I’ve been meaning to write a comprehensive piece on “Climate Change” for quite awhile, and while this post will certainly not be that comprehensive piece I had envisioned, it will briefly touch on an extremely important part and that is this: Even if we believe in what is known as Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), it won’t be stopped by attempted reductions in CO2 emissions.
In his new book Climate Change, Climate Science and Economics: Prospects for an Alternative Energy Future, Dr. Cornelis van Kooten, Professor of Economics and Research Chair in Environmental Studies and Climate, University of Victoria, BC, Canada writes this:
A significant number of economists and policy analysts predicted that the Kyoto Process would fail, because it hopes to achieve greenhouse gas emission-reduction objectives that cannot possibly be attained. The problem is that 80% of the world’s peoples live on $10 per day or less, and 1.5 billion people currently have no access to electricity (Pielke 2010) – climate policies that prevent economic development will certainly be objectionable to them. Further, non‐OECD countries are projected by the OECD and International Energy Agency to account for 93% of the increase in global demand between 2007 and 2030, and this will be driven largely by economic growth in China and India. Growth in emissions resulting from the increased consumption of coal by China, India and other Asian countries, let alone growth in consumption of oil and gas, will exceed any possible reduction in emissions that OECD countries could implement. The only conclusions that a realistic observer could possibly come to are that (1) energy prices are currently too high as too many of the earth’s citizens are unable to afford to purchase the energy they need to attain even modest standards of living, and (2) addressing climate change by targeting CO2 emissions is a futile project.
This conclusion makes much of the current debate moot. It asserts that the economically harmful policy initiatives that are currently being adopted throughout much of the Western World are pointless. Perhaps we can quit arguing about hockey stick graphs and polar bears and start looking at alternative policies. Perhaps we can get past some idiotic politician suggesting that Republican skeptics of AGW are to blame for the devastation caused by the recent EF5 tornado in Moore, OK. Most importantly, perhaps we can look at adapting to changes in climate (assuming they are real and long term) rather than slowly crushing ourselves under the weight of a fruitless enterprise.
My thanks to Dr. E. Calvin Beisner for alerting us to this new work by Dr. van Kooten