December 14, 2008

BUT THE FACTS INDICT THE DEMOCRATS:

Hot air from Obama (Bjorn Lomborg, December 15, 2008, The Australian)

Consider, for example, hurricanes in America. Clearly, a policy of reducing CO2 emissions would have had zero consequence on Katrina's devastating effect on New Orleans, where such a disaster was long expected. Over the next half-century, even large reductions in CO2 emissions would have only a negligible effect.

Instead, direct policies to address New Orleans' vulnerabilities could have avoided the huge and unnecessary cost in human misery and economic loss. These should have included stricter building codes, smarter evacuation policies and better preservation of wetlands (which could have reduced the ferociousness of the hurricane). Most importantly, a greater focus on upkeep and restoration of the levees could have spared the city entirely. Perhaps these types of preventative actions should be Obama's priority.

Likewise, consider world hunger. Pleas for action on climate change reflect fears that global warming may undermine agricultural production, especially in the developing world. But global agricultural/economic models indicate that even under the most pessimistic assumptions, global warming would reduce agricultural production by just 1.4p er cent by the end of the century. Because agricultural output will more than double during this period, climate change would at worst cause global food production to double not in 2080 but in 2081.

Moreover, implementing the Kyoto Protocol at a cost of $180 billion annually would keep two million people from going hungry only by the end of the century. Yet by spending just $10 billion annually, the UN estimates that we could help 229 million hungry people today. Every time spending on climate policies saves one person from hunger in 100 years, the same amount could have saved 5000 people now.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 14, 2008 9:38 AM
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