If it is as Joel Says...


…But for some reason I’m not sure that it is .

If maximizing future human welfare and prosperity is the goal of climate change policy…

I agree that it should be, or at least balancing current welfare and prosperity against future, but all too few people seem to act that way.

Apologies for this rather technical point but it’s worth having a look at the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES ) which are the economic models that underpin all of the IPCC’s work with the computer models. There are various sketches of what the future might bring in terms of population, technology and so on, and thus emissions that are fed into those computer programs. Something like the Stern Review is based upon the A2 family (with a few more catastrophes thrown in for good measure) and the logic of that review is that by spending x now we can make those in the future better off to a total level of y.

Now the thing is, the A2 family is based upon a reversal of globalization, a return to more regional and local economies. The A1 family is based upon an acceleration of the process. In the A1 family we see greater convergence (the gap between rich and poor narrows), much lower population growth and an astonishing rise in living standards. In fact, in 2100, people will be four times better off than the y result that the Stern Review proposes.

So if people really are worried about future human welfare and prosperity then they would be screaming for more globalization: after all, the IPCC has said it so it must be true!

That the various commentators and activists on the matter do not do so, that many of them insist that the solution is more regionalism, less trade, more self-sufficiency, shows to me that they are motivated by something other than future human welfare. 

I wonder what could be their motivation? 


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