Time to come to our senses about global warming
Britain's efforts to reduce the speed of global warming will cost huge sums of money and have a pitifully tiny effect
....The British Government estimates the cumulative carbon saving from all its plans at somewhere between 950 and 1,100 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030.....
The temperature increase by 2100 without Mr Brown's plan would have been 2.4536181C. With the best-case scenario the huge UK effort means that the temperature at the end of the century would be 2.4532342C. The effect is a difference of about 0.00038C - or about one three-thousandth of a degree in a hundred years. This is the equivalent of delaying the temperature increase by the end of the century by a little less than a week.
...the investment involves paying £1 to do less than 4p worth of good.
The UK emits about 2 per cent of global CO2. Thus we could imagine the world as composed of 50 UKs, each emitting one fiftieth of the carbon. If all 50 of our “UKs” paid a £100 billion to reduce temperatures by one three-thousandth of a degree in 100 years, the result would be still be trivial: one sixtieth of a degree by the end of the century. Costs would most probably increase similarly, fiftyfold to £5,000 billion. This amazing sum would simply postpone global warming and its problems by a mere 11 months by the end of the century.
The cost of £5,000 billion is equivalent to a hundredfold increase in global donations to developing countries. To make a simple comparison, the UN estimates that for about £40 billion annually, we could solve all major basic problems in the world - we could give clean drinking water, sanitation, basic education and healthcare to every person in the world. But instead we are spending a fortune achieving almost nothing.
Of course, we shouldn't ignore global warming. But instead of trying to cut CO2 emissions, we should focus on dramatically increasing the funding into energy research and development. What matters is getting low-cost low-carbon technology available faster. If the price of renewable energy dropped below the cost of fossil fuels by mid-century, everyone - including China and India - would switch to the greener alternatives.