Defending the Indefensible

A Guardian correspondent attempts to defend his admitted alarmism over global warming. In the comments, climate change economist Richard Tol dismantles his arguments:

First, you tend to describe climate change as catastrophic, although it is in fact a process of slow change over centuries. The better impact studies tend to find that climate change is important, but not as important as all the other changes that are going on. The impact of climate change on yields, say, will be small compared to the impacts of technological change; and all the negative effects of climate change on tropical agriculture can be offset by doing away with the Common Agricultural Policy.

Second, you call for drastic emission reduction. In fact, it is quite sufficient to replace the existing capital stock at the end of its economic life-time. A completely different life-style in a century is no big deal. People change their lifes much more often than that.

If ever there were a “no regrets” policy, it is the abolition of the disgraceful and immoral Common Agricultural Policy of the European union, which could not have been designed better if its goal was to keep Africans in poverty.