FT on climate policy

McDermott, Verde, Laing and Mejean take on Lomborg in the Financial Times.

As I have argued before, Lomborg plays a useful role in cooling down the overly ambitious climate policies promoted by European leaders — but he also tends to get his details wrong.

25 replies on “FT on climate policy”

but he also tends to get his details wrong.

But he can “afford to be more accurate” now, as you’ve claimed in the past, eh?

So he’s consistently wrong on the facts (to put it mildly), but you nonetheless collaborate with him on an ongoing basis. Is this normal best practice at the ESRI?

“he also tends to get his details wrong.”

But as long as he gets the publicity, what does he care ? It’s not like he’s going to be around when the last of the Himalayan glaciers melts.

Lomborg does usually get one big, fat detail wrong. He accepts the IPCC temperature rise predictions. I presume he does this to show how foolish the warmist consensus is, even if it is right about AGW (which I doubt). It makes no sense to do anything at all about AGW. The market will eventually sort out alternative energy as we pass peak oil. We should rely on coal in the medium term.

The book to read is:

The Lomborg Deception: Setting the Record Straight About Global Warming


That said, I think he’s worth reading if only because he exposes the idiocies of some of the outer fringe of the climate change community. His charge that money spent on postponing the onset of global warming by a couple of years is money down the drain is irrefutable.

The authors say rejecting a coherent climate is wrong but don’t offer an alternative. Is this because the alternative is ultra complex and requires lots of govt intervention?

Is there not a consensus among the economists that a plain carbon tax is the solution?

Lomborg’s proposal, I think it’s a $100bn fund per year is, in other language a huge amount of pork to be doled out. That brings it’s own problems aswell. Personally, as a non economist, I like McKittrick’s proposal of a tax related to the tropical tropospheric temperature (T3). The clearest sign of the greenhouse effect is an increase in this temperature so link the tax to it.


@ Neil

No, no solution. An effective global carbon tax is politically out of the question, pure fantasy.

We’re just going to burn the ancient sunshine until there’s so little left that it will no longer be economical to extract it from the earth’s crust.

“We have been reasoning as if the world had an infinite stock of hydrocarbons, which may perhaps have justified trying to limit our emissions by leaving a stable part underground forever. As that is not the case and reserves are limited and will in any case be fully exploited, our efforts no longer make sense. At best, they would put off some emissions for a few months or a few years, which would not have any sizable effect in terms of CO2 concentration, in view of the fact that there is such a considerable stock in the atmosphere (close to 3000 billion tonnes vs. a monthly increase in the range of one billion).”
Of course it is right to make savings to reduce our expenditure and not waste global resources; and it is right to prepare for a post oil world in the second part of this century. But to imagine that the CO2 that may be saved in the process would contribute to ‘saving the planet’ is science fiction, as it will be emitted by somebody else, in China or elsewhere. Squandering taxpayers’ or consumers’ money on the basis of this illusion is unjustified.

From: Climate – the Great Delusion, 2010, by Christian Gerondeau (pages 54-55)

@ RTol

It is indeed my policy to work with a wide range of people

So it seems. Any update yet on exactly what areas you disagree with your denialist cohort in the GWPF, as you once informed us was the case?

@ Ulick

He accepts the IPCC temperature rise predictions.

Are you an actual climate scientist? Because their predictions are looking, if anything, quite conservative (as regards the IPCC figures).

Thought not.

Lomborg’s proposal, I think it’s a $100bn fund per year is, in other language a huge amount of pork to be doled out. That brings it’s own problems aswell.

Indeed. One might almost suspect that Lomberg is setting up the next pawn in a rearguard action (for comparison, see what has become of Obama’s adoption of Mitch Romney’s conservative health-care regime in Massachusetts).

I didn’t go around the paywall so I can only assume from the blog that this was a critique of Lomborg in the FT, but you’d never know it from many of the comments above. The continuous ad hominem hounding really does its perpetrators no credit. Please stop making Tol and his views on Global Warming the focus of every discussion on every blog he posts.

@ Oliver Vandt

Please stop making Tol and his views on Global Warming the focus of every discussion on every blog he posts.

Tol and his views on Global Warming clearly inform and drive every sly post he makes giving the oxygen of publicity to anti-AGW cranks and shills for vested big industry groups. How is this not relevant to comments?

Carolus Galviensis Says:

“No, no solution. An effective global carbon tax is politically out of the question, pure fantasy. ”

I don’t buy that, a Chathail . The global financial crisis resulting from minimal regulation and overpaid idiots misallocating capital has cost around 10% of GDP and people are paying !

@ seafoid

We’re facing the ‘tragedy of the climate commons’, to adapt the title of Garrett Hardin’s seminal essay of 1968. Internalising climate externalities at world-wide level is an unachievable goal. The only alternative is mitigation (chiefly at national or regional level) of the undesirable or catastrophic effects of the inevitable.

An interestingly fresh perspective on climate change here:

Global collapse – fact or fiction?



Alas, poor EWI, the Rumpelstiltsken of the Internet, but with the reverse capacity to turn the gold of genuine discussion of any subject into the the straw of pent-up misdirected rage, foot-stamping, and shrieks of attention-seeking ‘Look at me, Me, ME’, which is what his persistent ad hominem attacks are all about. Very sad really, but quite incorrigible. Best to ignore him.

I’ve argued for 20 years that greenhouse gas emissions should be taxed, and that carbon dioxide emissions should eventually be reduced to something close to zero.

@ Richard Tol

… that carbon dioxide emissions should eventually be reduced to something close to zero.

No problem there. Just wait until energy returned on energy invested drops to a ratio of 1:1. Eventually, that is.


When oil and other carbon fuels will become uncompetitive is unclear because there may be new discoveries and the development of new technologies. For example, today we can only drill so far down into the Earth’s crust but a new way may be developed that enables us to go deeper allowing for lots more oil to be extracted economically. This has been, essentially, the way oil has developed over the decades.

I agree that CO2 tax needs to be as far as possible, global and this is hard to secure but it would seem to be the least worst option. In Ireland’s case anyway we have plenty of room for improvement. I think Prof Tol remarked recently regarding the Dec budget that there was now quadrouple regulation of greenhouse gases.

A whole three pages dedicated to the wonderful job the ESRI has been doing in economic forecasting generally and environmental advice specifically in the current edition of Village magazine (and nice big pictures) and nary a word about it from the relentless self-publicist himself…

…..what’s up, Richard, cat got your tongue?

On today’s FT, Lomborg replies to the letter which is the object of this post. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/33c531d4-0e25-11e0-86e9-00144feabdc0.html#axzz18xMwg1mZ

Lomborg’s bottom line is “we should focus on innovating down the cost of future green technologies, which will result in large future cuts.”

One major flaw of this approach is obvious: it does not incentivize energy efficiency, which in fact is the cheapest “technology” for cutting emissions.

Moreover, questions such as the following should be addressed:

1) Can we expect that green technologies – such as CCS and hydrogen – will ever become cheaper than coal thanks to technological progress only? Rather, couldn’t their costs be abated through CO2 taxation and then economies of scale?

2) If instead such most cheap technologies Lomborg “has in mind” do not exist yet, how can we rely on their future advent, just hoping that massive investments in R&D will deliver them at some point?

@ John Gibbons (and others)
I know you are a respected columnist of the Irish Times, so I’m sure you understand my call for a more constructive way of participating to this blog. This would go to the benefit of all readers. Please just put aside the resentment you show against Richard Tol due to your different views.

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