Oh dear

Preventing runaway global warming may be twice as expensive as previously thought and Britain will have to incur billions of pounds of additional debt to cover its share of the cost, according to the world’s most influential climate change economist.

That entirely buggers up the whole calculation, doesn\’t it?

Stern said that the damage would be x, the cost of averting the damage would by y and as y was less than x then we should try to avert the damage by paying the costs.

Now y has doubled: meaning that the initial decision to avert, rather than adapt to, is false.

Thus perhaps we should not be trying to avert but should adapt?

19 thoughts on “Oh dear”

  1. I need to spend the time really understand Stern’s calculations (which to my shame, I have not). Because we’re going to have to invest in non-fossil fuel energy sooner or later anyway, so all we’re really talking about is bringing that investment forward – that’ll cost more (not just because of discounting, but perhaps building infrastructure based on less mature technology) but I find it hard to believe that that additional cost of bringing forward that investment is really going to be more than “adapting”, which may include having to construct Rotterdam scale flood protection around every major coastal city in the world (or move the cities). That sounds very expensive.

  2. Modern economies are predicated on large amounts of energy – for generating electricity and for powering internal combustion engines. So the eco-freaks language will soon hit practical realities – you can TALK about reducing emissions til the cows come home (emitting lots of methane in the process!), but if you don’t keep the lights on, and food in the shops, and factories and offices working, we soon revert to a Mad Max style post apoacalypse type scenario.

    No politician will want to be the one to have deal with the collapse of society as we know it, or suggest to its population that it will have to revert to the living standards of 50 years ago.

    Talk is cheap, and that is all we will get ultimately in environmental terms. Lots of humbug and aspirations, but little concrete achievement.

    Which is lucky, cos the whole Global Warming thing is nonsense. Indeed we may be wondering in a decade’s time or so where our heat is coming from, as the world cools.

  3. Brian, follower of Deornoth

    As a budding politico so memorably put it in an argument I was having years ago…

    “Facts don’t matter; it’s principles we are talking about here!”

  4. As Tim has been saying forever (it seems), on the basis of Stern’s “old” calculations (let alone the new ones) the generation of wealth unfettered by attempts to avert climate change (as if we could) deals with the problem of paying for adaptation. Adaptation we know is possible: prevention is highly dubious and very expensive and, worse, has no certainty of success. The precautionary principle, so beloved of warmists, actually implies that we opt for adaptation.

  5. “Adaptation we know is possible”

    There are huge uncertainties around future sea levels, the cost of flood defenses, future rainfall patterns, the costs of adapting agriculture etc. etc. adaption is full of uncertainty, just like alleviation.

  6. Tim, Luis is on his way to a good point regarding links.

    A shooters’ blog I used to follow, now suspended, has a little guidance on how to do these things, and it suited everyone just fine.

    Their procedure doesn’t seem to work everywhere. Would it be possible for you to add your formula, say above your comment form?

    We, or rather I, would still muck it up sometimes, but it would be very useful.

    Tim ads: Well, yes, except for two things.

    1) I have no idea how to add such instructions.

    2) I don’t know any html so I don’t know what the instructions should be.

  7. Actually Stern said the cost would be y (+/-50%). According to the Telegraph he’s also now admitting the chances off success are only 50/50.

    I keep saying this, but out in the real world anyone making a business proposal that vague would be taken from the boardroom to a place of lawful execution and there be hanged from the nearest corporate mission statement by his red braces until he be dead. May the Lord have mercy upon his soul.

    Sadly HMG have bought into the plan hook line and sinker.

    Shareholder revolt, anyone?

  8. “adaption is full of uncertainty, just like alleviation.”

    Adaptation is certainly technically possible (though how much it would cost is uncertain): prevention is uncertain both as to feasibility and cost.

  9. Adaptation to or alleviation of what? There is nothing there. No monsters under the bed. Nada. Zip.

    Can’t you guys read? The emails show the peer review was cooked and the computer code, she don’t work. Fake. Fraud. Lies. Bullshit.

    But then Cui Bono, and to my horror I conclude that even Tim benefits from ‘Climate Change’, because without it he’d lose 30% of his subject matter.

  10. I wonder if you would have been arguing that the cost of building those sewers doesn’t stack up, and it would be better to leave it to future richer generations.

    I doubt that. The sewers were pressing issue (since Parliament itself could smell the Great Stink).

    Arguably, delaying the investment meant that Bazalgette was able to use modern beam engines and tunnelling techniques that weren’t available when the something-must-be-done brigade first wanted something to be done..

  11. Contrast:

    Adaptation to or alleviation of what? There is nothing there. No monsters under the bed. Nada. Zip.


    Fake. Fraud. Lies. Bullshit.

    It’s funny how the swivel-eyed complain that there’s no justification for the AGW claims (because of the uncovering of bad science) and then go and make unjustified assertions that no AGW is happening.

    I’m not in the game of accepting wild assertions from biased lobby group scientists or from swivel-eyed loons who fear the Illuminati and their plans for World Government through the debasement of fiat money.

  12. Fred Z

    Probably. All I (and I think Tim – although he’s more than capable of speaking for himself) am saying is that even if, for argument’s sake, both the science per IPCC and Stern’s calculations are correct, the “prevention” option is still too expensive compared with the “adaptation” option. If, as you say, it’s “nada” then we don’t have to adapt and the increase in global GNP can be used for other things. If it isn’t “nada” then going for growth (as against the Stone Age option) is still the sensible response because we’ll have generated the wealth to pay for adaptation. Where I disagree with Luis Enrique is that I would say that the “precautionary principle” argues in favour of adapting to circumstances rather than trying to prevent something which either isn’t happening or is beyond our powers to prevent (even by crippling the world’s – particularly Western – economies).

  13. Yes, Luis, one gets your point about the ‘great stink’ of 19th Century London. The problem is that this particular ‘great stink’ is not really about the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, but more to do with the incipient scandal over Carbon Trading.

    Tulip bulbs, South sea bubble anyone?

  14. kay tie, you often make lovely and cogent comments, but this … “go and make unjustified assertions that no AGW is happening.”…Aaaargh.

    It isn’t. AGW is not happening. Is NOT happening.

    Teh globe, she be cooling. Teh ice, she be growing.

  15. Luis Enrique’s borked link should be:


    (How to:
    [a href=’http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Bazalgette’]Bazalgette[/a]

    but replace [ and ] with .)

  16. Damn script stripped them out!

    That should say “replace [ and ] with less than and greater than symbols.”

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