After Copenhagen: Climate action we can agree on
Posted by sanityinjection on December 17, 2009
In the wake of what is shaping up to be the spectacular failure of the Copenhagen conference on climate change, it may be that this presents an opportunity for a new look at the issue. I refer you to this piece by Bjorn Lomborg in the WSJ arguing that the current strategy being demanded by the global warming hysteria lobby – stringent worldwide emissions restrictions – fails not only because it is not achievable, but because even if it were achievable it would fail to benefit the people of the world’s underdeveloped countries. Because of poverty and disease, many people in these countries will not live long enough to suffer from rampant global warming. Emissions reductions, Lomborg points out, are incredibly costly and yet relatively ineffective in reducing global temperatures. For a fraction of the cost we could be wiping out malaria, for example, and save many more lives.
The irony of the global warming hysteria industry is that they have actually eroded support for moving away from fossil fuels by blotting out everything else and insisting on making global warming the defining issue. In fact, there are plenty of good reasons to support reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and expanding our use of alternative and renewable energy, while conserving energy through hyper-efficient “green” technology. You don’t have to be a faithful worshipper at the Church of ManBearPig, er, I mean man-made global warming, to support these things. Lomborg points out that even a major increase in funding for these initiatives would be vastly cheaper than what is being discussed in Copenhagen:
“Specifically, we should radically increase spending on R&D for green energy—to 0.2% of global GDP, or $100 billion. That’s 50 times more than the world spends now—but still twice as cheap as Kyoto. Not only would this be both affordable and politically achievable, but it would also have a real chance of working.”
Even the Obama Administration is taking a break from cheerleading for Al Gore to propose tax breaks for clean energy technologies – which in addition to helping the environment, also benefits the economy, unlike Copenhagen-style emissions restrictions which hurt the economy. To use a metaphor that carbon-haters can understand – the difference between promoting clean energy and mandating emissions caps is like the difference between walking and driving. Walking may be slower but it’s reliable, healthy and doesn’t cause collateral damage. Driving will get you where you want to go in a hurry, but at what cost?