Attention Bill Shorten. The cost of inaction on climate change

Dear Bill.
The cost of inaction on climate change is negative. More atmospheric CO2 and mild warming are good, not bad. Bjorn Lomborg wrote The Cost of Inaction; The Economic and Budgetary Consequences of Climate Change for a presentation to the US Senate Budget Committee in 2014.

Lomborg is a warmist, or at least a luke warminst and he thinks that warming will cause problems down the track, decades hence, after we exceed 2 degrees C. In the meantime the effects of fertilization from CO2 (plant food), reduced heating bills and health benefits in temperate zones will yield net economic benefits. He placed the turning point when costs exceed benefits around 2070 although a more realistic timeframe for 2 degrees of warming is well over a century and nearer two, even if there is no cooling as some well informed observers expect in the next few years.

To put numbers on the situation using Figure 9 in his paper for the US up to 2070 the cost of ambitious climate policies grows past 1.5% of GDP and the benefits of mitigation have got up to 0.2% of GDP after sticking on zero until 2040.

So much for the price of inaction. There is no price of inaction. There is a massive dollar cost of action. There is no identifiable upside. The money spent on renewable energy on grid is completely misguided until there is mass storage in the indefinite future.

Apparently Bill is insisting that the cost of the uncosted climate initiatives is practically nil. How elastic is ‘practically’? That was said in Germany – the cost of a scoop of ice cream, and Kevin Rudd’s dollar a day for a family.

Unfortunately the economic cost is just the beginning. In addition there is a human cost (lives lost and lives not saved), an environmental cost and damage to social and political institutions

Human costs

Lives lost, the biofuel story. Matt Ridley reports that ethanol uses 5% of the world’s grain, mostly corn. This puts up the price of food and the poorest suffer. He cites an estimate that almost 200,000 people die annually and this is probably on the high side. Many different figures circulate but even Mike Hulme who is nuanced alarmist reported in strong terms on this situation. He wrote this in Why We Disagree About Climate Change:

The UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food condemned the growing of biofuels as ‘a crime against humanity’ because they diverted arable land to the production of crops which are then burned for fuel instead of sold for food’…Rather than contributing to the theoretical food security of hundreds of millions of the world’s poor in 50 years time, it has reduced the actual food security of tens of millions of the world’s poor today.

Lives not being saved. These are the millions who die prematurely in developing countries for want of clean power to replace the animal dung and other fuels that they use with poisonous consequences for their lungs. John Christy is eloquent on this topic on video. Under the influence of the Obama administration and EU greenies major lending agencies have not allowed investment in coal and gas projects in the Third World.

From another Lomborg paper.

Almost three billion people cook and keep warm by burning twigs and dung, creating fumes that lead to one out of every 13 deaths globally. Donors could prevent many of these fatalities by expanding access to electricity, which would power basic stoves and heaters while fueling productivity in agriculture and industry.

Impact on the natural environment

Millions of birds and bats including endangered species minced and roasted annually.

Rainforests cleared for palm oil for biofuel.

Other ecosystems scraped clean to make way for wind factories and fields of solar panels. A pity about the wildlife and also the effect on power prices and reliability.

Impact on the social environment

Regulation nation. The social of Nanny statism – no plastic straws the tip of the iceberg of misguided environmental regulations. 3000 pages of law and regulations to establish the renewable energy grid in South Australia, the model for all commonwealth and state regulations that followed.

Corruption of public debate and the political process.

Corruption of science.

Corruption of school education.

Someone remind me about the benefits of carbon mitigation.

Posted from back of Burnie. A bit late after two days on the road.

This entry was posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Attention Bill Shorten. The cost of inaction on climate change

  1. tombell

    Trouble is Shorten doesn’t care. It’s a vote winner as far as he’s concerned. End of story. And as for his comrades on the far left, it’s simply part of the Long March to Utopia. Climate change has become a synonym for control by the State.

  2. Entropy

    Climate adaptation is the way to go. Manage the risk of an adverse weather event, that way even if climate change doesn’t happen at all, or even occurs at an even more glacial rate than the actual predictions, we are better able to manage adverse events like drought, cyclones, floods etc anyway. The sort of thing you do whether climate change happens or not.

    I was looking at predictions of heat stress days for NWQ cattle by 2040. It was predicted to rise from 60 odd days at present to 80 odd days as I recall. Sounds terrible eh? Thing is, that is about five or six life cycles at least of cows. Every two years, a new lot of heifers evolving with the climate. Just actively preg test your heifers, and get rid of the dry ones. Hey Presto! Your herd improves in its ability to manage climate in line with any changes the climate chooses to punish evil man with.

    The only remaining trick is to workout how to get a guvvmint subsidy – sorry I mean hand out– oh, dammit- helping hand – I think I have the right term now: price based incentive to do it.

  3. Great comment Entropy, discussing adaptation. Evolution more properly has been observed over only a few years, yes (20 or so in complex organisms)?

  4. Tezza

    That’s a very helpful listing, thanks Rafe. However after the Lomborg’s citation, the following sections seem to me to be cost of actions mistakenly taken to try to alter the world’s climate, not costs of inaction.

    So the calculus is that we are incurring huge costs to avoid (at worst, if you believe the climate model forecasts 100 or more years into the future) a modest, century-long benefit.

    The Libs are so compromised on DAGW and so generally intellectually hopeless that they can’t even lay a glove on Shorten.

  5. min

    Shorten is focussing on the existential danger to humans ,that is so much propaganda-propaganda out that many believe it Will be the end of the world . Sunday paper full of stories about Anxious children. Also pictures of kids crying at the demonstrations so I reckon what is happe i g is close to child abuse. I grew up during WW11 when wE had treNches gas masks identity discs air RAID training and I cannot rem ember ancious kids back then.

  6. Bunyip Bill

    Good article, It backs up what I read this week about Tecnocracy and their marksist agenda. This climate cause is all part of reintroducing the popularity of Tecnocracy, which stalled in the nineteen thirties as a result of the depression which their actions were part of it’s cause.

  7. Mark M

    2014, and …
    [Global Warming] Is Already Here Says Massive Government Report

    “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” the report says in its introduction.”

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2014/05/06/national-climate-assessment_n_5270541.html

    The cost of in-action … I see what you did there, Bill.

  8. RobK

    ….is completely misguided until there is mass storage in the indefinite future.
    As soon as storage becomes anywhere near economic, it will make baseload power much more efficient before it is the panacea for RE, simply because cycle times and supply and demand are predictable with baseload and not with RE. RE will have some applications at the fringe of the grid to reduce local demand, and for stand alone sites which have high fuel costs.

  9. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that we are on the Renewables Titanic, heading towards the inevitable iceberg and nothing will stop the collision. It will then be a matter of manning the lifeboats while the Titanic sinks.

  10. a happy little debunker

    I could possibly accept Bill Shorten claiming that there is a cost of inaction on climate change and therefore he won’t (or can’t) detail how much it will cost us for his planned action on climate change.

    But – he can’t (or won’t) detail the cost of that inaction – outside of some vague allusion to Big Macs.

    The Shorten response is P for propaganda and an excuse to deflect any and all questions of costs.

    Weasel words that never so aptly describing the utterer.

  11. Dr Fred Lenin

    To think the once proud representatives of the working Australian labor party is reduced to a bunch of fifth rate uni graduates with tiny yartz degrees , ambulance chasers and suburban convetencing lawyers ,nit one genuine worker amongst them ,the shearers of the past wouldnt spit on them . Saw krudd giliard and kesting at the launch ,three taxpayer made millionaires ,$600 grands worth of pensions between them plus the millions they purloined ,bloody disgusting . Politics in the western world is finished when scum like these run countries abolish career pliticians ,sortition is the new black .

  12. Tel

    As soon as storage becomes anywhere near economic, it will make baseload power much more efficient before it is the panacea for RE, simply because cycle times and supply and demand are predictable with baseload and not with RE.

    You are bravely presuming that baseload power is not driven into bankruptcy by legislation.

  13. Ian of Brisbane

    No one is as dedicated to the destruction of our environment and the people as the Greens and their fellow travellers.

  14. Squirrel

    Its clear from David Speer’s interview of Jim Chalmers this morning that Labor’s line (as of today, anyway) is that there will be no “cost” to the economy from their current climate policies.

    Unless, between now and election day, we get some definition about how costs and benefits will be measured, and over what period, the vagueness of Labor’s position certainly means an LNP Opposition would be duty-bound to oppose in the Parliament any measures put forward by Labor which involve costs without strong evidence of at least offsetting benefits.

    Any argument from a Labor government that its climate policies should be waved through the Senate because they have a “mandate” would deserve as much respect as every other Opposition has given every other newly elected Government for as long as I can remember.

  15. egg_

    I’ve resigned myself to the fact that we are on the Renewables Titanic

    Teh Ruinables Gaiatanic.

  16. egg_

    I’ve resigned myself to the fact that we are on the Renewables Titanic

    Our Tits are caught in the wringer.

  17. Linden

    If you suggest to children that they read some history you are regarded as a complete dinosaur; ie ‘you don’t understand you never had the internet when you were going up’. go figure

  18. RobK

    You are bravely presuming that baseload power is not driven into bankruptcy by legislation.
    There is that, but increasing RE share will be faced with ramped up costs at some rate greater than linear. When the bleeding obvious can no longer be ignored is the question.

  19. mem

    RobK
    #3005169, posted on May 5, 2019 at 7:33 pm
    There is that, but increasing RE share will be faced with ramped up costs at some rate greater than linear. When the bleeding obvious can no longer be ignored is the question.
    Ah but Germany now thinks that Switzerland will provide answers to its fluctuating grid. I’m reminded of the man that kept buying buckets to deal with the leaks in his roof and then one day discovered that he only had buckets and no roof. https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/germany-says-switzerlands-mountains-could-help-stabilise-eu-power-supply

  20. 132andBush

    No one is as dedicated to the destruction of our environment and the people as the Greens and their fellow travellers.

    +1

    Using the premise that “Humans are a virus on the planet”, one can see how Green’s policies and those of their fellow travelers start to make sense.

  21. 132andBush

    Great comment Entropy, discussing adaptation. Evolution more properly has been observed over only a few years, yes (20 or so in complex organisms)?

    First we tried to discuss the science but that’s been corrupted/railroaded.

    Secondly we will try to discuss adaptation and the same will happen.

    If you think I’m wrong, imagine talking adaptation to that wailing, inconsolable girl in ten years time after she’s been through her full course of education system indoctrination.

  22. Macspee

    Rafe, you forget that we know today everything that will ever be needed to know. Our descendants will be profoundly ignorant and unable to do anything as all science and technology will be beyond their ability and ken. Imagine nuclear waste buried deep in the earth’s mantle and not found for 1000 years – the finders will all die because they don’t know what they have found (forget thst they managed, somehow, to find it). The dark ages are coming thanks to the ignorance (wilful) of green people and their co-conspiritors.

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