Nature has recently published a paper arguing that global warming will dampen economic growth, because the most productive places always have annual average temperatures of 13 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit). "The relationship is globally generalizable, unchanged since 1960, and apparent for agricultural and non-agriculture activity in both rich and poor countries," one of the study's authors stated. The study confidently predicts a 23 percent decrease in global incomes and widening global inequality by the year 2100.
All this seems exceedingly dubious to me. Have these people never heard of Houston? Dallas? Singapore? Atlanta? São Paulo? Hong Kong? Shenzen? Bangalore, the center of India's high-tech industry? Austin, the fastest growth million-plus metro area in the United States?
The railroad entrepreneur James J. Hill, who built the Great Northern Railway's main line from St. Paul to Seattle, reputedly said, "I have no interest in any business proposition in any place where it does not snow." (Actually, it doesn't snow much in Seattle, though it certainly does in St. Paul and on most of the mileage of the Great Northern.) The Great Northern, the first transcontinental railroad built without federal financial assistance, was completed in 1893; Hill died in 1916. In his lifetime advanced Western societies had fully developed central heating and snow clearance methods that made year-round productive activity possible, frosts effectively killed off disease-causing germs that plagued warmer parts of the country and the world for most or all of the year.