Paul Krugman reviews William Nordhaus on climate change.
Can’t really see anything that I disagree with: but then that’s because my views on the subject have been formed by having read Nordhaus in the first place. As Krugman notes, it really is all Econ 101. Carbon tax or cap and trade and we’re done.
The one area where I do disagree (not so much with this piece, but with the generally held views) is that I think that it’s all going to cost a great deal less to deal with than people think. Assuming one thing: that we try to do this over 30-50 years, not in a decade. There’s nothing I could point to to prove this, it’s just a side effect of my being rather Julian Simonesque about technological advance. Added to a bit of my worm’s eye view of the renewables business through the lens of the weird metals used to build such renewables.
I really do think that we’re not that far away from renewables which are cheaper than coal fired ‘leccie. And at that point the whole damn problem simply goes away. For we’ll naturally and happily install these new cheaper energy sources and drop the older more expensive ones.
As I say, I cannot prove this although I could put forward some pretty decent arguments at length*.
I end up thinking that it’s all going to turn out like Y2k. We’ll have done vast amounts of expensive things for no good reason.
(* OK, not at length, apply the same cost curve to 40% efficient multi-junction solar cells and solid oxide fuel cells as has happened to silicon PV over the past 30 years and we’re there, with electrolysis of water for H2 as the storage method. Done and dusted.)