Posted by John H. Cochrane, on his own blog ” The Grumpy Economist ”
It relates to a Wall Street Journal article published by he and David Henderson.
A refreshing new look at an exceedingly important aspect of the IPCC/UN endeavours to impose global controls that are purportedly based on scientific evidence and statistically valid projections.
Denial of the IPCC claims is far more convincingly supported by valid science but the propaganda juggernaut is so powerful, it swamps any chance of the real science breaking through the barriers.
There is an undeniable political agenda behind the ‘climate change’ movement that also requires to surface as a public concern. It is probably the most important factor if our civilization is to continue in a humane manner. (Again ignoring the obvious fact that our current standards of humanity are actually, scaringly inhumane. Killing each other in cold blood being accepted as normal behaviour, any resemblance of adherence to “rules of war” are lost in the warmongering Western countries leaders and the pathetically irresponsible media. The fact that we have agreed rules of war is itself an indictment on our collective sanity and intelligence. A civil ‘civilization’ would rule out wars as acceptable behaviour. I know, a practical impossibility, but ideals should be at the forefront of our behaviour, not forever lost! )
An eventual arrival at the actual post theme and the introduction of economics into the picture.
John Cochrane’s belief in the importance of economics in the ‘climate change’ picture is well supported by his post and makes sense, as he says, regardless of any scientific or political factors.
When considering any particular aspect of suggested future changes, the financial costs should be considered and transparent. The total costs of alternative energy sources – setup, operational, resources, end-of-life (replacement, decommissioning and waste products).
The costs of phasing out existing energy sources, loss of output, loss of jobs and related business and local public welfare.
The article could be summarized by this extract:
Climate change is often misunderstood as a package deal: If global warming is “real,” both sides of the debate seem to assume, the climate lobby’s policy agenda follows inexorably.
It does not. Climate policy advocates need to do a much better job of quantitatively analyzing economic costs and the actual, rather than symbolic, benefits of their policies. Skeptics would also do well to focus more attention on economic and policy analysis.
The article commences:
On Climate Change
David Henderson and I wade in to perilous waters in the July 31 Wall Street Journal. We try to stake out a different and more productive conversation than the usual shouting match between alarmists and deniers.
Climate change is often misunderstood as a package deal: If global warming is “real,” both sides of the debate seem to assume, the climate lobby’s policy agenda follows inexorably.It does not. Climate policy advocates need to do a much better job of quantitatively analyzing economic costs and the actual, rather than symbolic, benefits of their policies. Skeptics would also do well to focus more attention on economic and policy analysis.As usual, I have to wait 30 days to post the whole thing.
As economists, we both have a healthy skepticism of large computer based forecasting models. The famous 1972 club of Rome forecast that we would run out of resources, and the grand failure of large scale Keynesian models in the late 1970s are two humbling examples. The “climate” models also feature a lot of questionable economics. A crucial question — how much carbon will the world’s economies add on their own, without Paris-accord policies? That’s economics, very questionable economics, and not meteorology.
That said, however, the point of the oped is to try to shift the debate away from climate science and mixed climate-economic computer models. Stop arguing about climate, and let us instead investigate costs and benefits of policies. That strikes us as a much more fruitful place for discussion. If you are wary of the climate policy agenda, the costs and benefits of those policies are more fertile ground for discussion than the science of carbon emissions and atmospheric warming. If you only argue about the climate, then you implicitly admit that if the models are right about climate, the whole policy agenda follows. Do not admit that point. They may be right about climate and wrong about policy.
A full copy is linked here.
A further comment is prompted by another part of his article –
For the record, I favor a uniform carbon tax in place of all the other direct energy regulations and subsidies. (A neighbor just showed me his electric car, purchased in addition to a regular car, for one reason only: you can ride it solo in the HOV lane, a right worth thousands in California.) The rate on such a tax can be raised or lowered as politics and science see fit. If we’re going to do something, and if the health of the economy is a prime consideration, then we must do something economically efficient. (David disagrees, but he can explain his views in his own blog.) As I favor a uniform VAT in place of the idiotically complex income and corporate tax system. I recognize the essential failure of our political system to enact simple transparent reforms, but that’s a question for another day.
It seems to me that, after all his pertinent, impartial and interesting comments, his favouring a carbon tax is contrary to the economic considerations to which he has given importance. He fails to justify its need or effectiveness.