Yet another weird SF fan


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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Global Climate Change: The Real Controversies

Science Daily has published an article about Dr. Peter Tsigaris, an economist who has identified the real global-warming controversy. He has analyzed it in terms of the supposed cost of error on both sides.

“It is obvious that a type II error, being unaware that global warming is caused by humans and maintaining our current living styles, is much more serious than a type I error which argues that humans are the cause when they are not, in terms of the costs,” he says.

When somebody with a PhD says something in his alleged field is obvious, it means he has no actual evidence. If he had evidence he would cite it.

“The cost of changing behaviour and taking action now is estimated at one percent of global GDP and this can be seen as an investment from a long-term perspective: investing in cleaner technologies and also putting a price tag on the use of our atmosphere. If we delay as we would do if we accepted that climate change is not human-caused when this conclusion was false, we would be faced with a huge cost,” warns Tsigaris.

First, guesses of the costs of government programs are almost always underestimates. Second, there is a strong possibility that “one percent” means a one percentage point decrease in annual economic growth. Third, we have already invested in “cleaner technologies.” That produced nuclear power, a technology likely to be shut down by the most probable regulators.

The recent 2007 IPCC report concluded that global warming was very likely (90 per cent) to have been caused by humans. The Stern Review states that “the benefits of strong and early action far outweigh the economic costs of not acting” and estimates that “if we don’t act, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5 per cent  of global GDP each year, now and forever. If a wider range of risks and impacts is taken into account, the estimates of damage could rise to 20 per cent of GDP or more. In contrast, the costs of action – reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change – can be limited to around  1 per cent of global GDP each year.

There you have it. The real controversies are: 1) Do you believe our options for handling allegedly-dangerous global warming are likely to improve in the absence of regulation? 2) Do you believe government programs stay limited?

Addendum: I forgot to put in the link. The problem is now fixed.

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