Because, you know, the glaciers and snow melt will all be gone?
The world\’s greatest snow-capped peaks, which run in a chain from the Himalayas to Tian Shan on the border of China and Kyrgyzstan, have lost no ice over the last decade, new research shows.
The discovery has stunned scientists, who had believed that around 50bn tonnes of meltwater were being shed each year and not being replaced by new snowfall.
Now, as you all know, I\’m generally on board with the idea that climate change is a) happening and b) something we ought to do something about. That something being a minor change in our taxation system, apply a revenue neutral Pigou Tax to emissions and cut taxes on something else.
Whether or not climate change is happening this is probably (OK, weaker than that, I could make the case that it is possibly) economy enhancing anyway. Reducing some of the very bad taxes we have (say on capital or corporates) and replacing them with less bad taxes (said carbon tax) could be beneficial all in and of itself.
A carbon tax is after all a consumption tax and consumption taxes have lower deadweight costs that capital or corporate taxes.
I would want the Nordhaus version though: low now and rising over the years so that we are working with the technological and capital cycles, not attempting to short circuit them.
The one area where I do stray from the narrow path of the media consensus (which isn\’t, as we know, quite the same as the scientific consensus) is that I don\’t see climate change as being something immediately catastrophic. It\’s a decades or centuries long problem and it\’s thus one we\’ve got decades at least to try to deal with.
As this story about the Himalayas tells us: it was the IPCC wihch hilariously allowed a prediction that all that snow and ice would be gone by 2035 into a report, wasn\’t it?
Which leads me to about as sceptoical a position as I am comfortable with. I\’m perfetly happy with the basic science of climate change. I\’m not entirely certain that the IPCC reflects it properly. And I\’m absolutely certain that the economic ideas that are proposed to deal with it, what governments are actually doing, are wrong.