De door groen en links aangewakkerde klimaathysterie belemmert een rationele analyse.
Onder de titel, ‘Hot Stuff, Cold Logic’, publiceerde de website van de ‘The American Interest’ een uitstekend essay van Richard Tol, waarin hij klimaatverandering en –beleid analyseerde vanuit economisch perspectief.
Ik pik er een aantal krenten uit.
Politically correct climate change orthodoxy has completely destroyed our ability to think rationally about the environment.
Climate change is sometimes called humanity’s biggest problem. Ban Ki-moon, Christine Lagarde, and John Kerry have all said as much recently. The mainstream Western media often discuss climate change in catastrophic, or even apocalyptic, terms. Indeed, if you take newspaper headlines seriously, the Fifth Assessment Report of Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change came accompanied by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; predictions of famine, pestilence, war, and death proliferated hither and yon. Conversely, when, on November 11, 2014, the United States and China inked an agreement on climate whose actual consequences are at best liable to be indistinct, banner headlines broke out, as though messianic times were nigh.
Assuming it falls somewhat short of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, how serious will the impact of climate change be really? How much do we know about these impacts? What are the implications for policy? …
Tol stelt dat klimaatverandering van alles kan betekenen en allerlei effecten kan hebben, maar dat betekent niet noodzakelijkerwijs een verslechtering van de situatie.
For some, the mere fact of these impacts is reason enough for governments, businesses, and individuals to exert themselves to reduce greenhouse gases to minimize the change. That is strange logic, however. Change, after all, can be for the better or the worse, and at any rate it is inevitable; there has never been a lengthy period of climate stasis.
Just as there is no logical or scientific basis for thinking that climate change is new, there is no self-evident reason to assume that the climate of the past is “better” than the climate of the future. …
Others argue that the impacts of climate change are largely unknown but may be catastrophic. The precautionary principle thus enjoins that we should work hard, if not do our utmost, to avoid even the slim possibility of catastrophe. This logic works fine for one-sided risks: We ban carcinogenic material in toys because we do not want our kids to get cancer. Safe materials are only slightly more expensive, and there is no likely or even imaginable “upside” to children having cancer. Climate policy, on the other hand, is about balancing risks, and there are risks to climate policies as well as risks caused by climate change. …
What this means is that, instead of assuming the worst, we should study the impacts of climate change and seek to balance them against the negative effects of climate policy. This is what climatologists and economists actually have done for years, but their efforts have been overshadowed by the hysteria of the Greens and the Left, and the more subtle lobbying of companies yearning for renewables subsidies and other government hand-outs. It is especially important to maintain an objective attitude toward the tradeoff between possible dangers and the costs of policy, because estimating the impacts of climate change has proven to be remarkably hard.
Vervolgens geeft Tol een aantal voorbeelden van onderzoek naar (de kosten) van deze effecten, vaak onder de veronderstelling van ceteris paribus (als de overige omstandigheden gelijk blijven). Lees verder op pagina twee.