Monday, July 28, 2008

An article on the politics of environmentalism at The American

An article I wrote with Chris Pope, from the American Enterprise Institute, is up at The American (along with a fun graphic). Here's an excerpt:

"With less than two years remaining until the next general election, Britain’s Conservative Party has surged to an historic 22-point opinion-poll lead over the incumbent Labour Party. This turnabout has followed an energetic campaign by the Tory leader, David Cameron, to wrench the party out of its ideological comfort zone and overhaul its public image. Cameron has indeed handled many issues deftly. However, his initial attempt to spark a bidding war over climate alarmism backfired enormously, and it should serve as a warning to other Western political parties that are trying to burnish their green credentials."


Anonymous said...

Hi Matthew,

In your article, you say that "most peer-reviewed cost-benefit analyses of climate change tend to find that the costs of global warming do not merit a radical and immediate shift away from carbon-based fuels".

This is a very important statement - I hope you can help me understand both it's basis and what you mean by it. I would be grateful if you could:

Define what you mean by "radical and immediate shift". Presumably both of the scenarios presented in June's IEA report on Energy Technology Perspectives (for example) constitute a radical and immediate shift.

Provide a source for the statement "most peer reviewed cost benefit analyses" - a link to the data which support it would be most helpful.

Thanks very much.

Matthew Sinclair said...

When we say a radical and immediate shift we are referring not to technological development (which is by definition not immediate) but the proposals by Gore, Stern, etc. for big increases in the price of fossil fuel energy.

Nordhaus is a good place to start for the cost-benefit analysis:

Beyond that, Tol (an IPCC principal author) carries out regular reviews of the social cost of carbon literature. The social cost he finds cannot justify placing a big cost on fossil fuel energy. This offers a sort of cost-benefit by proxy.