Press release: Report shows National Climate Change Risk Assessment grossly exaggerated climate change risks

Press release: Report shows National Climate Change Risk Assessment grossly exaggerated climate change risks
A Tailrisk Economics review of the National Climate Change Risk Assessment (NCCRA) found that it grossly overstated climate change risks and assessments were based on poor quality evidence and analysis.
The purpose of the NCCRA, which was released in August 2020, was to provide the ‘best available evidence, information and assessment of risks’ to inform the development of a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) that will set out what will be done to respond to climate change risks.
The central message in the assessment was that the climate change risks are very serious, even in the relatively near term. Eight of the 43 sectoral risk assessments found that the consequences of climate change would be ‘extreme’ by 2050.
‘Our review of the NCCRA found that for the most part, the assessments were not based on the ‘best available evidence’ and often consisted of little more than a recitation of their ‘five horsemen of the apocalypse’: more extreme weather events, more drought, more river flooding, higher sea levels, and more wildfires, followed by unsubstantiated claims that they will have either major or extreme consequences, with little regard to the underlying science.’ said Ian Harrison Principal of Tailrisk Economics.
‘Some of the NCCRA assessments were plainly absurd,’ Harrison said. ‘ it was claimed that extreme risks to social cohesion by 2050 would result in ‘permanent disruption to education, employment and community services. Patterns of daily activity and behaviour unable to continue. Coping range of all communities exceeded,’ all because the temperature had increased by less than one degree and sea levels had risen by about 20 centimetres.’
The science does not show that wind speeds will increase significantly, and river flooding risk might actually fall overall. There might be some more droughts, a few more wildfires, and expenditure to protect against sea level rise, but these effects are likely to be outweighed by the positive impacts of climate change, including warmer weather and more fine days in summer, and the impact of carbon fertilisation on primary sector productivity.
Tailrisk Economics reviewed the social, political and economic risk assessments, assigning evidence quality scores of between 0 and 10 to the cited evidence. The average score was a very low 3.09. Much of evidence was irrelevant or did not support the arguments. Critical research reports that did not support a ‘catastrophist’ narrative were often ignored or misrepresented, and in some cases steps were taken to cover up ‘inconvenient’ evidence. ‘It is disturbing,’ Harrison said ‘that the science is becoming increasingly corrupted by politics and money’.
Report available at
Contact: Ian Harrison – Principal Tailrisk Economics Ph. 022 175 3669
Tailrisk Economics is a Wellington economics consultancy. It specialises in the economics of low probability, high impact events including financial crises and natural disasters.
Principal, Ian Harrison (B.C.A. Hons. V.U.W., Master of Public Policy SAIS Johns Hopkins) has worked with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements.

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