This is a first. George Monbiot has discovered some economics.
Cars manufactured this year will put out an average of around 160g/km, which means a saving of 48g/km. This translates – with a mean annual driving distance of 16,500km – into a cut of 792kg/car/year. Assuming that drivers are each paid £2,000, that\’s a cost of £2,525 for every tonne of CO2 avoided, divided by the average age of the cars on the road – 4.9 years. You\’d get almost as much value for money by reclassifying £10 notes as biomass and burning them in power stations.
The management consultancy McKinsey has calculated the costs of saving CO2 by other means. We could do it for £3.50 a tonne by investing in geothermal energy, or £9 if we put our money into nuclear power plants. Mini hydroelectric schemes would save money as well as carbon against normal electricity prices. So would energy efficiency: switching from incandescent lightbulbs to light-emitting diodes, for example, saves £80 for every tonne of CO2 you cut.
Absolutely correct. We want to do the cheapest emissions reductions first.
Now all we need him to understand is that we don\’t want to do emissions reductions if they cost more than the damage we save by not having the emissions. If we\’re to believe Stern that means we don\’t try anything that costs more than $80 per tonne CO2 not emitted.
If we can bash that into him then we\’re really getting somewhere.