Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Cost Benefit Argument for Decarbonisation of the economy

Cost Benefit Argument

This can be seen as a case of the Precautionary Principle.

In the end, this is not an academic debate, because we and our children are part of the experiment. The consensus among scientists (with a few exceptions, as is always the case in science) is that we should decarbonise our economy as a matter of urgency.

Academics can debate ad infinitum, but politicians now have to make a choice.
Every choice involves a degree of uncertainty.

Say we decarbonise our economy, and it turns out (unlikely as that may be) that IPCC view is wrong?

  • Well, we will have created hundreds of thousands of jobs in insulation and renewable energy manufacturing 
  • taken thousands out of fuel poverty. 
  • We will also have reduced the shock of Peak Oil and Peak Gas, and 
  • reduced the acidification of the oceans. 
  • And addressed our energy security problems. 
  • And increased prosperity in hot countries.

    Not bad, not bad at all.

Say on the other hand, we go the way of the "skeptics", and it turns out, as per all reasonable expectations, that they are wrong?

We will have problems with energy security, Peak Oil, Peak Gas, acidified oceans, acid rain, fuel poverty, unemployment, poverty, civil unrest and finally, massive, catastrophic climate disruption from droughts, floods, crop failures, disease, and war. With massive migration caused by environmental collapse. Not good.

Any sensible decision maker will put our money into decarbonising the global economy.

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