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Skepticism Toward the Skeptical Environmentalist

August 31st, 2002

Brad DeLong expresses qualified Skepticism Toward the Skeptical Environmentalist I think there’s a much more fundamental problem in Lomborg’s argument about global warming, as I argue here
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cites a range of model estimates of the costs of implementing Kyoto using market mechanisms. They show that, with a global system of emission rights trading, the cost of implementing Kyoto would range from 0.1 per cent to 0.2 per cent of GDP.

Lomborg [who relies on much higher estimates for non-trading approaches] dismisses global emissions trading as politically infeasible because it would involve the redistribution of billions of dollars to developing countries (page 305 in his book). But then he turns around (page 318) and attacks alternative ways of implementing Kyoto by suggesting that the billions required could be better spent – by redistributing them to developing countries.

To put the cost estimates in context, 0.1 per cent of Australian GDP is about $600 million per year. The economic benefits generated by the Great Barrier Reef alone are more than this, but, like reefs around the world, it is already being affected by bleaching arising from rising water temperatures.

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