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More on the "Stern Review":

The Stern Review is not getting favorable reviews from environmental economists. A sample:

  • John Whitehead of the Environmental Economics blog analyzes the report here, here, and here;

  • Prometheus has posted commentary by Richard Tol here; and

  • Roger Pielke Jr. notes the report cherry-picks data on hurricanes here.

Chumund:
A quick look suggests one of the key issues involves what, if any, discounting we should apply to the welfare of future generations. Also, if everything is in terms of GDP%, then arguably the correct discount rate has already been applied.
11.2.2006 3:07pm
Frederick Hamilton (mail):
The welfare of future generations as it applies to global warming is like the welfare of the health of future generations from horse fly bites. Not much of an impact. A significant elimination of greenhouse carbon gases could be achieved by doing as the French. 90% of all electricity is generated by nuclear power plants. Zero carbon emissions from them. Then simply power most manufacturing with electric power and the same with nationwide HVAC. Tweak the automobiles to the point of hybrids and fuel efficiency and voila, virtually no impact of fossil fuels from the U.S.

But alas, the enviornmental wackos don't like anything nuclear. The think the symbol for nuclear is akin to a cross to a vampire.

Also, in the name of enviornmental calamity the left wing pursues their anti-market and anti-capitalist agenda. That is enough to make the rest of us realize it is all a game and a sham.

Toss in the fact that scientists can't decide whether we are headed into an ice age or a warming age and then toss in the fact that scientists predict that even if man does all it can do to eliminate carbon based living, that the temperature decrease from such an undertaking would only amount to a .1 to .2 decrease in temperature, a sane rational person says "balderdash". That is where we are.

Although, since most carbin based emisions come from NYC, LA, Chicago, Detroit, Philly, areas, how about we make the changes in carbon use in those areas first. It might be a good way to change them from blue to red. What dya think?
11.2.2006 4:31pm
frankcross (mail):
As a simple matter of fact, I believe the highest per capital emissions of CO2 come from Texas.

But I believe this discussion advances the debate. Rather than debating the reality of global warming, we need to start thinking about what can be wisely done about it.
11.2.2006 4:37pm
Joe7 (mail):
This report is pure fantasy. Economists can't project the state of the economy six months into the future, but somehow they have it figured out twenty or thirty years into the future!

I challenge these folks to do what I challenge the weather modelers to do; take the state of things in, say, 1950 and project what things will be like in the year 2000. We'll then look at how good they did. We all know they'll not just do lousy, their conclusions will be laughable (one reason we know this is that economists and scientists DID project what things would be like in the year 2000 and we laugh at their projections now.)
11.2.2006 6:22pm
Eric Crampton (mail):
I wonder about the discounting. I've had only a very quick look at the report, but I can't figure out what discount rate they actually wind up applying. There's extensive discussion of appropriate discounting for non-marginal changes across different generations, but it's hard to tell what this cashes out as in terms of a percentage.

More to the point, a one percentage point reduction in growth every year for the next hundred years is strictly worse than a 20% drop in GDP 100 years from now. One hundred years from now, 4% growth results in GDP 48X current levels while 3% growth results in GDP 18X current levels. Give me the 20% hit in a century, thank you very much.
11.2.2006 6:35pm
tw27 (mail):
Frederick Hamilton wrote:

"A significant elimination of greenhouse carbon gases could be achieved by doing as the French. 90% of all electricity is generated by nuclear power plants."

Long-term and more widespread use of nuclear power may well be seriously limited by the supply of uranium, as there are open questions regarding the supply of both mined and recycled sources of material. While discussion of "peak uranium" may still be premature, controversial, and complicated by several factors (among them the intensive use of energy generated by non-nuclear fuels in the production of uranium, with a connection between peak oil and peak uranium entirely plausible), the peak uranium scenario strongly suggests that the capacity for wider use of nuclear energy is limited. This is above and beyond the still-unanswered issues of reactor safety and decommissioning, waste storage, and recycling.
11.2.2006 7:58pm
James Lindgren (mail):
Tyler Cowan has a brilliant paper on the web arguing that it is not obvious whether there should be any discount rate applied in environmental matters.
11.2.2006 9:12pm
Jerome C. Austriaco (mail) (www):
frankcross wrote:

"But I believe this discussion advances the debate. Rather than debating the reality of global warming, we need to start thinking about what can be wisely done about it."

No, we don't! If mankind truly does not significantly affect global climate, then "thinking about what can be wisely done about it" is nothing more than a mere exercise in futility. It only advances the debate for the purposes of one camp's agenda.
11.3.2006 8:51am