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
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.