The costs and benefits of a "clean" economy
The article excerpted below parades as a sober statistical analysis but is in fact just a religious tract. It totals up all the costs of all the adverse events that are said to be due to global warming and accepts that cost figure without criticism or reservation. It thus shows that global warming would be very costly.
But that is all dependant on the global warming theory being right. If none of the costly events are due to increased atmospheric CO2 then reducing CO2 will not reduce the costly events listed and the whole analysis collapses. The whole screed is simply a confession of faith in the magic power of CO2
It is no more informative than:
I believe in God, the father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
Business leaders, politicians and policymakers have spent years asking if we were to cut emissions, how much would it cost in lost income or Gross National Product (GDP) in Australia? How much worse off would we be?
If countries around the globe also cut emissions how badly would Australia’s exports of coal and natural gas suffer?
While once framed purely as an environmental issue, the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia Guy Debelle noted earlier this year that the risks that climate change poses to the Australian economy are “ first order” and have knock-on implications for macroeconomic policy.
So using recent work by Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI) at the University of Melbourne, we have compared the cost of damages from climate change, with the cost of reducing emissions from the recent Climate Council Report for economic damages under current or continued increases in emissions.
We know that climate change can have potentially disastrous effects, and the list is long; pollution, heat stress and its impact on human health, falls in agricultural productivity and permanent losses in biodiversity.
[Climate change could indeed have such effects but will it? And would a reduction in atmospheric CO2 have any effect on it? We do not "know" any of that. We cannot make such assumptions. They are prophecies, not facts]
As well as damage to environmental assets such as the Great Barrier Reef, sea level rise and resulting infrastructure damage, the increased likelihood of floods and bushfires, possible increased frequency and severity of tropical storms, and severe migration pressure from countries most affected by climate change are only part of the list.
But the relative costs of emissions reduction to avoid these damages, can be hard to measure in dollar terms, given our complex and uncertain future.
As a first step, we use a large dimensional global trade and climate model, an extension of other recent work, to determine the cost of meeting Australia’s minimum target of a 26 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030, compared to 2005.
We also assume that all other countries do reduce their emissions by more than double the current unconditional ‘Nationally Determined Contribution’ in the Paris Accord, or a 12 per cent reduction in emissions on average.
There are two major cost effects for Australia here; the cost of transition from fossil fuels to renewables, resulting in relative and variable price changes for energy, across all sectors, and the effect of falls in net exports of fossil fuels on national income.
For the 26 per cent target, we find only negligible effects on national income.
The total cost is only $A35.5 billion in the cumulative fall in GDP from now until 2030 in Australia – a measure much lower than previous other estimates, which range from more than $A82 billion to nearly $A300 billion, using the exact same target.