Friday, August 07, 2009

Anything but emissions cuts for the rich

says Bjorn Lomborg:

He is concerned that the United Nations-led consensus that a climate treaty must focus on cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from rich countries is mistaken.

“It’s a costly way to achieve very little,” he said.

Instead, Mr Lomborg argues, there are cheaper ways of halting temperature rises.

These include tackling sources of climate change other than carbon dioxide, such as methane and soot; investing in new tech­nologies; adapting to the effects of climate change; planting more forests; and weighing up whether emissions cuts are cheaper to do now or later.


Photo from Curse of the Black Gold by Ed Kashi (via Prix Pictet)

P.S. 9 August: Richard Littlemore is not impressed

2 comments:

Elizabeth M Rimmer said...

Oh for crying out loud! If we only cut the missions from the rich it would be the best thing we could do. I hate to be simplistic but --

Caspar Henderson said...

Well, I agree with Bjorn Lomborg (!) in so far as he makes a general point that we should make a priority (but not necessarily the only priority) of seeking out and supporting actions that lead to the greatest avoided emissions at the least cost in whichever country they may be -- in so far as this is consistent with human development, intergenerational equity etc.). Large subsidies to, say, photovoltaics sited in the UK are likely, for the foreseeable future, to be a very expensive way to cut emissions by very little.

I disagree with Lomborg, though, if/where he seeks to shore up an impression that the rich nations do not need to make cuts in the near and medium term. If we accept a total 'carbon' budget on the order of, say, a trillion tonnes, then clearly large cuts (80% or more) are needed before 2050.

Lomborg's apparent acceptance of science is a welcome development.