The Economist had – until now – taken a hard-line, extremist stance about "global warming". Last week, for the first time, it conceded that the scientific literature is divided on how much warming doubling CO2 will cause.
In Oxford Dr. Myles Allen, who had once predicted 5 Celsius degrees’ warming by 2100, now predicts less than 2 Cº.
The economics as well as the science has collapsed.
In Geneva, the World Federation of Scientists is about to publish a paper by me entitled
Even if the UN were right to predict 3 Cº warming from 2000-2100, even if Lord Stern were right to say the cost of failing to prevent it was 1.5% of GDP, the cost of abating this decade’s predicted 0.14 Cº CO2-driven warming by methods like Australia’s carbon tax will be 45 times the cost of inaction.
How so? Australia emits just 1.2% of global CO2, of which the carbon tax will abate at most 5% in a decade, cutting global emissions by just 0.06%.
So the CO2 tax will cut worldwide CO2 concentration from a predicted business-as-usual 410 μatm to – well – 409.988 μatm. Not a lot.
In turn, global surface temperature will fall by a mere 0.00005 Cº – just 1/1000 of the minimum detectable global temperature change.
Even if carbon taxes happened worldwide, and even if they succeeded, there would be no way to measure that they had worked.
Worse, the cost of Australia’s CO2 tax alone will be $162 billion over ten years, equivalent to $3.2 quadrillion per Cº of warming abated.
Abating the 0.14 Cº CO2-driven warming predicted for this decade via CO2 mitigation measures equivalent to Australia’s would cost $450 trillion, or $65,000 for every man, woman and child worldwide.
That is two-thirds of global GDP over ten years.
If the UN’s models are over-predicting as grossly as the past couple of decades’ absence of warming suggests, acting on CO2 today could be 100 times costlier than adapting to warmer weather the day after tomorrow.
CO2 mitigation measures inexpensive enough to be affordable will be ineffective. Measures expensive enough to be effective will be unaffordable.
Since the premium is 50-100 times the cost of the risk, don’t take out insurance. That is a precautionary principle worthy of the name.
Australia’s CO2 tax is five times the collapsing European rate. It is 20 times the notional Chinese rate. Most of Australia’s competitors do not have CO2 taxes at all. Few will adopt them now.
The tax is pointlessly crippling industries and households throughout Australia with unprecedented increases in fuel and power costs.
It is bankrupting the Federal Treasury, which had a $70 billion surplus growing at $20 bn/year before Rudd and now has a $300 billion deficit growing at $40 bn/yr.
It is bankrupting Victoria. Farms destroyed by ever-higher fuel and power costs and ever-sillier over-regulation are shutting so fast that yours is the first Australian state to become a net importer of food.
Power generation is also moving out. Last year a politicized Green judge banned a radical new process that would have halved CO2 emissions from the Latrobe valley’s brown coal. The invention will go to China instead.
Crazed local authorities have banned new building along Victoria’s coast for fear of sea-level rise. Yet raw data from the Envisat satellite from 2004-2012 show sea level rising for eight years at a rate equivalent to just 3.2 cm/