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Spending on Global Warming Research

December 24th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Mark Kleiman writes

Bjorn Lomborg turns out not to be a global-warming denialist. He wants to spend $100 billion a year on what he calls “green energy research and development.”… I’m waiting to hear all the Republicans and libertarians who love to cite Lomborg as a guru when he’s attacking Ky0to and its progeny endorse his proposal, and the new taxes required to pay for it. But I’m not going to hold my breath.

I’m a definite skeptic, and I certainly would not reject Lomborg’s proposal without mulling it over. I think a lot of skeptics would support it, in fact— even those who would put the probability that carbon dioxide is causing temperature growth at only 20%. It’s a matter of cost and benefit. Here are some reasons:

1. $100 billion per year is small compared to the cost of the carbon-reduction proposals that have been made.

2. Whether the research is making progress or nor would be much easier to see than whether a carbon-reduction proposal is working.

3. Some of that money, I hope, would be used for seeing whether global warming is actually occurring. I know this would benefit the climatologists who have been such frauds, but if the money were spent on honest research, that would be very useful.

4. Research has a good hope of finding a way to solve the problem. Carbon-reduction proposals just slow down the growth of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (well, almost all of the proposals– that Canadian editorial’s ruthless “one-child” policy would work). Roughly, instead of the temperature rising X much by 2100, the typical leftwing proposal has it rising X much by 2120.

5. Research spending can be done unilaterally and succeed. Germany, for example, could decide to go-it-alone and spend the $100 billion, find the solution, and give it away.

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