Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Agreeing that China and India won't agree to carbon cuts, Bjorn Lomborg has a better idea:
Kyoto’s successor will not be successful unless China and India are somehow included. To achieve that, the EU has made the inevitable, almost ridiculous proposal of bribing developing nations to take part -- at a cost of 175 billion euros (US$225.7 billion) annually by 2020.

In the midst of a financial crisis, it seems unbelievable that European citizens will bear the financial burden of paying off China and India. The sadder thing, though, is that this money would be spent on methane collection from waste dumps in developing nations, instead of on helping those countries’ citizens deal with more pressing concerns like health and education.

There is an alternative to spending so much to achieve so little. Cutting carbon still costs a lot more than the good that it produces. We need to make emission cuts much cheaper so that countries like China and India can afford to help the environment. This means that we need to invest much more in research and development aimed at developing low-carbon energy.

If every country committed to spending 0.05 percent of its GDP exploring non-carbon-emitting energy technologies, this would translate into US$25 billion per year, or 10 times more than what the world spends now. Yet, the total also would be seven times cheaper than the Kyoto Protocol, and many times cheaper than the Copenhagen Protocol is likely to be. It would ensure that richer nations pay more, taking much of the political heat from the debate.

Decades of talks have failed to make any impact on carbon emissions. Expecting China and India to make massive emission cuts for little benefit puts the Copenhagen meeting on a sure path to being another lost opportunity. Yet, at the same time, the Chinese and Indian challenge could be the impetus we need to change direction, end our obsession with reducing emissions and focus instead on research and development, which would be smarter and cheaper -- and would actually make a difference.


OBloodyHell said...

This is just flat out stupid.

This whole problem would disappear (assuming it's a problem at all, which I doubt -- but assuming...) entirely if we produced a standardized nuclear reactor design pattern and licensed it reasonably cheaply to China and India.

Design it correctly and there won't be any REASON to be using coal.

Coal is (admittedly) filthy -- it produces smog, soot, a HUGE amount of toxic sludge if you use scrubbers, and does whatever it actually does to contribute to so-called "Global Warming".

Nukes can be made small, compact, VERY safe, and the waste products for a single *huge* multi-gigawatt powerplant created in a year could fit under your dining room table.

It's just flat-out stupid.

The solution is there, even IF we agree that AGW is a problem.

Someone just shoot all the damned 80yo antinuke hippies in the back of the head, so we can get on with building a future.

Euthanasia has its possibilities.

Carl said...

Agreed as to nuclear. Still, Lomborg isn't stupid, and a lot of smart people favor pump-priming.

OBloodyHell said...

> and a lot of smart people favor pump-priming.

And I will note here that "smart" and "wise" aren't even vaguely connected qualities of the human brain.

Many not-so-smart people are quite wise, and the college professorship rolls are filled with people who are smart but not wise.

What we need is more wisdom, not more smarts.

OBloodyHell said...

P.S. The problem is, this is a problem in economics, not environment, yet Mr. Lomborg is weighing in on it in a manner suggesting his lack of understanding of how economics already attacks and solves this problem, and doing so in a way which reveals his underlying still-liberal prejudices for how to solve problems.

Smart he may be. Wise enough to know the limits of his understanding he is not.