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White House Tries to Make an Economic Case to Fight Climate Change — With No Real Numbers



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Via the Wall Street Journal:

The White House is trying to put a price on delaying action on climate change.

Aiming to create a sense of urgency around its actions to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the White House is issuing a report Tuesday that argues that the longer the delay, the more future generations will bear costs.

The report doesn’t put a dollar amount on what the administration says is the price of inaction. Instead, it employs a pair of economic models to predict its magnitude.

Critics of climate action argue that the upfront costs to cut carbon emissions are greater than the administration predicts. They are also skeptical of predictions of how much climate change will cost future generations.

The White House report finds that economic costs to address climate change rise by 40% in each decade in which there is a delay in enacting policies to cut carbon emissions.

It also finds that for each 1 degree Celsius rise in global temperature, the global gross domestic product takes an increasingly larger hit. In other words, it says, an increase of between 3 and 4 degrees creates more economic damage than an increase of between 2 and 3 degrees.

“If we do nothing this year, we save money this year,” said Jim Stock, leader author of the report and a staff member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers until earlier this month. “But the trouble is, by doing nothing this year, it costs us more in the future.”

Summary: The White House doesn’t know how much more it will cost to delay this fight against climate change, nor does it know if what it wants to spend money on today will be effective, but it’s positive that it will cost “more in the future.”

This isn’t economics, it’s economics denialism.



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