This isn’t – necessarily – so

“We must act today because the cost of doing so tomorrow will be greater than it is now, and the scale of the issue we will face will have increased.” This is the view of Professor Richard Murphy FCA.

Stick within his own assumptions here.

OK, so, more emissions make climate change worse. We would like to reduce emissions early then. As the Stern Review – and all economics on the subject – points out, there are costs to reducing emissions. Nordhaus even gained the Nobel for exploring this.

Now, imagine – no, just imagine – that the costs of reducing emissions decline over time even as the costs of not reducing emissions rise over time. That makes life complicated for we have to look for that sweet spot, that optimal moment to reduce emissions, or perhaps the optimal rate at which to do so.

Just to invent numbers, the cost of not reducing emissions in 2020 is 100, of delaying until 2030 is 150. But the cost of reducing emissions in 2020 is 100 and in 2030 it’s 50. Or 10. Or 90.

The 50/10/90 difference changes the optimal moment or amount of emissions reduction.

So, our question is whether our imagine about emissions reductions costing less over time is true. Which, of course, it is. Try replacing oil with solar at 1980 prices. Try again at 2020 prices. This even before we get to the Nordhaus point about the capital cycle.

Murphy’s claim – at best – needs a lot more calculation and support than he’s offering. At worst it’s simply wrong.

12 thoughts on “This isn’t – necessarily – so”

  1. Actually.. This whole CoVid thingie is a good test case to see whether the eco-loonies are actually remotely right..

    What, by their reckoning, needs to be reduced over a decade we’ve already done in the past 9 months. The cumulative effect of the lockdowns worldwide is a massive reduction of emitted greenhouse gases, including those emitted in the stratosphere.
    If their theories and models are correct, there should be a measurable effect, at least short-term, in global temperature make-up. After all, according to them the leading cause of the current climate change is anthropogenic, and suddenly cutting down on emissions by humanity should have a measureable effect within a year or so. A dip, a blip, anything.

    My money is on “no effect whatshowever in the next couple of years”, but you never know.

  2. @Gamecock + 1. Of course there is the other factor which is that whatever we do in the UK is simply posturing: What counts (if it counts at all) is what happens in China, India and the US.

  3. Record harvest of kiwi fruit reported this year by New Zealand again, and parts of Europe. For one to happen would be predicted if the world is getting warmer and wetter but in ways and places which are increasingly unpredictable. But for both to happen, could be explained by climate change, but it’s a nice outcome.
    ( https://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/best-kiwifruit-harvest-ever-industry-clocks-up-another-record/SZYOTZTNONZ6EIB65MJRGUNUME/ )
    The lack of migrant workers to pick them next year is going to be a CV-19 problem. Got to let the sports teams in first.

  4. “The cumulative effect of the lockdowns worldwide is a massive reduction of emitted greenhouse gases, including those emitted in the stratosphere.”

    I don’t know if that is true or not. I do know that the rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 is unchanged. If you are correct, and I am correct, the entire Man Made Global Warming schtick is falsified.

    But wouldn’t make any difference. Climate Change™ is political. It stopped being about science many years ago. Using scientific arguments against a political program will get you no where.

  5. “The cumulative effect of the lockdowns worldwide is a massive reduction of emitted greenhouse gases, including those emitted in the stratosphere.”

    Are the measurements at Mauna Loa showing any sign whatsoever of a decrease, or even a levelling off?

  6. What does “costs” actually mean?

    Pick something you don’t like and include “externalities” to suit. Pick something you like and define “benefits” as politically convenient.

    Hang these decorations on the garbage in garbage out computer model tree and wait for “green” Santa

    You can always blame big – enter hate figure(s) of choice – when he doesn’t arrive.

  7. ‘While there isn’t an overall figure for 2020 concentrations, individual monitoring stations show that the rise has continued this year despite the pandemic.’

    Official figures are subject to analysis and judgements by officials. The trillion dollar Climate Change™ industry is NOT going to let their business be done in by a simple measurement at Mauna Loa.

  8. ‘Fred’ Carney on this morning’s Reith lecture made a very similar claim. I’m not sure that sharing a platform with Spud is where I’d like to be, intellectually.

  9. ‘We must act today because the cost of doing so tomorrow will be greater than it is now’

    Ignorant turd. Net present value surely trumps any investment today. Action 15 years out, if* needed, is way cheaper than investment now. Has the professor ever taken Econ 101?

    *IF IF IF IF IF

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