Nope – I can’t change your mind on climate
I’m sure I did not change her mind, but I hope she saw that not all sceptics are mad, bad and dangerous; that there remains a lively scientific debate about the drivers of climate change; and that scaremongering about global warming is backfiring on the warmists.
He goes on to say that of Lomborg’s cornucopian solution:
Lomborg instead advocates significant global investment in green energy research and development in order to make green energy so cheap that everyone will want it.
Now, that I can support. If there is to be any common ground between sceptics and warmists, this surely must be it. Let’s work to make green energy a realistic, affordable alternative, instead of stupidly trying to make conventional energy so incredibly expensive that we will stop using it.
This clearly shows he discounts future damages to the point that current alternative energy sources should be cheaper than a mature technology that has larger subsidies than the alternatives and huge amounts of waste in the form of heat loss and other inefficiencies. It is very likely that the $23 per tonne of CO2 starting price for the Australian policy is less than the net present value of future damages at a 4%-5% social discount rate. This is the same as paying as deposit on a drink container, or rates for landfill space for expected waste, or any number of levies that have an identified social and/or environmental benefit that make future management less costly.
That is, he maintains that in addition to the science being wrong, that economics can discount future damages to the point where only current energy prices matter.
One of my points is that the science policy-nexus can be tested: from a comment on the previous post: here’s how.
A lot of the statements that were made unchallenged last night can be tested. In 2005 we built a simple integrated model and ran it at a climate change conference when we asked people what damage they would wear and what they thought was a tolerable level of warming and stabilisation target. We then tested everyone’s priors in the break (about 250 people) and showed whether their risk tolerance was met or exceeded. We than asked everyone whether they wanted to change their policy targets. Pretty much all came down. When you make the numbers explicit people’s prior assumptions are tested and often busted.
It would be possible to build a model that does specific policy and energy numbers for the globe including China, India, US and Australia and test that on temperature rises timing and major impacts. We have all the raw materials at VU and could put it together in about 6 months with specific funding. We have plans to do it anyway, but that plan a bit slower in its timing at the moment. One could then take all of these different assertions that were made last night and test them pretty much on the fly. That is, you could take someone’s general points on how fast the technology transitions and fossil fuel reductions are, put it through a simple climate model and compare that against impact response functions to say this is what that policy is likely to produce. It’s doable.