7/16/2009 03:47:00 PM
Cf. a British court found 11 errors in Al "fighting global warming is like fighting the Nazis" Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth.Aside from this, now matter how Obama wrecks the US economy even more with his green scheme, it won't make a detectable difference as long as China and India continue to increase their output. And Shikha Dalmia explains why they won't impoverish themselves to by refusing to:Consider what would be necessary to slash global greenhouse-gas emissions just 50% below 2000 levels by 2050—a far less aggressive goal than what the enviros say is necessary to avert climate catastrophe. According to U.S. Chamber of Commerce calculations, even if the West reduced its emissions by 80% below 2000 levels, developing countries would still have to return their emissions to 2000 levels to meet the 50% target. However, Indians currently consume roughly 15 times less energy per capita than Americans—and Chinese consume seven times less. Asking them, along with the rest of the developing world, to go back to 2000 emission levels with a 2050 population would mean putting them on a very drastic energy diet.The human toll of this is unfathomable: It would require these countries to abandon plans to ever conquer poverty, of course. But beyond that it would require a major scaling back of living standards under which their middle classes—for whom three square meals, cars and air-conditioning are only now beginning to come within reach—would have to go back to subsistence living, and the hundreds of millions who are at subsistence would have to accept starvation.In short, the choice for developing countries is between mass death due to the consequences of an overheated planet sometime in the distant future, and mass suicide due to imposed instant starvation right now. Is it any surprise that they are reluctant to jump on the global-warming bandwagon?
RE: KtisophilosThe US and indeed every other advanced economy has evolved without considering the environmental cost of products and services (externalities) and as such presents an inherently false representation of cost and profit. These externalities instead of simply vanishing have accumulated and are manifesting as delayed real economic costs. The emissions trading scheme seeks to recognise these externalised costs before the environmental deficit presents an insurmountable financial hurdle. SO in effect if the economy is already "wrecked" it has been wrecked by its own historical operation, not Obama's attempt to ensure its survival.Your argument regarding the developing world over simplifies the situation and fails to consider changes to changes to energy efficiency through the investment portion of a carbon economy, the income to these manufacturing hubs resulting from renewable technology and western investments in these nations through aid, and tools such as clean development mechanisms.Fundamentally, increased costs associated with emissions trading schemes or carbon taxes can will be significantly passed on the ultimate customer in the west due to the vast export volume of these economies.There will be significant challenges for the developing world to address the costs of climate change, but to suggest the cost will be immediate suicide through starvation is superficial and lazy.
Mark: I agree with your basic point about the negative externalities, but I lean towards _The Economist_'s view that a Pigouvian carbon tax is a better solution than a cap-and-trade system that hands out most of its credits for free and provides another potential arena for the same people who gamed the financial markets to game the system again.
It never ceases to amaze how the simple mention of global warming in a news story sets off a tsunami of rhetoric. It generally comes from a very vocal minority that would go to its grave swearing that the sum total of climate science is a liberal plot to enrich Al Gore. Alternately, we are told the Martian ice caps are melting, proof that solar radiation and sunspot cycles — and not greenhouse gases — are the cause of planetary warmups.
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