Oct 19 2008

Global warming reduction: at what cost?

Category: economy,environment,global warming,politicsharmonicminer @ 9:05 am

Bjorn Lomborg asks, why cut one 3,000th of a degree? That’s about how much difference Britain’s proposed policies will make, while costing ENORMOUS sums of money. Key graphs:

Global warming is seen everywhere as one of the most important issues. From the EU to the G8, leaders trip over one another to affirm their commitment to cutting CO2 to heal the world. What they do not often acknowledge – in part because it would lose them support – is that the solutions proffered are incredibly costly and will end up doing amazingly little good, even in a century’s time. This is the truly inconvenient truth of the politics of global warming.

Let’s be clear. I’m not contesting the existence of global warming. Doing so is silly, given the clear and strong results from the UN climate panel. Global warming will most probably warm the planet by between 1.6 and 3.8C above current temperatures by the end of the century. The total cost of the consequences of this warming is estimated by William Nordhaus, of Yale University, to be $15 trillion.

However, we need to keep our cool: global warming’s total cost will be only about one half of 1 per cent of the net worth of the 21st century; that is the current worth of all the wealth projected to be generated in this century. Panicking is unlikely to lead to sensible policies. It could lead to exorbitantly expensive policies, which will do great harm.

Many of the proffered global warming policies are designed to help politicians bathe in the warm glow of good intentions, with little or no regard to the mounting costs and infinitesimal benefits.

I’m trying not to laugh at anyone thinking they can estimate to within an order of magnitude the “cost of global warming”, let alone nail it to two significant figures. Give me break! There are so many wild guesses and unpredictable side effects that it isn’t even clear that global warming is BAD, as long as it’s relatively gradual. For sure, it will increase growing seasons in a great deal of farm land, save enormous sums of money now spent on energy for heating in cooler climates, make new resources available that are now unusable, and so on.

But, panic and orchestrated crisis is always a good way to get things done politically.

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2 Responses to “Global warming reduction: at what cost?”

  1. Rebecca Murphy says:

    The effects of Global Warming is getting much stronger these days. We should concentrate more on alternative energy to reduce carbon emissions.

  2.  Flashing Beacon says:

    it seems that the only solution to global warming is the reduction of CO2 and CFCs-,-

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