb? (Image via Wikipedia)

Well, even something short of that would not be good. But over at Grist, climate economist Nicholas Stern explains why the answer is “yes.”


Lord Nicholas Stern, one of the world’s most prominent climate economists, believes that failure to address global warming could eventually lead to World War III. In 2006, he produced the “Stern Review” on behalf of the British government, clearly laying out the potentially catastrophic economic consequences of failing to address climate pollution. Since then, the scientific understanding of the damages from global warming has grown, and Stern has warned that his report “underestimated the risks.” In an exclusive interview with ThinkProgress, Stern described his current understanding of the stark consequences of inaction, which defy the scope of standard economic language. If no global policy to cut carbon pollution is enacted, there is about a 50 percent risk that global temperatures would rise above levels not seen for 30 million years by 2100, an extraordinary rate of change. The “potentially immense” consequences of this radical transformation of our planet, Stern explained, include the “serious risk of global war.”


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5 thoughts on “Could Climate Change Lead to World War?”

    1. Roger, presuming your supposition that “we’ve been fed” climate change is accurate, which it isn’t, what would be the motivation of all of these “crazed scientists” in doing so? It’s obvious that denying climate change benefits industry, and not humanity. Heaven forbid that mankind ask the corporate world to pay for it’s toxification of the atmosphere and oceans, or just check itself from destabilizing the global ecosystem. Unless you’ve been dwelling in a hole in New Zealand, how could you not recognize the climate change even within your own lifespan? I read your blog on the topic. It’s not well reasoned, and inaccurate. In the future I recommend you limit your blogging to topics which don’t rely upon reason or the scientific method, perhaps fiction.

      1. JV,

        Thanks for your answer.

        I have to suggest though that you read my conversation with Doug and Denise just a little more closely.

        First of all, they appear to be well educated scientists. Doug even offered some opinions on the use of the null hypothesis etc., but when faced with questions that ask them the proof of their assertions, according to the scientific rules they have been taught, and no doubt teach, they first of all avoided the question and then fell silent.

        Now it is true that, if, reducing CO2 emissions, to the levels demanded by the IPCC, was just a matter of changing your light bulbs and using your bicycle more often, the current “evidence” of Global Warming would suffice. However the cost to us all of meeting the IPCC demands, to an economist, looks absolutely horrendous.

        Below is a short analysis that would be fairly obvious to any second year economics student.

        “In the absence of sufficient alternative solutions/technologies, the only way western countries can ever attain the IPCC demands of CO2 emissions reduced to 40% below 1990 levels, (thats about 60% below todays) is to machine restrictions on the use of fossil fuels. Emission Trading schemes are an example.

        As the use of fossil fuels is roughly linear with anthropogenic CO2 emissions, to attain a 60% reduction of emissions , means about the same proportion of reduction of fossil fuel usage, including petrol, diesel, heating oil, not to mention coal and other types including propane etc.

        No matter how a restriction on the use of these is implemented, even a 10% decrease will make the price of petrol go sky high. In otherwords, (and petrol is just one example) we can expect, if the IPCC has its way, a price rise on petrol of greater than 500%.
        First of all, for all normal people, this will make the family car impossible to use. Worse than that though, the transport industry will also have to deal with this as well and they will need to pass the cost on to the consumer. Simple things like food will get prohibitively expensive. Manufacturers who need fossil energy to produce will either pass the cost on to the consumer or go out of business. If you live further than walking distance from work, you will be in trouble.
        All this leads to an economic crash of terrible proportions as unemployment rises and poverty spreads.
        I believe that this will be the effect of bowing to the IPCC and the AGW lobby. AND as AGW is a hoax it will be all in vain. The world will continue to do what it has always done while normal people starve and others at the top, (including energy/oil companies and emission traders) will enjoy the high prices and margins. This is exactly what OPEC has been trying to do for the last 30 odd years!

        Neither this scenario nor any analysis of the cost of CO2 emission reductions is included in IPCC literature, and the Stern report which claims economic expansion is simply not obeying economic logic as it is known in todays academic world.

        One should not forget the proposed wealth transfers also demanded by the IPCC. These will simply exacerbate the situation severely.

        The fact that the emission reduction cost issue is not discussed, leads me to believe that there is a deliberate cover up of this issue. Fairly obviously the possibility of starvation will hardly appeal to the masses.

        The above brings us to another point in your answer. “It’s obvious that denying climate change benefits industry, and not humanity”

        I think you are entirely incorrect there. From the analysis above you can see that the AGW lobby is playing directly into the fossil fuel industries hands.

        Why do some scientists promote AGW? Well right or wrong, at the moment supporting AGW is good for your career.

        Why does AGW receive support from influential people?
        Well one reason could be found at these websites. I am quite sure those names would not be there without permission!

        ” how could you not recognize the climate change even within your own lifespan?”
        I personally have never denied the climate is changing, what is at issue is whether it is anthropogenic.

        AGW promoters have cleverly mixed CO2 emissions with other genuine pollution issues. Please do not think because I do not regard CO2 as a pollutant, that I do not share any concern for things like heavy metal pollution, water contamination or even pollution caused by carelessness with oil extraction.
        I believe that one should also seperate these in your reasoning rather than accept that AGW is synonymous with with industrial pollution.

        ” I read your blog on the topic. It’s not well reasoned, and inaccurate”
        Finally, if you have any issues with my blog, I would appreciate if you point out exactly where any inaccuracies are and if any authority is needed to back up the issue, I am sure I have it at hand.



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