Climate change skeptic to push for $100-billion annually to fight warming - Macleans.ca
 

Climate change skeptic to push for $100-billion annually to fight warming

UN climate chief once compared Bjørn Lomborg to Hitler


 

Bjørn Lomborg, once compared to Adolf Hitler by UN climate chief Rajendra Pachauri, will publish a book next month that calls climate change “one of the chief concerns facing the world today.” The Danish economist, once considered a thorn in the side of environmentalists everywhere, has even picked up an endorsement from Pachauri for his new book, Smart Solutions to Climate Change. Lomborg says the book is not an about face as some critics have called it; he has always believed in man-made global warming. What’s new is his belief that it is possible and worthwhile to reverse warming by spending money. Lomborg examined 15 possible policies to fight climate change and asked five economists to rank the policies on effectiveness. With carbon taxes at the bottom of their lists and spending on research and development high on their lists, Lomborg concludes that governments should abandon the taxes and spend $100-billion a year on developing technologies to reverse warming instead.

Guardian


 
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Climate change skeptic to push for $100-billion annually to fight warming

  1. So, The government should do the job of research and development that private industry has failed to do because there is no market pressure to do so, and they should come up with 100 billion dollars to do it without raising taxes.

    Perhaps more economists should be running governments.

    • Comment boards are no place for logic like that.

  2. No, no need to move from denialism. In fact, denialism is such a dreary word. It's called realism. AGW proponents are followers of hysterical crackpotism.

    • Weren't you quoting Lomborg a week or so ago? What a shame you can't even trust a famous deniosaur to stay in denial any more.

      • I've never quoted Lomborg.

    • Err.. you do realize that when the majority accept something as true, the crackpots are defined as those who don't, right?

      • I hope not. I would hope that that crackpot meant that someone was mentally addled, not that he goes against what ever addled idea is currently popular.

        • Nope. If you don't go along with the current popular belief, you're a crackpot. Just ask any of the AGW alarmists over the last several years; if you were vocally skeptical you were considred a crackpot. Today of course, the majority of people are non-believers, so it's now the alarmists who are todays climate crackpots. Lol!

        • You hope in vain, then. A crackpot 70 years ago was someone who thought that blacks and whites should be able to marry. 100 years ago the crackpot was the guy who saw that continents sort of fit together and drew up the theory of Continental drift. 200 years ago, a crackpot was someone claiming that owning slaves was bad for the economy.

          Of course, these are the fun examples because they're the crackpots who were eventually shown to be right. History generally doesn't record the vast multitude of crackpots who were just cracked.

      • Yes, the majority accept that AGW is a myth.

        • hint: It's not a majority if it's only counting the people in the US.

          • Can we count the people in China, where close to 100% think it's a fraud? How about India?

            Those three countries have nearly half the world population, and majorities in all three of them think it's a fraud.

  3. "The economics on the subject, both in theory and practice have been in favour of putting a price on carbon (a carbon tax) as the most effective measure"

    Why do people think that a carbon tax is the solution to overconsumption of petroleum? People must believe the cost of fuel is not high enough; if this is the case it means that there is an oversupply of oil. I hear the alarmists scream that we have passed the peak oil production and the price will reach $200 to $500 per barrel soon. If this is so, why do we need a tax to reduce consumption when we are running out of oil and the price will skyrocket in a couple of years? Perhaps the truth is that peak oil is a myth. Actually if the price of fuel is not high enough yet, the solution is to reduce supply. Talk to the Saudi oil gods and convince them to reduce production. I'm sure they would be happy to drive up the cost of oil and we will not need a new tax. With the higher price, governments around the world will have a fuel tax windfall. The planet will be ‘saved' and everyone will be happy (Until the next election when we throw the bums out).

    • Negative externalities.

      Ignoring those, carbon-based energy sources are just fine, as are the economics on it. Oil prices, ignoring a side-discussion on speculation, are fine considering supply and demand alone and are responding appropriately to market forces. However, markets don't account for externalities, especially negative ones. When a transaction involves costs incurred by those not involved in the transaction, there is no market mechanism to account for or reduce it – which is why we have laws or regulations against most forms of pollution.

      Reducing supply of oil achieves the same thing as a carbon tax but in a more convoluted way. It's a cap-and-trade, which if executed well behaves exactly like a carbon tax with some caveats, caveats which can really interfere with the market. Ironically, what you've suggested us asking the Saudis to do is exactly what they've sometimes done themselves – cut supply to drive up prices, as they did when the price of oil plummeted to below $50 a barrel. They've done the reverse as well, increasing supply to lower costs, as they did when it approached $150 a barrel, in order to prevent the reduction in demand (and increased investment in alternatives) that accompanies higher prices. The Saudis know the economics of their business quite well.

      Also, a higher baseline price for oil lowers government fuel tax revenue by lowering consumption. Fuel taxes in Canada are set by the litre, so lower consumption means lower revenue.

      Lastly, peak oil is a related, but ultimately separate discussion. Frankly, I've been convinced that if peak oil is real, eventually dwindling supply will force prices up and do basically what a carbon tax would do (minus the benefit of allowing other tax cuts). However, it may not do it smoothly, potentially leading to some rather harsh shocks to the economy and our infrastructure as we make the transition. A carbon tax, imposed early enough, allows us to ease the transition and time it to when the economy is best able to handle the additional costs.

      • But we already pay 30 cents per liter in taxes on gas. Stephan Dione's proposed carbon shift tax was another 3 cents. That small amount would have had no effect on consumption, it was too insignificant. In order to reduce consumption, a fuel tax of at least 25 cents more per litre would be needed. But why bother? We are past peak oil now and fuel prices are supposed to rise to $2 per litre in a few years. At least that's what the oil scare mongers claim. This talk of new taxes on fuel is pointless if the price will rise naturally anyway.

        • Dion's proposed tax wouldn't apply to gas at all, he said that repeatedly, so I have no idea where you're getting that figure. It would help to decrease consumption if that tax increased further, but it's a moot point since that's not what was going to happen anyway.

          Besides, carbon taxes apply to a lot of other things than just automobile fuel. Coal and natural gas, for example, are not expected to rise in price to anywhere near the same degree of oil, and will be economically viable for decades into the future. The debate on peak oil is also not settled. While I believe oil production will begin to fall, I don't know by how much, nor can the prices on oil (which are highly variable), be predicted solely on production expectations.

          • yes I guess you'r right. It wasn't gasoline, it was coal, oil and gas. it would have directly effected the cost of propane, home heating oil and diesel. You're right. sorry.

            Thank god he wasn't successful.

          • Unless I'm mistaken, diesel was also exempt, at the urging of truck drivers who rely on it. It would have directly affected the cost of the other things though, but that's the idea, to make emission-heavy methods of transport more expensive. I don't see how the plan doing what it was supposed to do is a point against it.

      • In the EU they already pay $2 per litre, and they still drive cars, and they drive like maniacs too. In a few years due to peak oil they'll be paying $4. They have great rail systems but then they don't have any significant land to cross either. You can travel by rail through 5 countries in a matter of a few hours there, but in Canada you can hardly cross 2 provinces in that amount of time. Not comparable situations.

        For canada, we need cars and we need cheap energy. If you want to force people to travel by rail, we need at least $2 a litre for gas. And at those prices, only the poor will be taking the train, once again only the wealthy will have cars.

        Of course all of this depends on the truth of AGW (once again this lie rears it's very ugly head).

        • In the EU they still drive cars, but their per capita carbon emissions are well below ours. We don't have that much land to cross either, all things considered – our population densities in most areas (SW Ontario, Vancouver, Montreal area) are quite high, and these account for much of the population on the whole.

          Besides, countries with comparable population distributions and climates, like Sweden and oil-producing Norway also have far lower per capita emissions, in no small part due to their carbon pricing schemes. We may not be able to reach as low levels of emissions as certain other countries, but we can get a lot lower than we are at right now, without the economic gloom and doom that carbon taxes have been labelled with (Norway and Sweden's economy has performed quite well over the past decade and aren't doing too badly now, even through the recession).

          And here, we see the bucket defense in your last-line denial of AGW – ultimately, this fight is all about stopping a carbon tax, by any means or twisted logic necessary.

  4. You are a classic example of what I've described above – moving from one point against a carbon tax (when you said it's not the most economical solution), to a completely unrelated one (AGW doesn't exist, so we don't need a solution).

    It's also telling that you provide no information to back up your assertion that it's a non-existent problem, nor a rebuttle of the points I made against your previous (now dropped) assertion that a carbon tax is not the most economical solution. You get refuted on one goalpost, so you move it to the next one.

  5. Apparently klem thinks "majority of people in the USA" means "majority of people". The same majority that deny evolution I suppose (OK, 45%, but great majority believe either in YEC, or in God-guided evo). The same majority that think Saddam was behind 9/11. Yes, "twisted logic" is indeed working with a lot of people, but maybe we could at least do better here in our discussions? Oh… or maybe we couldn't.

    Craig O. makes good points, and makes them well. Spot-on with the moving goalposts.

  6. If government claims that Carbon fuels are a threat to humanity, government must respond by funding the R&D to find an affordable, full time energy source to REPLACE carbon fuels. I don't see government doing this. I see government focused on developing part time technologies such as wind and solar. Wind and solar, along with biofuels, still require full time availability of carbon fuels as backup. I see government taking us down a long, expensive road in pursuit of energy sources that cannot replace carbon fuels.

    Let's hope that Bloom Energy's fuel cell development will lead us off of this road to nowhere. Bloom is doing what government should have been doing all along.