July 1, 2008

Inventing a way out

Bjorn Lomborg has an article in the Star Tribune on how best to fight global warming

The Copenhagen Consensus project, which gathered eight of the world's top economists -- including five Nobel laureates -- to examine research on the best ways to tackle 10 global challenges: air pollution, conflict, disease, global warming, hunger and malnutrition, lack of education, gender inequity, lack of water and sanitation, terrorism, and trade barriers.

These experts looked at the costs and benefits of different responses to each challenge. Their goal was to create a prioritized list showing how money could best be spent combating these problems.

The panel concluded that the least effective use of resources in slowing global warming would come from simply cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

Research for the project was done by a lead author of the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- the group that shared last year's Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore -- who noted that spending $800 billion over 100 years solely on mitigating emissions would reduce inevitable temperature increases by just 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century.
Even if every nation spent 0.05 percent of its gross domestic product on research and development of low-carbon energy, this would be only about one-tenth as costly as the Kyoto Protocol and would save dramatically more than any of Kyoto's likely successors.

This is one of the reasons I seldom subscribe to science magazines anymore, instead of looking to invent a way out of Global Warming, they all write about ways to curb our economy and personal carbon footprints while ignoring the same for their publication... I mean, how much more carbon does Scientific American release from the creation of their magazine than do I with my little life.  How much more carbon does Al Gore release with his jetsetting and mansion than I do with my 10-miles-to-work-every-day Safari.  As Lomborg notes, the politicians jump on the chance to limit carbon output because it puts them right in the middle, controlling who can do what, selling the right to be in business and taxing everyone for living.

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