These People Are Insane – Climate Change Edition


So, let us go along with the current preoccupation that climate change is the biggest threat to mankind today – rather than, say, Donald Trump, The European Union, destitution and poverty or Simon Cowell. Let us also say that we’d like to do something about it. We’d still end up saying that these people are insane in their approach to what to do about it all:

Climate change could be kept in check if a phaseout of all fossil fuel infrastructure were to begin immediately, according to research. It shows that meeting the internationally agreed aspiration of keeping global warming to less than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is still possible. The scientists say it is therefore the choices being made by global society, not physics, which is the obstacle to meeting the goal.

No, it’s the difference between a sane response to a chronic problem and an insane one.

Do recall that the entire structure of the argument is an economic one. Nordhaus – yes, a recent Nobel Laureate, showing that conventional economics entirely understands and grasps the climate change point – the Stern Review, Bjorn Lomborg, all the peeps, the argument is that not dealing with climate change will be more expensive than dealing with it. Yes, we’ve got to make a few adjustments to things like discount rates to prove this. The basic underlying idea of doing so being fair enough, the very low rates used by Stern have been described by Sir Partha Dasgupta as insane. Even if that word itself isn’t quite used.

But note what is the end result of all of this pondering. Yes, we should be doing something but we shouldn’t be doing that.

Actually, Stern tells us that we shouldn’t be setting a temperature target at all. We should be setting a cost target. Recall, again, the argument is that not doing something will cost more than doing something. So, how much should we do? We should do enough until the cost of what we’re doing meets that benefit of avoiding the costs of not doing anything. This is implicit in the very arguments we use to reach our initial conclusion that we should do something. And it’s made explicit in Stern. Don’t just do something and certainly don’t set a temperature target.

So, the costs of phasing out fossil fuels today or tomorrow? Very high. The benefits? Rather low. So, don’t do it.

Sorry, but that is actually the science behind climate change. It’s even the agreed science.

At which point off into paranoia. From memory this international process started out as being about limiting climate change to 3 degrees C. Maybe 2.5 C. And it became obvious that we could do this without breaking into too much of a sweat. A few decades of getting solar power cheaper – as Lomborg pointed out – and she’d be fine. Everyone would switch to the now cheaper form of energy generation/capture and we’d be done. Nordhaus and Stern differed a little on working with the grain of technological advancement and the capital cycle but were essentially saying the same thing. Help this process along with a judiciously applied carbon tax and let market processes take the strain.

Hey, our original models used to build the case for doing something insist that using market and capitalist processes will work better, reducing more climate change at lower cost, than the planning fantasies.

So, as we found out that we don’t need a radical change in the global economy to reach the target the target got changed by those who want an excuse for the radical changing of the global economy. It seems that it was only a few months back that that internationally agreed target – still wrong, we shouldn’t have a temperature target anyway – was 2 C. Then we all found out we could reach that without too much sweat and no radicalism. So, now we’ve the 1.5 C target – because there are those who want the radical change.

Sorry about this folks but these people are insane. They’re deliberately trying to stampede us into making ourselves and the future poorer by advocating the wrong response to climate change. Sod’em then.