Do plants grow better in warm weather or cold weather? When people retire do they generally prefer to move to warmer climates or cooler climates? Is the total cost of heating&cooling higher in a cold state such as New Hampshire, or a warm state such as Florida? Do more people die from exposure to cold weather or to hot weather?
The point is that global warming has had and will have some benefits even if it will have some harmful effects. A team of economists analyzed the costs to global society of ten different challenges such as climate change, illiteracy, malnutrition, and surprisingly, indoor air pollution.
They estimated the costs from 1900 to now, and predicted the costs from now to 2050. Worldwide illiteracy, for example, was about 70% in 1900 and caused a loss of 12% of GDP. In 2050, they predict illiteracy will be down to about 12% and will cost 4% of the world’s economy.
The world’s most costly problem in the 20th century was “indoor pollution from cooking and heating with dirty fuels.” The team estimates that it cost 260 million lives in the third world – twice the total lives lost in all armed conflicts.
The purpose of the study is to suggest that we spend our limited resources where we will get the most bang for our buck. Wouldn’t it be better to save 10 million lives fighting one problem rather than save half a million lives fighting a lesser problem?
As for global warming, they estimate that from 1900 to 2025 it will have benefited the world’s economy by 1.5%. After 2070 it will have a net cost to the world.