The Green New Deal – Five Times More Expensive Than Necessary To Beat Climate Change


That the Green New Deal isn’t the way to deal with climate change is obvious. The proposal comes from those we wouldn’t trust to run a whelk stall so why would we entrust the global environment to them? And more accurately, we already don’t vote for them to run housing, the economy, industry, or anything complex and more difficult than diversity advice.

The main thing wrong with that Green New Deal being that it’s a vastly expensive, thus inefficient, manner of dealing with the actual problem before us. This is more than just the usual whinge about mean righties not wanting to spend upon the common good, not being willing to cough up as we should for the people. It’s a point about human nature.

We peeps – all of us – do less of things that are more expensive, more of things that are cheaper. If beating climate change cost 50 cents we’d have done it already. If it requires that we all return to living in mud huts then it’s not going to happen and that environment out there can and will fend for itself. The way to gain the maximum amount of climate mitigation – not letting the temperature rise – is to make it cheap to have climate mitigation. The more expensive we make it, the more expensive the process we try to use, the less of it we’ll have.

At which point the costs of that Green New Deal:

Instead, we need an International Green New Deal: a pragmatic plan to raise $8tn – 5% of global GDP – each year, coordinate its investment in the transition to renewable energy and commit to providing climate protections on the basis of countries’ needs, rather than their means.

5% a year. 5% of everything done by everyone a year. Might there not be a cheaper way of gaining the same outcome?

The Review proposes that one percent of global GDP per annum is required to be invested to avoid the worst effects of climate change. In June 2008, Stern increased the estimate for the annual cost of achieving stabilisation between 500 and 550 ppm CO2e to 2% of GDP to account for faster than expected climate change.

No, we cannot say that things have changed, that climate change is now known to be worse than Stern assumed or anything. Because Stern assumed already that it would be worse than any model used at that time. And, in fact, worse than any model we use today. Yes, Stern’s basic assumption is that climate change will be worse than RCP 8.5, the scenario we’re already going to come in well under because of the things we’ve already done.

That is, the Green New Deal is 5 times more expensive that just having a carbon tax to reach the same goal, dealing with climate change. Thus we should have the carbon tax, not the Green New Deal, obviously.