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Lomberg review reviewed.

Cool It: The Sceptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming by Bjorn Lomborg review | Reviewed by Richard Girling
Lomborg’s view is that the cost of fighting climate change cannot be justified by the likely benefit, and that there are more pressing problems for the world to throw money at. .... His calculator tells him that applying the Kyoto protocol would cost $23 for every tonne of CO2 saved, and would return only $2 worth of “good”. “Maybe,” he wonders, “we could have done more good for the world with those $23 elsewhere?”

A platoon of “top-level economists” helps him demonstrate that money would be better spent fighting disease and malnutrition, providing sanitation and clean water, and dismantling trade barriers....

A pretty good summary - but it is too much for our tree loving writer...

In any perceived conflict between present and future, the present will always win – that is the nature of politics. It takes an economist to argue that one global crisis should be competitively costed against another and that the bottom line is bingo.....

Lomborg makes a valuable contribution to the economics of good intention – we need to know we are not in for a cheap and easy ride. But he rests his case on a relatively modest rate of global warming (2.6C by 2100, against the 7C feared by some climatologists), and skates over the fact that the bleakest predictions come from the scientists with the longest CVs, who are neither idiots nor enemies of the free world. There remains only one answer to how much we should be prepared to pay to avert the risk of catastrophe: whatever it costs.

Oh dear Lord, what is the point of such a review? "Whatever it costs?" just in case, without reservation or cavil. I don't know what it is like in Mr Girling's world but out here money isn't infinite and spending has to be prioritised, and future benefits discounted to present day values. That is true for the weekly trip to Waitrose, and for the planet. And if you can't grasp this simple point and that Lomberg is trying to make campaigners to wake up and realise that then the review is a waste of dead trees.

Comments

Once again the real issue is ignored. Who does the paying? Who gets paid? Who ensures the efforts being made are fruitful? Who watches the watchers?
I am frustrated with the casual attitude towards paying for the changes climatologists(who says this is science?) say would be effective. The reality is that the paying would be done by the poor and middle class folks and would hardly be felt and largely ignored by those with the loudest voices espousing the most radical changes. Would the treehugging eco crowd give up their conveniences and private jets and would any of that impact them as profoundly as the "little" increases in fuel and energy rated appliance costs would impact the middle class or the poor? Of course not. The standard of living for most americans would be so dramatically reduced just by implementing the minimum changes that those living reasonably comfortably now would be quickly marginalized to borderline poverty. This is already happening as a result of increased foreign demand for oil yet its insidious as it reduces the value of a hard earned dollar so slowly that it seems to not be happening yet numbers do not lie. Economists might not see inflation but compare your grocery bills from just three years ago to today and you will be shocked. Imagine electricity, gasoline , heating oil, light bulbs and everything else increasing in cost by just 15%. would wages keep up or adjust as well? No and 15% is a ludicrously low estimate of the increases which would be incurred. Especially when one would like to have his children live a better life than his parents or he did as we have come to expect. Not going to happen. We can do a little with a little impact and we can do a lot with a little impact. If the climatologists are even close to being right which would be remarkable in that climatology is an offshoot of meteorology and every bit as inaccurate and flawed by virtue of its youth as a science and the nature of the subject as well as the lack of long term data then we already might as well prepare ourselves for a much hotter future and adapt to it like we have every other time climate changed in history. Better air conditioning and good agricultural science is probably the best place to focus our efforts. The climate seems a far more daunting prospect for human interference than engineering hardier plants and local climate controlling and certainly exponentially more costly. Just not discomfitting enough or elegant enough to suit the idiologues(purposely spelled) who are crying the green blues but, I submit, the only currently viable option besides status quo. Energy saving devices should be sold for their ability to raise the standard of living for the poor and middle classes as this approach would see a more rapid spread than appealing to the idealist in people for whom the primary motivator is subsistence and dump the ridiculous idea of carbon credits and offsets on the wasteheap of silly ideas with the .com boom and the pet rock.

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