Reason.tv: Bjorn Lomborg & The Copenhagen Consensus: What's the best way to live with global warming?

What's the best way for humanity to reduce suffering from man-made global warming? No individual has been a stronger voice for rational cost-benefit analysis on this issue than Bjorn Lomborg, the head of Copenhagen Consensus Center, and author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It! On Thursday, September 3, 2009, Lomborg stopped by Reason's DC HQ to discuss the latest iteration of his ongoing project with Reason magazine science correspondent Ronald Bailey.

The Copenhagen Consensus Center's expert panel of five top economists, including three Nobel laureates, has concluded that greater resources should be spent on research into climate engineering and green energy. They also concluded that the least cost-effective way to deal with climate change is carbon taxes. Such carbon taxes are the economic equivalent of cap-and-trade carbon rationing schemes like the Waxman-Markey bill being considered by Congress and which are being negotiated by the U.N.

The expert panel consisted of Nobel laureate economists Thomas Schelling, Vernon Smith, and Finn Kydland. They were joined by University of Chicago economist Nancy Stokey and Columbia University economist Jagdish Bhagwati. The panel considered and ranked 21 ground-breaking research proposals by top climate economists on the basis their benefits and costs in dealing with global warming.  Ultimately they ranked only the 15 proposals below.

Approximately four minutes. Shot by Dan Hayes and Meredith Bragg; edited by Dan Hayes.

Related video, from Reason's 40th anniversary gala in Fall 2008: Bjorn Lomborg Says Cool It!

Watch the full-length interview below. Approximately 30 minutes.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Bjorn Lomborg is a racist.

  • $||

    What's the best way to live with global warming?

    Shorts.

    Next fake apocalypse, please.

  • Hobo Chang Ba||

    I'm usually pretty uninterested in global warming. Bigger fish to fry. The worst case scenario is do nothing and the earth gets 0.6 of a degree hotter on average. If every day was 0.6 of a degree hotter, nobody would notice. Turn the room temperature up 0.6 of a degree, I doubt the human body can tell a bit of a difference. Antarctic ice is growing, which will offset Arctic melting. Furthermore, even if ocean area is growing, doesn't that mean more water gets evaporated into the air and thus more clouds, thus lower temperature? Plus as many sites have noted, 3x more people die every year of cold than heat. Adapt and move on with our lives. If we can solve the "problem" for a century with $10 billion dollars via fake cloud creation, I'm all for it just to move on beyond this phantasm that's wasting all our time and leading to excessive taxation and government regulation that does shit nothing. Even better, invest in Africa so they have the economic resources in 50 years to cope with any negative effects.

  • Some juan||

    Dollar sign wins the thread!

  • ||

    "Global warming is going to strike two days before the day after tomorrow."

    "Oh my god. That's today!"

  • ||

    eh... what effect does an increase in cloud cover have on agriculture? i'm sure the smart kids have already asked this question, but they're also the ones who preach doomsday in 10 months...

  • Tman||

    Whether or not you agree with the hypothesis that man made Global Warming will cause environmental catastrophe in the next 50-100 years, Lomborg is making the most intelligent assessment and mitigation proposals for the worst case scenarios that are currently being modeled.

    His point about not wasting another decade with failed attempts to collectively shift around the responsibility for carbon emission outputs is especially valid. We can resolve the issues behind Global Warming without sacrificing the prosperity of the world if we take a logical fact-based approach to the problems instead of a hysterical chicken-little apocryphal scare campaign approach.

    Personally, I believe we still have much to learn about the suns relationship to the change in Global Climate, but if we are going to do "something" about it, Lomborgs aproach is the most logical.

  • Tony||

    Oh is the peroxide headed scandinavian still peddling his bullshit?

    Five whole experts! I'm sure they represent the broadest possible range of economic and scientific views on the subject.

  • ||

    TONY SMASH LOMBORG! RAPE CONSENSUS!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Good to know one of our resident Luddite socialists is still making his usual cogent, well-considered comments on global-warming heretics.

  • PantsFan||

    For the love of Dorf on Golf, will you stop engaging the trolls

  • PantsFan||

    screw it.

    For Tony

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Air conditioning, something our ancestors did not have when they endured global warming.

  • ||

    As we know from sad experience , the climate wars are magnet for appeals to authority over evidence- run the list of ~ 30,000 climate science petition signers ( said to include 9,000+ PhD's) though Citation Index and only 31 emerge as authors of bona fide papers on climate science.

    So when writing of "21 ground breaking research proposals by top climate economists " , you'd better have a list handy documenting some hundreds of run-of-the-mill climate economists.

    Given the abundence of unplowed ground in the field, for the sake of Reason's scientific street cred, you'd better make that a thousand, since , as you report, most of the 'top climate economists' efforts were rated 'fair' to 'very poor' by the peer review panel Bjorn assembled to deliver his 'Experts Consensus'

  • Tricky Prickears||

    Adaptation, huh? Round one. California farmers vs. smelts for survival of Dustbowl II.

  • Joe M||

    It's Bjørn.

  • Joe M||

  • Chad||

    Sometimes I wonder if these economists at all understand the term "R&D". The "D" means "development". This requires actually building the damned things. Lots of them. And figuring out what works.

    You can throw basic research money at "R", but that is not the real problem. The problem is that

    1: You will never get economies of scale with only "R". You need "D" and a hell of a lot of it.

    2: As long as the competition is subsidized, it probably won't matter anyway. You may never be able to beat their subsidized price.

    Throwing money at "R&D" is a hail-Mary pass for a miracle discovery that will likely never happen.

    The best way to get "R&D" to work properly is to ELIMINATE THE SUBSIDIES, which they (for some unfathomable reason) rate poorly.

  • MNG||

    "Episiarch | September 4, 2009, 12:56am | #

    TONY SMASH LOMBORG! RAPE CONSENSUS!"

    OK, eight points for being funny, and an additional ten for Incredible Hulk reference, makes this a perfect 10.

  • MNG||

    I'm all for discussions of how we can combat global warming in ways that restrict our lives the least. Only a dipshit fool would say "oh goody, a carbon tax!" Maybe such a thing is necessary to prevent future harm to people and property, but let's hope that is not the case.

  • Running with the rape theme||

    "Inmates of American prisons are protesting this week. They claim that the reading of their mail by prison officials is an violation of their human rights. Well, that and the DAILY ANAL RAPE!"

  • Tricky Prickears||

    Sometimes I wonder if these economists at all understand the term "R&D". The "D" means "development". This requires actually building the damned things. Lots of them. And figuring out what works.

    That "D" also means "demonstration". Regarding alternative fuels, there is plenty of research. The problem is demonstration. If we are going to continue, we need to shift the money from pure research to actual demonstration. That means building refineries to show if the research is sufficient to allow for cost effective mass production, without continued government subsidies.

    But you don't really need a lot. Here in NJ, there was a demonstration of wind power. 5 wind generators, with a combined output of 7.5 Mega Watts proved more than sufficient to power a sewage treatment facility, and cost effective enough to attract at least 3 private companies to go ahead with development of 1500 MW of offshore wind, just in NJ. There's a total of 3200 MW in planning and development from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras. And keep in mind, NJ gets most of its current power from nukes.

  • ||

    Forget global warming, global cooling is happening NOW!!!!


    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/03sep_sunspots.htm

  • ||

    Michael Ejercito wrote:
    "Air conditioning"

    This goes against our plans to kill off the old folks like France does. Don't you know making air conditioning illegal is part of Obama's health plan.

  • Warty||

    STEVE SMITH NOT HULK! RAPE MNG NOW!

  • William Furr||

    I guess I should be glad that I'm still amazed at all the deniers among the "free thinkers" here. If I wasn't, then it would mean I had lost some of my optimism for humanity.

    @Tony: Five economists reviewed the proposals for cost-benefit ratios. The proposals were prepared by lots and lots more climate specialists. (http://fixtheclimate.com/)

    I think this kind of research is fascinating. Interesting how geo-engineering is somehow way cheaper than mitigation. I'm wary of the side effects of the various geo-engineering strategies, though. Large-scale disruption of a complex system seems like a bad idea, but I guess we're already doing it with emissions.

    Also, Google.org is way ahead of you with making green energy cheap. They call their philanthropic project of targeted research grants RE

  • ||

    Russell Seitz: Please take a look at the papers before dissing them. I think you will find them interesting, especially Richard Tol's work on mitigation scenarios and Christopher Greens's work on the impossibility of carbon abatement schemes without the availability off-the-shelf low-carbon energy techs.

  • ||

    The case for climate engineering seems pretty airtight to me.

    1) We are assured that an average temperature increase of 1-2 degrees centegrade over the next umpteen years would be catastrophic. (If this is not true, then there's no case for carbon limitation either, so scrap the whole thing.)

    2) As anyone with a basic knowledge of global climate history can tell you, even if we hold carbon emissions absolutely steady, there is still a chance that the earth could warm that much from natural causes, just like the other planets are apparently doing. If this warming would be catastrophic, we need to be prepared to stop it. Therefore, we need climate engineering.

    3) In any event, the consensus of scientists is that even if the West is able to enact and enforce the proposed carbon limitations (which we won't), then we are still going to see catastrophic warming of 1-2 degrees centegrade. Therefore, we need climate engineering.

    4) Finally, there is nothing in the history of government generally or of carbon limitations specifically that suggests that any government anywhere is actually going to enforce carbon limitations in any significant degree. The most that anyone has ever done is to do some minor window dressing, make some promises, and then shift the majority of their carbon production to other countries. Therefore, we need climate engineering.

  • Warty||

    Climate engineering seems like one of those things where we really really really need to remember the law of unintended consequences.

  • ||

    What global warming? Where are the month-long heatwaves we should be getting by now if Al-Gore et al. are right? The past two summers in the Northeast have been rather cool with hardly any days above 95, and no week-long heatwaves. Lately, instead of calling in global warming, the alarmists are using the phrase "climage change."

    The "global warming" scare had become a dogma, with followers ridiculing non-believers as "flat earthers" and threatening the credentials of climatologists who question it.

    I wonder if the people of India and China, who refused to sign on to Kyoto, think the "global warming" scare is a conspiracy to block their development.

  • MNG||

    Warty
    I've never thought about it until now, but it occurs to me that being raped by the Incredible Hulk would be pretty fucking terrible.

  • ||

    There is no such thing as anthropogenic global warming.

  • ||

    Yawn...

  • ||

    All these real smart experts, and none of them considered including and ranking the remedy: Do Nothing.

  • matt2||

    All these real smart experts, and none of them considered including and ranking the remedy: Do Nothing.



    What does "adapt" mean to you? Unless you're suggesting that if sea levels are rising, people in coastal cities should just pretend nothing is happening until they're underwater?

  • andrew||

    The 'Skeptical' Environmentalist is for geo-climate engineer?? OKay?

    I'm a skeptic for magic crystal to fix the environment, personally.

  • ||

    I say put newborns to work so they pay their fair share for all that carbon they exhale.

    Query: why do most plants respond positively to much higher atmospheric CO2 levels than we have currently? Is it possible they evolved under conditions of higher atmospheric CO2?
    Just askin'.

  • ||

    Sea levels have risen and fallen over the millenia without any help from mankind.

  • ||

    In their evaluation of a carbon tax, are they looking at a revenue generating one? Or a revenue neutral one.

    A revenue generating one has problems because it raises the overall tax burden, with the resulting disincentives to produce. But a revenue neutral one would not have that problem and would actually encourage more labor, and more efficient use of finite resources (a good idea whether climate change is good or not). IE, a net zero carbon tax should be implemented whether you believe in climate change or not.

    Another side benefit is that as we move away from carbon based energy, there will be significant reductions in healthcare expenses related to asthma etc.

  • Tony||

    Yeah I fail to see how a carbon tax would present an expense on governments to the extent that it would be dead last behind non-revenue-generating geoengineering schemes. Wouldn't adjusting the market to more accurately reflect the costs of emitting carbon dioxide be a more libertarian solution than direct government action required for R&D into carbon capture fantasies and such?

  • Chad||

    Climate engineering seems like one of those things where we really really really need to remember the law of unintended consequences.

    I agree. Most of these schemes are untested, do not address causes but rather symptoms, and not only MIGHT have negative side effects but certainly will. Few address ocean acidification in any way, either.

    They are certainly worth researching and using as a panic button. But none of the proposed schemes is a solution by any means.

  • ||

    Tony: The carbon tax scenarios raise the price of energy and thus slow economic growth. What's particularly interesting is that Tol's survey of the peer-reviewed literature of the findings various integrated assessment models shows that economic costs of most (e.g. high) proposed carbon taxes (or equivalent cap-and-trade schemes) are worse than the economic effects of global warming projected out to 2100. See Tol's paper here.

  • Chad||

    Tony | September 4, 2009, 11:29am | #

    Yeah I fail to see how a carbon tax would present an expense on governments to the extent that it would be dead last behind non-revenue-generating geoengineering schemes. Wouldn't adjusting the market to more accurately reflect the costs of emitting carbon dioxide be a more libertarian solution than direct government action required for R&D into carbon capture fantasies and such?


    I agree, Tony. A carbon tax set at the "real" price of carbon emissions on society should have the LOWEST cost. Unless these economists believe that cost is zero or negative, (which is obviously not true), then increasing the price will LOWER costs. Hence, the "cost benefit" is infinite. Now, it is possible to set the price too high, but there seems to be no risk of that any time soon.

  • ||

    Tony: One more point -- you are aware of the fact that the integrated assessment models do "adjust[] the market to more accurately reflect the costs of emitting carbon dioxide"? That's kind of the whole point of the modeling exercise.

  • ||

    Tony & Chad: I've done considerable reporting on the findings of integrated assessment models. You might want to take a look at my column reporting on William Nordhaus' latest run of the DICE model or see his book A Question of Balance (free online).

  • ||

    Actually if it was a net zero tax on carbon at the minimum it would have no effect on the negative effect on the economy.

    Let's think about it this way. Say you have an economy of $100, and currently $25 is being taken out as labor taxes, and $10 is being spent on fossil fuels.

    Now we insitute a net zero carbon tax, so we still have a $100 economy, $15 is coming out in labor taxes, $10 in carbon taxes, and $10 on fossil fuels. IE, even if not effiency improvements could be made (which is VERY unlikely) then people would be exactly the same off. They would take the $10 that they saved on labor taxes, and apply them to the carbon tax and be exactly the same off.

    Of course what's probably going to happen, is that the tax on carbon will encourage people to use energy more effiently, and thus allow for more money to be spent elsewhere GROWING the economy. THEN, people will also work more because taxes on labor are lower, growing the economy AGAIN.

    Come on this is econ 101 here. Even the weekly standard has come out in favor of a net zero gas tax.

  • Tony||

    The carbon tax scenarios raise the price of energy



    This is true, at least with regard to CO2-emitting energy sources. That's kind of the point. I think what Chad and I are getting at is that there are external costs beyond the mere dollar figure for CO2-emitting energy. Having governments foot the bill for global warming is essentially to continue a massive subsidy for the CO2-emitting energy industry.

    and thus slow economic growth.



    I don't see why this follows. It's just a correction to the market. It's both fair and purposeful: energy demand won't go away, so growth in the nonpolluting energy industry seems like a certainty.

    Finally, I find both Lomborg and Tol's methods really questionable. They tend to take an arbitrary dollar figure and calculate a cost/benefit ratio for several different proposals. In Lomborg's earlier work I believe the figure was $50 billion, a figure much too low to be meaningful. In this one it's $2.5 trillion, although I can't glean from the abstract what the money would be spent on; aren't we just talking about implementing a carbon tax? Which, of course, in no way precludes investment in other schemes (Lomborg especially has a bad habit of positing unfounded either/or scenarios.)

  • ||

    On the effect of carbon taxes see the abstract from the Tol paper and from my post above, consider reading William Nordhaus research on the economic effects of carbon taxes.

    From the Tol paper:
    The impact of climate change is rather uncertain. Available estimates suggest that the welfare loss induced by climate change in the year 2100 is in the same order as losing a few percent of income. That is, a century worth of climate change is about as bad as losing one or two years of economic growth. The impact of climate policy is better understood. A clever and gradual abatement policy can substantially reduce emissions (e.g., to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions at 650 and 550 ppm CO2eq) at an acceptable cost (1 or 2 years of growth out of 100, respectively). Very stringent targets (e.g., the 2ºC of the EU) may be very costly, however, or even infeasible. Suboptimal policy design would substantially add to the costs of emission abatement.

    For the Copenhagen Consensus on Climate 2009, this paper considers five alternative policies
    for carbon dioxide emission reduction. The alternatives differ in scope and intensity only. All five alternatives implement a uniform carbon tax, as that is the cheapest way to reduce emissions. The first policy spends $2.5 trillion on emission reduction in the OECD before 2020. This is rather
    silly. The benefit-cost ratio is less than 1/100. The second policy spends $2.5 trillion across the world before 2020. This is less silly because non-OECD emission reduction is a lot cheaper, but the benefit-cost ratio is still only 1/100. The third policy continues the same intensity of climate policy between 2020 and 2100. Most negative impacts of climate change are avoided by this policy,
    but the costs are so large that the benefit-cost ratio is only 1/50. In the fourth policy, $2.5 trillion is invested in a trust fund to finance emission reduction over the century. The benefit-cost ratio is 1/4. In the fifth policy, the trust fund is twenty times as small. The benefit-cost ratio is 3/2. In this policy, a tax of $2/tC is imposed in 2010 on all emissions from all sources in all countries; the tax rises with the rate of discount.

    As the analysis ignores uncertainty and equity, one may argue for a more stringent climate policy. However, the analysis also ignores suboptimal implementation, which argues for a more lenient climate policy.

    Again see Tol paper here.

  • Tony||

    Seems just a complicated way of saying polluting industries shouldn't have to pay for the damage they've done, and while we're at it let's subsidize these same industries to come up with sci-fi proposals that have little experimental grounding as yet and untold unintended consequences.

  • ||

    Tony: Perhaps this segment from my reporting on Nordhaus work will give some indication of what the kind of output of integrated assessment models generate:

    Nordhaus and his colleagues have developed a small but comprehensive model that combines interactions between the economy and climate called DICE-2007, short for Dynamic Integrated model of Climate and the Economy. Nordhaus first computes a baseline that assumes that humanity does essentially nothing to limit its output of carbon dioxide. By 2100 CO2 atmospheric concentrations would rise from the pre-industrial level 280 parts per million (ppm), to 380 ppm today, to 685 ppm in 2100. Global average temperature would rise by 2.4 degrees Celsius by 2100. In this baseline scenario, the DICE-2007 model estimates that the present value of climatic damages is $22.6 trillion. DICE-2007 includes damage to major sectors such as agriculture, sea-level rise, health, and non-market damages.

    Nordhaus then uses his model to assess the ambitious CO2 reduction proposals made by British economist Nicholas Stern and former Vice President Al Gore. Nordhaus calculates that the Stern and Gore proposals for steep immediate emissions reductions produce very similar cost/benefit results. Nordhaus also evaluates explicit temperature and concentration goals, e.g., limiting average temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above current levels or greenhouse gas concentrations to no more than 1.5-times pre-industrial CO2 atmospheric concentrations.

    So what did Nordhaus find? First, the Stern proposal for rapid deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions would reduce the future damage from global warming by $13 trillion, but at a cost of $27 trillion dollars. That's not a good deal. For an even worse deal, the DICE-2007 model estimates that the Gore proposal would reduce climate change damages by $12 trillion, but at a cost of nearly $34 trillion.

    Basically, higher energy prices required affect economic output and investment decisions, e.g., instead of investing $1 trillion in more housing or health care, that $1 trillion will now be diverted to more costly (solar and wind) ways to produce energy. The integrated assessment models regularly find that taking the projected damages of climate change into account, that this diversion of resources provoked by too high carbon taxes or high allowance prices costs more than the benefits obtained from avoiding climate damages. In other words, high carbon taxes over price the externalities created by emitting greenhouse gases.

  • ||

    The paper mentioned doesn't seem to address the differences between a net zero carbon tax, and a regular one.

    Still, I would agree with the overall point, from a governmental standpoint it doesn't make much sense to invest to much. A small amount in R&D basically.

    But a net zero carbon tax would accomplish everything pretty nicely. It would let the market sort things out. If new technologies were developed then we would be better off. If not we would still be in the exact same place.

    Anyway, agreed spending 2.5 trillion sounds like a waste.

  • ||

    Shorter Ron Bailey, Richard Tol, William Nordhaus:

    Wealth grows exponentially. CO2 emission grows linearly with wealth. Temperature grows sublinearly with CO2.

    The exponential will dominate. Any benefit from modestly curtailing CO2 is merely fine-tuning the result.

  • ||

    CO2 emission grows linearly with wealth.

    And note that future developments can only reduce the relationship between wealth and CO2 to a sublinear one. New energy technologies as they become economical will be less carbon intensive than current ones, and fossil fuel depletion will make carbon intensive technologies less economical as time goes by.

  • ||

    I just lost a lot of respect for Reason Magazine for airing this bullshit. As someone already said. Next fake apocalypse (read excuse to bilk taxpayers and control behavior) please.

  • ||

    Available estimates suggest that the welfare loss induced by climate change in the year 2100 is in the same order as losing a few percent of income. That is, a century worth of climate change is about as bad as losing one or two years of economic growth.

    So, lemme get this straight:

    All the foofaraw over climate change is over the equivalent of one mild recession sometime in the next 100 years? Isn't that about right?

    If that's the estimated impact, I think we can safely ignore it.

  • tekende||

    "Temperature grows sublinearly with CO2."

    [Citation needed]

  • ||

    I don't have time to find the best reference to it, but Figure TS.11 of the IPCC AR4 Technical Summary gives a good picture.

  • ||

    Also as it relates directly to America, a net zero carbon tax would be good because it will get us off oil quicker.

    In the last thread we mentioned peak oil, now here's this article from the economist.

    http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14363307

    The world's car fleet is supposed to tripple within the next 40 years. We have a hard time supplying the number of cars we have now, much less three times as much.

    If we want a strong economy going forward, we need to get ready for these changes in the supply line.

  • ||

    Kroneborge has the right take on carbon tax. I have advocated a steady raising gas taxes (10 cent per year) with an offsetting lowering of social security taxes for at least a decade.

    Knowing that gas prices would go up would encourage people to be more efficient - cutting demand and reducing the non-tax part of the price. If we had started when oil was less that $10 a barrel, we would be paying an extra $1.50 of taxes and probably a $1.50 less for the gas.

  • ||

    They would take the $10 that they saved on labor taxes, and apply them to the carbon tax and be exactly the same off.

    Come on this is econ 101 here.


    Actually, this is at least econ 303 -- intermediate price theory. You have not considered the fact that artificially changing the price of carbon will change the relative demand for carbon energy versus labor, i.e., the price of carbon energy in terms of labor.

    Given that so very many uses of carbon energy free up labor to do higher valued work, it is not at all obvious that replacing labor taxes with carbon taxes is economically more efficient.

    Would you say that reducing income and payroll taxes by half and obtaining that revenue by applying the equivalent total tax on water would make the economy exactly no worse off?

  • ||

    I have advocated a steady raising gas taxes (10 cent per year) with an offsetting lowering of social security taxes for at least a decade.

    Somewhere in year two of your scheme the tax would exceed the actual Pigouvian cost of gasoline. From that point on, it's all loss.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    The world's car fleet is supposed to tripple within the next 40 years. We have a hard time supplying the number of cars we have now, much less three times as much.

    If we want a strong economy going forward, we need to get ready for these changes in the supply line.



    Why is it that, every time there is a projection about energy use and production, the implicit statement is "OMG Government has to do something!"

    "We" do not need to prepare for anything. As oil becomes scarcer, the market will drive incentives for alternative fuels. Government is notoriously bad at picking "winners", so why are we chucking all of history and trying out interventionism yet again?

    Oh, that's right, it's a "crisis" and it's "for the (future) children".

  • The Angry Optimist||

    I do think, however, that we need to drop the denial stuff. Guys, solving the AGW "problem" is a prisoner's dilemma. Let's stick with that fact, please.

  • MNG||

    ""We" do not need to prepare for anything. As oil becomes scarcer, the market will drive incentives for alternative fuels."

    The market will save us all!

    Jeez. The market will most surely provide incentives, but that does not mean people will succeed in what they are trying for. Pardon us all if we fail to engage in such goofy faith based optimism angry one.

  • ||

    The government will save us all!

    Jeez. The government will most surely provide coercion, but that does not mean people will succeed in what they are trying for. Pardon us all if we fail to engage in such goofy faith based optimism nice one.

  • ||

    The governments mostly just need to get out of the way. Starting to happen, but there are many government roadblocks setup long ago by the fossil fuel drug pushers.

    Geo-enginerering is extremely dangerous and doesn't address ocean acidification and its costs. I have not been convinced that adaptation is cheaper than mitigation. Why?

    This problem doesn't stop at 2100. Allowing temperatures to rise will trigger still unmodeled but still present climate triggers such as arctic methane, disintegrating methane clathrates,and ultimately release deadly hydrogen sulfide into the atmosphere. Humanity cannot adapt to that.

    Additionally, these economic models don't include social triggers as humans react badly to climate change. Wars due to climate related migration and such will have a profoundly negative effect on the economy of the world.

  • ||

    Some support for my claims here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/08/a-biased-economic-analysis-of-geoengineering/

  • MNG||

    MikeP
    Cute, but given the nature of the problem, that people doing x is bad and we need people to stop or cut back, a coercive institution is necessary to get the solution.

  • ||

    Ok Bjorn's cute and all, but can we please see some pictures of Nick Gillespie's hot, underage sons?

  • ||

    MNG,

    But what if the total benefits of people doing x is greater than the total costs?

    That is, after all, what the studies that find that the costs of aggressive mitigation exceed the benefits are saying to us.

  • jordan 6 rings||

    Jeez. The market will most surely provide incentives, but that does not mean people will succeed in what they are trying for. Pardon us all if we fail to engage in such goofy faith based optimism angry one.

  • MNG||

    MikeP
    Well of course we need to try to enact a policy which gives us the most benefits for the least amount of costs (both to our well being and freedom). But let's be frank, many of the people on this thread don't care one whit about that, they don't want to see any government action even if it would meet that criteria.

  • ||

    While the chart in the article indicates the Carbon Taxes are rated very poor solutions for carbon emission reduction, the Waxman-Markey bill that came out of the House is about carbon cap and trade. This is a very different beast. A carbon tax is transparent whereas the cap and trade model is very opaque indeed.

    All you need to know about cap and trade is that Enron thought it had terrific potential as a profit center, all the big banks that brought you the sub prime mortgage debacle have cap and trade trading desks in the European market and Al Gore thinks the concept is just the bomb. Even "Mother Jones" thinks the concept sucks

  • Chris||

    Chad,

    The 'D' in 'R&D' means development which is not deployment - it could be demonstration though. You can get economies of scale from either, its called 'learning by research' versus 'learning by doing' R&D versus deployment. There's more of a trend for alternative energy cost reductions with more learning-by-doing in the recent decade, moreso than with just time, so I agree with you and just based on my own perceptions of the guy I doubt Bjorn's experts really looked in detail at the difference.

  • Chris||

    Alpha2Actual,

    The ACESA bill would put a price floor on allowances sold quarterly and although most are given freely, the majority is required to be used to reduce electricity rates and some is used to reduce the deficit, and a big portion is used to pay for the bills EE and RE state and national programs. The reason some environmentalist oppose the bill is because it allows industry to continue... It's not perfect but it seems like a feasible and flexible bill whose requirements can be changed to meet the situation. For example if allowances' price goes too high, the government can release additional credits from a certain sized reserve bank of allowances. It's not quite as opaque once you look at it.

  • ||

    Ron:

    I have already commented on several of the papers in question , eg at Real Climate, , and spoken to their reviewers as well.

    Bjorn may take his duties a media point man seriously, but , markets and corporations are as much engineering constructs as cathedrals and navies, they do not grow unattended like forests and the ecosystems that attend them, and the interface of economics with the environment is not constucted with environmental impact in mind.

    Economic law likewise has rules directed at human, not natural goals, (the survival of large financial intitutions being one recent example) and in historical consequence macroeconomics and natural history interact more by misadventure than design.

    This disconnect from the physical sciences makes it doubly inane for economists to wade into the climate wars claiming their models apply to projecting the cost of the physical impact of future externalities, or in the present case, to try to rank geoengineering techniques by economic figures of merit.

    Both sides in the debate can trot out teams of ethicists or economists, but their appearance on stage signifies nothing as to their understanding. All they can really assert is that the consequences of unknown future actions are themselves unknown.

  • Neu Mejican||

  • Neu Mejican||

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2009/09/energy-r-in-lomborgs-exercise.html

    Be sure to read the Galiana and Green paper linked at the bottom.

  • Bruce Currie||

    Asking a certain subset of economists (all with a libertarian bent?) to decide on the cost-effectiveness of geo-engineering schemes to mitigate the effects of AGW, over the introduction of new technologies for energy production, is nuts, given what we know about unintended consequences.

    Climate change due to CO2 emissions is itself
    an unintended consequence. Before we resort to implementing drastic geoengineering measures, we need to do everything we can to usher in
    alternative technologies.

    Those here who are skeptical of the science on AGW should spend more time with real science sites, and less with astro turf sites that reinforce their own biases. I also suggest that this study be redone with climate scientists and environmental engineers. They might just reach a different "foregone" conclusion than your economists did.

  • ||

    Ron.: How about having Bjorn & Co debate this lot-
    http://www.e3network.org/climate_taskforce_members.php

    i expect some on both sides would be reluctant

  • supra shoes||

    it seems like a feasible and flexible bill whose requirements can be changed to meet the situation. For example if allowances' price goes too high, the government can release additional credits from a certain sized reserve bank of allowances.

  • mark||

    supra shoes knows what's up.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement