Comment at CiF (for some reason it won\’t let me post long comments).

For Sudders and others. I\’m entirely happy to agree that CO2 (and methane etc) are greenhouse gases, that increasing concentrations in the atmosphere are leading to climate change etc.
As has been noted above as well, the severity of the problem depends upon the balance of positive and negative feedbacks: something which I\’m very far from convinced that we actually know enough about (and this is an area where you\’ll still find a great deal of scientific debate).

However, even stipulating all of that I\’m still very much unconvinced by the sort of proposals being made by Simms and Lynas. The reason is here:

http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc/emission/089.htm

Those are the economic models upon which the whole IPCC report is based. They\’re the starting point, to give us the number of people, the technology they\’ll be using, the size of the economy, to give us the emissions numbers that can then be plugged into the computer models of the climate scientists. Remember, this is the starting point. Also remember that all of these models depend upon there being no mitigation at all: no higher energy taxes, no tax or subsidy switches to low carbon, nothing.

OK, now look at the outcomes of those models for 2100. The A1 family, for example, essentially says that we let globalisation rip. The result is that population peaks and then declines to 7 billion. We eradicate poverty. Pretty good outcome in my book.
A2 is what Stern used. We retreat from the global economy to a series of regional ones. 15 billion people and no we don\’t eradicate poverty.

B1 is again globalised but more concerned with equity than growth. Population as in A1, but at a lower and more equal standard of living.
B2 is like A2 (ie, regional) with the social concerns of B1 added. Population of 10 billion and lower standards of living than A1 and B1.

Now remember again, these are the models upon which the IPCC report is built. They\’re not mine, they are the economics which underlies all of the climate change models.

It\’s pretty clear that the best outcomes (depending upon whether you prefer growth in living standards or value equity more) are A1 and B1: both of which assume globalisation.

Lynas and Simms are both arguing that we must reverse globalisation and return to more self-sufficient (autarkic actually) economies. They\’re quite deliberately choosing the worst economic models as the path to follow.

That\’s why they\’re wrong. Because their contempt for economics is so strong that they\’re unwilling to understand that the whole climate change structure is based upon economic models which directly contradict their proposed solutions.

Me? I\’d prefer A1 along with Pigou Taxes and a shedload of money into renewables research (a lot of which is already happening). Others might prefer B1. But to choose to reverse globalisation simply shows that people aren\’t understanding the basics of the science here. As Simms and Lynas aren\’t.

One comment on “Comment at CiF (for some reason it won\’t let me post long comments).

  1. “I’m entirely happy to agree that ….increasing concentrations in the atmosphere are leading to climate change etc”: but it’s very possibly bollocks whether you agree or not, Tim.

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