Comprehensive Report Documents Beneficial Impacts of Global Warming

Comprehensive Report Documents Beneficial Impacts of Global Warming
April 8, 2014

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, and... (read full bio)

The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change released a 1,063-page report documenting global warming’s beneficial impact on the biosphere. The report, Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, provides a comprehensive analysis of the impact of global warming on plants, terrestrial animals, aquatic life, and human well-being.

The new volume is the fifth produced by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change. A sixth volume, Climate Change Reconsidered II: Human Welfare, Energy, and Policies, is scheduled for release in May.

Report Counters IPCC Claims
More than 30 scientists served as authors and reviewers for the new volume. The volume cites more than 1,000 peer-reviewed studies supporting the conclusion that global warming is not causing substantial harm to the biosphere. This directly counters alarmist assertions by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“Biological Impacts broadly tracks and critiques the work of IPCC’s Working Group II…. It appears IPCC is continuing its pattern of selectively reporting data to present an alarmist view of the impacts of climate change,” the report explains.

Increasing Biosphere Productivity
Biological Impacts documents increasing productivity of forests and grasslands as CO2 levels have inceased both in recent decades and in centuries past, countering IPCC assertions to the contrary. The new volume also presents the scientific evidence that a more productive biosphere effectively sequesters much of the carbon dioxide IPCC claims will cause additional warming.

“The ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content is causing a great greening of the Earth. All across the planet, the historical increase in the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration has stimulated vegetative productivity. This observed stimulation, or greening of the Earth, has occurred in spite of many real and imagined assaults on Earth’s vegetation, including fires, disease, pest outbreaks, deforestation, and climatic change,” Biological Impacts reports.

Agriculture Benefits from Warming
The report counters frequent assertions that global warming imperils agricultural production and will cause widespread hunger. To the contrary, the best scientific evidence indicates global warming benefits agricultural production.

“There is little or no risk of increasing food insecurity due to global warming or rising atmospheric CO2 levels. Farmers and others who depend on rural livelihoods for income are benefitting from rising agricultural productivity throughout the world, including in parts of Asia and Africa where the need for increased food supplies is most critical. Rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels play a key role in the realization of such benefits,” the report explains.

Biological Impacts also documents global warming’s direct impact on human mortality. Cold temperatures kill more people than warm temperatures, the report explains, and a warming world will reduce climate-related deaths.

Reducing Human Deaths
“A modest warming of the planet will result in a net reduction of human mortality from temperature-related events. More lives are saved by global warming via the amelioration of cold-related deaths than those lost under excessive heat. Global warming will have a negligible influence on human morbidity and the spread of infectious diseases, a phenomenon observed in virtually all parts of the world,” Biological Impacts explains.

Where IPCC Goes Wrong
The new report explains how and why IPCC reaches unjustifiably alarmist conclusions.

“Whether the subject is the likely effects of warming on crops, trees, weeds, birds, butterflies, or polar bears, it seems IPCC invariably picks the studies and models that paint global warming in the darkest possible hues. IPCC sees ‘death, injury, and disrupted livelihoods’—to borrow a phrase from Working Group II—everywhere it looks,” Biological Impacts reports.

“Oftentimes, IPCC’s pessimistic forecasts fly in the face of scientific observations,” Biological Impacts reports. “The global ecosystem is not suffering from the rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels IPCC has called ‘unprecedented,’ despite all the models and hypotheses IPCC’s authors marshal to make that case. Real-world data show conclusively that most plants flourish when exposed to higher temperatures and higher levels of CO2 and that the planet’s terrestrial biosphere is undergoing a great post-Industrial Revolution greening that is causing deserts to retreat and forests to expand, enlarging habitat for wildlife. Essentially the same story can be told of global warming’s impact on terrestrial animals, aquatic life, and human health.”

“By ignoring observational evidence that does not support their politically motivated conclusions, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change promotes unjustified fear about climate change,” said Tom Harris, executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition.

“The latest report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, presents crucially important evidence that the IPCC ignored, information that will help the public, media, and politicians understand more, and so fear less, about the consequences of climate change,” Harris added.

Evenhanded Science
“Biological Impacts is thorough, complete, and evenhanded,” said Patrick Michaels, science director for the Cato Institute and former Virginia state climatologist. “Thanks to Dr. Idso, whose decades of meticulous study have made him the most informed scientist on earth when it comes to carbon dioxide and the biosphere, the NIPCC Biological Impacts report is a triumph of substance over scaremongering.”  

“If you want to hear the party line, go to the IPCC; but if you want the whole truth, go with the NIPCC Biological Impacts report,” said Michaels.

The new volume is available for free online at the Heartland Institute and NIPCC websites. Print copies may also be ordered from the Heartland Institute and the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change. The NIPCC website also provides weekly updates on the latest peer-reviewed studies on climate change issues.

James M. Taylor (jtaylor@heartland.org) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

Internet Info:

Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, http://heartland.org/media-library/pdfs/CCR-IIb/Full-Report.pdf

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, and... (read full bio)