|We are spending trillions to achieve an uncertain, infinitesimal benefit in the distant future. What actions should we take today if warming is man-made?|
Climate Change Part IV – If Humans Cause Warming
By: George Noga – April 2, 2017
Assuming (for purposes of this posting only) that MLLG believes human activity is responsible for global warming, this post presents the ten most critical policies and actions (in approximate order of priority) that mankind should take in response.
1. Use cost-benefit analysis. EPA carbon regulations cost $100 billion over five years. The putative benefits are reductions of 1 part per thousand per year in carbon and 2.35 ten-thousandths of one degree per year in temperature. Costs are real, immediate and certain whereas the benefits are microscopic, remote and uncertain. Europe’s diesel regulations cause thousands of deaths each year due to increased soot, but the benefit is only 4 one-thousandths of one degree in 50 years. Current climate policies cost trillions and will make no detectable difference in climate even 100 years in the future.
2. Maximize economic growth. A wealthy planet is better able both to alter and to mitigate the effects of warming. In fact, mitigation may be a much better and less costly strategy to combat warming versus trying to lower temperature. This conserves resources if warming proves to be solar caused or is less problematic than expected.
3. Fund research for renewable energy and conservation. Today, wind, solar, bio-fuels and other renewables are not cost effective. Rather than squander scarce resources as described in number one supra, redirect spending toward research for the future.
4. Prioritize spending. Government spending (US and foreign) must achieve the most good for the most people – again based on cost-benefit analysis. Independent scientists and economists rank many priorities ahead of climate including third world projects for clean water, sanitation and immunization. Hundreds of millions of lives could be saved today versus the possibility of some infinitesimal and uncertain future climate benefit.
5. Don’t export pollution. Measures to reduce CO2 imposed only by rich nations result in the shifting of production to poorer countries without such regulations. This process exports pollution and exacerbates warming. Earth is better off when production takes place in the US versus India or China. The US should abandon unilateral actions that waste money and export warming. Carbon reduction must be global to be effective.
6. Correctly apply the precautionary principle. It is sensible to exercise caution but nonsensical to assert that one can’t be too careful. The worst case scenario should never dictate policy; under that logic, no one would ever get into an automobile. It is a grotesque misapplication of the precautionary principle to bankrupt ourselves today in order to lavish money on a possible but uncertain problem in the distant future.
7. Fund research in an unbiased manner. All public funding should be devoid of politics and not biased in favor of scientists with any particular point of view. Our objective is to get at the truth, not to advance an agenda. The UN-IPCC should be non political with scientists, not politicians, writing all the reports and summaries.
8. Science is never settled. Scientists should continue to study all aspects of climate change including: (1) the linkage between CO2 and temperature as well as any amplification or dampening effects; (2) whether warming is positive or negative for humanity understanding that warming kills far fewer people than cooling; (3) warming throughout the solar system; and (4) climate models that incorporate the past 20 years of data. Finally, because there is so much hullabaloo about scientific consensus, there should be an independent and anonymous poll conducted of climate scientists.
9. Encourage debates. Scientists should publicly debate each other as should politicians in unbiased media environments. That would be very enlightening.
10. Be objective and eschew emotion and fanaticism. Scientists, politicians, media and educators all should be strictly objective and dispassionate. We all seek the truth.
Not even one of the above 10 policies is now being followed; instead, antithetical policies are in effect. There is no cost-benefit analysis, robust economic growth, prioritization of spending, debate or objectivity and we are exporting pollution.
It is in the interest of all, believers and deniers alike, dispassionately and objectively to seek the truth, even if it ultimately shatters our current beliefs. Even those who passionately believe in man-made warming must recognize that what we are now doing is not only wrong but incredibly wasteful, counterproductive and dishonest!
The next post on April 9th is the final in our climate change series