SEARCH BLOG: GLOBAL WARMING
I have had some email communications with James Killus, an intelligent and polite commenter in blog discussions, who supports the prevalent view of CO2's role of accelerating global warming. His list of publications is impressive, but I have not been able to determine his specific credentials at this time.
James will, in the near future, provide a for-viewing version here of the off-the-cuff exchange we had. While I don't expect that either sides of the global warming debate will change their views, it is good to be sure you understand what the different perspectives are and why they are that way.
As I pointed out to James:
At issue, and I again only point to those scientists who disagree with you on climate change, is what are the real drivers of climate change and what is controllable and what is not... and what the real impact will be. The impact will not be uniformly bad or good if/when significant changes to the climate occur. However, focusing on one aspect... atmospheric carbon dioxide... of environment and climate will probably lead to some very dubious economic and legislative decisions driven by well-meaning people and governments. The law of unintended consequences usually comes into play when one thing is optimized and everything else is sub-optimized based on limited resources (we can't do everything we want to do... or maybe even should do).I look forward to his insights.
I posted this as part of a very long thread at Economist's View where James was also contributing comments though this was not directed at him:
With a vast and growing population, the first priority needs to be to apply technology that preserves or improves the environment. If some of these technologies can also reduce the uncertainty about the potential harm of higher CO2 levels, that's fine, too. But optimizing the effort to control CO2 will require vast resources and create a substantial risk of suboptimizing other important environmental efforts as limited resources are used. One could factiously ask for volunteers among the 6 or 7 billion humans to stop breathing so much and reduce their CO2 output. But they would soon be replaced anyway.
Additionally, nothing is for free. The cost differential between producing all present vehicles with no CO2 emissions versus today's levels is about $3000 per vehicle. That goes direct to the selling price. That is made up either by lower volumes or less money for use elsewhere. That's billions per year and trillions long term. Yes, electric cars/truck still need a source of power for the electricity and we are talking about a lot more electricity. (Yes, I know about the local power generation schemes...$$$)
Unless you are willing to spring for a lot more nuclear power plants, the cost of CO2 scrubbers for existing and new coal powered plants will be billions in the U.S. The issue is that China and India are the future source of significant new numbers of coal powered plants. They will wipe out any CO2 reductions achieved here. New Thorium-based nuclear power plant designs could be built resulting in magnitudes less radioactive waste and danger of creating weapons grade plutonium. Billions and billions of dollars.
Your assumptions that legislation will lead to future safety may or may not have a basis in reality, but it will have a significant basis in cost.
And this is a site dedicated to economics, after all.