In which I agree with Bill Mckibben

If they put a serious price on carbon, we would move quickly out of the fossil fuel age and into the renewable future.

Quite, as Stern said: $80 a tonne on CO2-e and we’re done. And given that the UK already has emissions taxes of this sort of magnitude, even if not correctly distributed, all we’ve got to do is a little tinkering (lower petrol duties, higher on coal at coal fired plants sorta stuff) and we’re done.

The point being not that dealing with climate change is going to be horribly expensive. It’s that we’re already paying that price and if we pay it in the correct manner, not the current, then we will be done and dusted.

Oh, and that also means that we don’t have to do any of the other things that Bill McKibben recommends.

6 thoughts on “In which I agree with Bill Mckibben”

  1. May I ask Tim, how many years will have to pass without any warming before you stop assuming that global warming is a real thing? I believe it’s up to 17 or 18 years so far. What hard number would have you thinking it’s all political bunk, no matter what the “experts” said?

  2. What makes you think Barmy Bill is talking about Stern’s figures? He is obviously thinking numbers that will make renewables irresistibly attractive. We’d quickly move to higher plastic, steel and energy prices. We’d all become poorer. The extremely poor would face starvation and pensioners would die in their thousands in winter.

    Quite frankly, if I agreed with Barmy Bill on anything, I’d want one of those hemp ropes for myself.

  3. Tim Worstall is incredibly naive in thinking that the Government would stop at a sensible price for any carbon tax, and clearly bonkers in believing they would be happy just to change the distribution of a few taxes already in existence.

    A carbon tax has to be resisted at all costs because once it is in place it can be used as a ratchet to directly destroy the economy and the lives of everyone living here. Producing a bit of evidence here and there will be a trivial thing.

  4. Equation:

    Energy research + billions in money + something magic happens = renewable, climate friendly energy.

    Science/technology moves incrementally.

    In the first part of the 20th Century, spending more money on telephones would not have produced the Internet.

    In any case, how will we know that if this so far not-invented technology arrives, it will not pose a similar or greater future threat to ‘the Planet’ than fossil fuels?

    Was the current alleged threat predictable when we moved from wood to coal to oil, steam power to electricity?

    Those who claim the future will be safe if we do X, are saying they are omniscient and prescient… a role normally attributed to God… so there is nothing left to learn, they know.

    For someone who writes about the impossibility of ‘planning’ an economy, it is odd that you think it is possible to plan the climate.

    Bah, humbug.

  5. John B has the right of it: “For someone who writes about the impossibility of ‘planning’ an economy, it is odd that you think it is possible to plan the climate.”

    Consider yourself in receipt of another scathing reprimand.

  6. If they put a serious price on carbon we will move out of the era of prosperity and into the era of poverty.

    And that is assuming that economic collapse doesn’t get us there first.

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