How fascinating from Ed Davey

In his speech to businessmen in Europe the Liberal Democrat minister added: “And climate change’s long-term impact on the global economy?

“Well, we can be sure it will make current economic troubles look mild in comparison.

“So if you meet in your boardrooms people who still doubt the evidence, ask them how they normally assess risk.

“And how they normally act on the evidence and presence of risk. For on the basis of any normal risk assessment – weighing probability against impact, weighing the cost of acting against the costs of inaction – taking a gamble on climate change wouldn’t be just incredibly stupid, it would have you locked up in jail for corporate negligence.”

Gosh, that\’s interesting. Because we\’ve actually got a large report on the economy under climate change. The Stern Review (and, of course, the SRES that preceeded it).

And guess what? If we all bumble along and do nothing at all about climate change at all then in 2100 the global economy will be 5 to 11 times the size it was in 1990. And if climate change turns out to be as bad a the IPCC thinks it might possible be, at the extreme, then that might wipe 20% off that figure.

If you were a corporate manager and you were offered that deal, 11 times the profits or maybe 9 times as long as you sat there and did nothing wouldn\’t it be corporate negligence if you did start to do something?

It\’s even true that in that Stern Review we\’re told what we should do about it all as well, if there\’s anything that we wish to do. A carbon tax at $80 a tonne. Around £25 billion a year. A tax which we already have (fuel duty alone is more than that).

The problem with Little Ed\’s shouting about climate change is that when we do get to the part he wants to talk about, what should we do about it, all of the science, all of the economics and all of the reports tell us that he\’s doing exactly the wrong things.

Makes you wonder why he wants to talk about those things really.

11 thoughts on “How fascinating from Ed Davey”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    Makes you wonder why he wants to talk about those things really.

    I would have thought it is obvious, and has been obvious for some time, that Climate Change is just an excuse for the usual collection of sad little inadequates to try to seize power and wealth from the rest of us so that they can push the rest of us around and in that way gratify their egos.

    The real question is why anyone takes him or any other campaigner seriously. It is an excuse for his personality problems, not a scientific or environmental issue.

  2. What the Stern Review said is:

    The benefits of strong, early action on climate change outweigh the costs

    That’s not an argument for doing nothing.

    Tim: where does that “5 to 11” figure come from? I don’t recall that the Stern Review made any specific projection.

    Tim adds: The 5 to 11 comes from the SRES. Which is what Stern is based upon of course. The A2 that Stern talks about is one of the four families of economic projections for the 21 st century.

  3. Paul B said: *That’s not an argument for doing nothing.*

    That’s not an argument for doing something either, just an argument that doing something early provides more benefits than the cost of doing something early.

  4. Thanks Tim. The SRES GDP growth scenarios are not predictions – ” no explicit judgments have been made by the SRES team as to their desirability or probability”.

    And we do not have a carbon tax. Fuel duty applies only to fuel used by (most) road vehicles.

  5. “The SRES GDP growth scenarios are not predictions”

    And the climate models that tell of a rise in temperatures, they’re not predictions either:

    “It is just a set of plausible trajectories that the climate might take, given a certain set of forcings.”

    Given that there are apparently no official predictions about the future of climate, why do scientists and politicians keep talking about the likely future?

    I mean, I can make plausible trajectories for my career, given certain forcings. But I’m not going to buy a yacht on the basis of them.

  6. ”… people who still doubt the evidence… ”

    It would be nice to have some evidence to doubt.

  7. John B,

    The evidence goes like this:

    1) Temperatures have gone up recently.*
    2) We can’t see what else can be the cause.
    3) When we estimate past temperatures they appear to be flat.
    4) When we estimate future temperatures they appear to keep going up.

    That’s not enough?

    * Of course the last few years have introduced a wrinkle:

    1) Temperatures have stopped rising recently.
    2) We can’t see what is the cause.
    3) Our future estimates don’t account for this.

  8. “Somebody needs to learn the difference between a projection and a prediction.”

    Go on then, elucidate. Don’t forget to include how scientists use these projections to make assumptions about the future.

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