Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Shredding The Stern Review

"Given that one global-warming strengthened typhoon after another is wrecking people’s lives and harming Taiwan’s economy, most likely every US$1 spent on reducing carbon emissions now will actually be US$10 saved in the future (see Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change)."
The pseudonymous "Flora Faun" in her most recent published letter in the Taipei Times - note her reference to the UK government's Stern Review. Now here is Orlowski at the Reg, quoting economist Richard Tol in his forward to the Global Warming Policy Foundation's recently published analysis of the Stern Review:
 It really was that bad apparently.

The rub was twofold: first, Stern assumed an improbably low, non-market rate to estimate the costs of mitigation policy, and second, he projected losses (i.e. the presumed costs from the absence of such mitigation) to infinity - as if market adaptation to slightly higher temperatures was impossible. Orlowski provides an example:
"Stern cited a study in which yields of a particular a strain of peanut vulnerable to higher temperatures fell by 70 per cent. He omitted the rest of the study, showing that alternative peanut strains would give farmers increased yields if temperatures increased."
In addition to this type of Luddite idiocy of course, the recommendations of the Stern Review centred upon reductions of carbon dioxide emissions - the real costs of which, in the form of being prohibited from investing in cheap fossil fuels, would be borne by people in poorer countries who would have to make do with using the money their governments received from carbon credits to purchase solar photovoltaic panels. As if that wasn't an open invitation to corruption in the first place.

I can remember running the stake through all these environmentalist arguments almost a decade ago, and yet the green vampires is still hanging around like a bad smell - presumably because academia is one of the places best sealed off from the fresh air of criticism and non-leftist views. In that connection, I remind readers that Flora is (or was in June 2011), according to one of her own letters, an economics student at National Taiwan University - supposedly the top university in Taiwan.

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