Relying on the ability of future generations to
adapt to climate change instead of asking the present generation to start the
process of mitigating it is a selfish and risky strategy.
Tsk: we\’re talking about economics here, not morals. The question is not which is the selfish strategy but which is the sensible one, the most efficient? Take one very simple example. Stern tells us that the cost of one tonne of CO2-e is $80.
If it costs us $200 per tonne (just to pluck numbers from the air for a moment) to mitigate while only $20 per tonne to adapt then we should leave them to get on with it. If the numbers are reversed then we should be getting on with it.
That some mitigation costs $20 while other $200 and some adaptation $20 while other $200 means, in fact, that we\’re going to do a combination of both mitigation outselves and they\’re going to have to do some adaptation.
The important question therefore is not whether, either mitigation or adaptation, but what?
Even if only the more modest forecasts of
temperature increases are correct, early action to tackle the increase in
greenhouse gas concentrations will be cheaper and less disruptive than more
far reaching measures taken at a later date.
No, this is something you must prove, not something you can merely assert. For example, let us look at solar PV (and we can take any number of other technologies as being similar).
Currently this is about four times more expensive per unit of electricity delivered than coal fired power stations. However, we can also see that the cost of solar PV is falling by some 4% per quarter, compounding up to some 20% a year. It doesn\’t take long to close that sort of price gap with those sorts of rates of technological improvement.
Now we might say that coal doesn\’t currently pay all its costs….this might even be true. But adding carbon costs to coal generation still don\’t make it, at the moment, more expensive than solar PV. They do bring the switchover point closer, but still not yet.
So, we have a technology which we know is more expensive now but which, within a decade (as most inist) will be cheaper. should we take early action therefore and insist that all install solar PV now?
No, of course not, that would be insane. We wait until solar PV really is cheaper (including carbon costs) than coal and then watch as people switch over naturally. Here, later action is cheaper and less disruptive than earlier.
There\’s also the point that throwing away a perfectly good coal plant, one we\’ve got some hundreds of millions of pounds of capital sunk into, now rather than in 10 or 20 years when it wears out in the normal course of things means that early action is more expensive than later.
It\’s partly this that drives the Nordhaus view. That a carbon tax should start out low now (perhaps $10, $20 per tonne) but be credibly promised to rise over the decades to perhaps $240 a tonne. So that we\’re both allowing the development to economic sense of those alternative technologies plus working with, rather than against, the grain of the capital replacement cycle.
All of which means that it\’s cheaper now than later isn\’t only an assumption you have to prove rather than assert, it\’s also an assumption which is wrong.
At the same time personal carbon trading is a progressive
rather than regressive green market instrument with a unique capacity to
engage the whole public in the response to climate change.
Facepalm. He\’s just reintroduced ID cards through the back door, hasn\’t he? Can you prove who you are before you buy petrol sir?
Lord Nicholas Stern’s 2006
landmark Review of the Economics of Climate Change, commissioned by
Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, estimated that if steps are not taken to cut
GHG emissions immediately then the overall costs of climate change will be 5
per cent of global GDP each year indefinitely into the future. If a wider range
of risks and impacts is taken into account, Stern warned that the damage
could cost 20 per cent of GDP.1
No, it didn\’t. It said that if something\’s not done over the next few decades then that might be the effect.
The all powerful Communistmachine in the People’s Republic of China has got
the entire population involved in environmental work.
You can hear him drooling, can\’t you? One Nation Toryism at its best. The population will be mobilised to do what I think they should do under my command.
In Europe Germany generates 200 times more solar energy
than Britain and has increased employment in renewable energy industries by
50 per cent in three years.
Fail! Jobs are a cost, not a benefit.
The absence of consensus on precisely how soon the full impact of climate
change will be felt does not make the need for action any less urgent.
Eh? That something might happen in 2300 or 2020 makes no difference to how urgently we treat it?
Are you insane man?
Germanwatch also produces league tables on the countries worst affected by
climate change. They calculate that 600,000 people worldwide lost their lives
between 1990 and 2008 as a direct result of extreme weather events. Total
losses of US$1.7 trillion were incurred over the period surveyed.
Lying toad. Extreme weather events and climate change are not the same thing.
The top ten most affected countries are all developing nations:
Myanmar, Honduras, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Haiti, India, the Dominican
Republic, the Philippines and China.
Quite. So, whadda we gonna do? Grow the economy so that poor places are less vulnerable, more able to adapt, or spend all the money on mitigation and leave them poor then?
The danger for theWest is that in ten or twenty yearsChinawill
have gained a lead in lowcarbon technology.
What danger? So, they develop lovely new technology, we go and buy it and use it. The world is saved, Hurrah!
Haven\’t you ever heard of trade?
Besides it is in our economic interests to act now. Those countries which
decarbonise their electricity generating industry, transport infrastructure and
built environments will reap a huge financial benefit. Action to cut GHG
emissions is economically smart as well as environmentally responsible.
Err, no. Moving from less expensive to more expensive energy is not known as having either an economic nor financial benefit.
Yes, he does want personal carbon trading. Twat.
Sorry, this is just boring. Man\’s a loon.
They\’ve managed to get the report online now.