And didn’t Bjorn Lomborg get shouted at for pointing this out, that far more people die in and because of the cold of winter than keel over in heat waves? This is not to go on to say that we should therefore welcome climate change – it’s only to insist that we’ve got to account for the effects of climate change properly. Assume that it happens, we’ll be getting less of this:
The death toll from Britain’s big freeze could rise to more than 2,000, as it emerged the Met Office had warned ministers a month ago about the cold snap.
The number of people who have died in cold homes in the UK might reach 100 per day this winter, a charity warned in an analysis of Office for National Statistics figures.
So, bring on that lovely climate change and fewer people will die because of the weather.
Again, this is not to say that climate change overall is therefore a good thing. It’s to say that the net effect of this specific and particular part of it would be a good thing. And there will obviously be other effects as well. Greenland melting in 2500 AD will put the Great Wen under water, obviously a positive effect again. Flipper will end up boiled in the remains of the last ice floe – a bad effect, one that we’d be willing to spend to prevent. Our task is therefore twofold.
OK, what’s the net effect of all of these various things upon human well being? The reason we use human well being as our marker being, obviously enough, that it’s us humans doing the doing and the deciding so the decision is going to be made by us on what affects us. So, let’s tot up those effects.
Sure, I’m not going to insist that the Stern Review is perfect but it’s at least an attempt at doing this. Willing to take that end result as at least a stab at getting the answer.
Which brings us to our second task. Assume that, as Stern says, the net effect over long periods of time is negative. How much are we willing to spend now to avoid that? Because spending now on climate change rather than other things that we might enjoy is a negative effect upon us, us extant now not those who might exist in the future, a cost. Again, I don’t insist Stern is right in every detail but his basic approach is along the right lines.
The answer is not all that much. Certainly less than we are spending at the moment. Recall, his answer is a carbon tax of $80 a tonne. Something that we in the UK already have – not specifically, but look at the various taxes we do have and we’ve got that and more. Yet we’re still spending more on mad barrages across the Severn and so on. We’re, in a proper analysis, spending too much on climate change.
Fun what you can show by applying the logic being used by ones enemies really, isn’t it? Read that Stern Review properly and we in the UK are done, we’ve solved climate change already and can go home. Why aren’t more people saying this?