$5 trillion for 0.004 degree cooling

So which country is pledging to spend $5 trillion to become carbon neutral, so that the world’s temperature doesn’t increase by an extra 0.004 degree? Is it China? The US? The EU?

No it’s New Zealand.

Bjorn Lomborg writes:

Climate change is a real problem. It is man-made, and it will have negative consequences. But trying to stop emitting CO₂ by 2050 or sooner is a very expensive way to do almost no good.

We just have to look to New Zealand, the only country to have actually made an estimate of the cost of achieving carbon neutrality.

New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, received plaudits this year for passing legislation designed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. To her credit, her government asked a respected economics institute to estimate the cost. …

Across the century, the cost for the small island nation of 5 million souls would add up to at least $5 trillion. And this assumes New Zealand implements climate policies efficiently, with a single carbon tax across all sectors of the economy over 80 years.

Yep a $5 trillion cost over 80 years. But it will be worth it eh, because it will save the world right?

What will this achieve? Let’s ­assume that in every one of New Zealand’s elections between now and 2100, governments are chosen that continue to fulfill the promise of going to zero by 2050 and staying there. Imagine, too, that New Zealanders don’t rebel against the inevitably large tax hikes on energy — no “yellow-vest” protests.

In these artificial conditions, if New Zealand meets its promise of zero emissions in 2050 and stays at zero for five decades, then the greenhouse-gas reduction, according to the standard estimate from the United Nations’ climate panel, will deliver a temperature cut by 2100 of 0.004 degrees.

We’re saved, we’re saved!

The climate challenge will not be solved by asking people to use less and more expensive energy. A sensible middle ground must be found that could include policies like a low and rising carbon tax. But we must ultimately focus on the reality that the best way to fix climate change is innovation that lowers the price of clean energy below that of fossil fuels.

In Paris in 2015, world leaders promised to double spending on research and development into green energy. They are on track to miss that target. The Madrid conference should focus its energy on innovation — rather than wild-goose chases.

Indeed the focus should be on innovation, yet the Government refuses to change the law to allow such innovation.

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