This is absurd

The Times gets a musician to read about climate change and report on what he finds out.

Rather than go through the whole thing marking all of the errors (essentially, he seems to have started at Mark Lynas and then moved to the more alarmist sources).

A tax of £120 per ton on CO2 emissions by 2020. This is the price at which the market tells the truth about the actual cost of burning fossil fuels.

No. It\’s $120 a tonne, not £120 a tonne. And that\’s the updated figure from Lord Stern….the one he didn\’t bother to back up with a report like his earlier guess of $80 a tonne. And that in itself relies on some very, erm, advanced shall we say, assumptions about discount rates, the rate of technological change and the value of the current capital stock and the turnover in that.

Others who make different assumptions about those things put the correct tax for now at around €10-€15 pe4r tonne (I think that\’s right for Richard Tol) and around $5 (William Nordhaus).

Now let\’s add his next sentence:

It’s the price at which a unit of electricity from dirty fuels becomes uncompetitive compared with the clean alternatives.

No, he\’s got his numbers the wrong way around. That market price of £120 a tonne is not telling us the truth about the actual cost of burning fossil fuels. It\’s telling us the cost of not burning fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels cost x plus $120 a tonne CO2 emissions (to take the top end of Lord Stern\’s numbers).

Not fossil fuels cost x plus £120 a tonne CO2 not emitted.

£120 is larger than $120. Thus the cost of non-fossil fuels is higher than the cost of fossil fuels plus the damage their emissions do.

Tell you what, I promise not to write about how to play the guitar and musicians promise not to garble the economics of climate change. Deal?

5 comments on “This is absurd

  1. On the plus side, imagine how much worse it would have been if Chris Martin had written it. (Using a very broad definition of ‘musician’, obviously.)

  2. “Tell you what, I promise not to write* about how to play the guitar and musicians promise not to garble the economics of climate change.”

    * Isn’t there a great deal of other things missing here, in short everything except selling rare metals and UKIP internal politics?

  3. on his tumblr blog, he points out that he’s writing from Amsterdam where he’s promoting a new album.

    And next month, Groove Armada are touring Australia and New Zealand.

    And he wants to lecture the rest of us about using a plasma TV?

  4. Had to check with the article, but he did indeed write per ton not tonne, let alone get the currency wrong.
    That’s over egging the weight by 1 1/2%. Not a lot on a single tonne but a helluva lot on global CO2 production.

  5. “We’ve still got another 0.75 to come even if we don’t take any more fossil fuel from the ground, because the sea takes a long time to heat up and we have yet to experience anything like the temperature rises we have created so far.”

    It’s physics, Jim. But not as we know it.

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