Global Warming Policy Foundation

Post image for “We Are Taking Chemotherapy for a Cold” — Matt Ridley on Climate Policy

The UK-based Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has published prize-winning author Matt Ridley’s A Lukewarmer’s Ten Tests: What It Would Take to Persuade Me that Current Climate Policy Makes Sense

For coercive decarbonization to make sense, Ridley argues, climate alarmists would have persuade us of ten things, none of which is plausible in light of either recent science, economic data, or moral common sense.

Such articles of alarmist faith include the propositions that the urban heat island effect has been fully purged from the surface temperature record, water vapor and cloud feedbacks will eventually amplify the modest observed warming trend since 1979, mankind will fail to adapt to climate change even though there has already been a 98% reduction in the probability of death from extreme weather since the 1920s, and today’s relatively poor generation should bear the cost of damages that may not materialize until a far wealthier future generation.

Ridley concludes that the UK’s “current energy and climate policy is probably more dangerous, both economically and ecologically, than climate change itself.”

Ridley is well aware of the argument that “even a very small probability of a very large and dangerous change in the climate justifies drastic action.” But he notes that “Pascal’s wager cuts both ways.” 

To climate alarmists, Ridley would reply that “a very small probability of a very large and dangerous effect from the adoption of large-scale renewable energy, reduced economic growth through carbon taxes or geo-engineering also justifies extreme caution.” Big picture: “At the moment, it seems highly likely that the cure is worse than the disease. We are taking chemotherapy for a cold.”

Post image for Stern Review Not Fit to Guide U.K. Climate Policy, Report Finds

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has just published The Failings of the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change. The  2006 Stern Review — named for Sir Nicholas Stern, head of the UK Government’s Economic Service under Prime Minister Tony Blair — is arguably the most pessimistic official assessment ever of the economic damages of global warming. The Stern Review famously argued that the “costs of inaction” on climate change hugely outweigh the costs of greenhouse gas mitigation, claiming that, “If we don’t act, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global GDP each year now and forever.”

Influenced by the Stern Review, the UK Government adopted a set of climate policies that cost £17,000 per household, according to the GWPF report, prepared by the Rt. Hon. Peter Lilley MP. Since the UK’s total annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are less than the increase in China’s CO2 emissions in a single year, the UK Government’s climate program is all pain for no gain. It is time for the UK Government to review the Stern Review, Lilley contends.

The GWPF report is 100 pages long, but there is a helpful executive summary and a hard-hitting foreword by leading climate economist Richard Toll. The following excerpts from Toll’s contribution should be sufficient to entice even the most jaded climate wonk to read the report:

The publication of the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change was a PR exercise that was unprecedented in economics. Sir Nicholas, now Lord Stern, was portrayed as an expert even though he had never published before on the economics of energy, environment or climate.

Honest policy analysts show results for a range of alternative discount rates. The Stern Review uses a single discount rate. It corresponds to an extreme position in the literature and it deviates from the official discount rate of HM Treasury. Nick Stern is, of course, free to use whatever discount rate he wants in his private life. Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta of Cambridge University has found that Stern should save 97.5% of his income, were Stern to follow the advice in the Stern Review. Taking such an extreme position in public policy is odd.

Most economic studies conclude that it is best to start with modest emission reduction, and accelerate the stringency of climate policy over time. For that, public policy will need to pull into the same direction over 20 or more electoral cycles. If the case for climate policy is exaggerated, the backlash will come, sooner or later. The Stern Review was a tactical masterstroke, but it will likely prove to be a strategic blunder. Its academic value is zero.

In a related post, Lilley provides a condensed summary of his report. “Stern,” he writes, “reaches conclusions far removed from those of most environmental economists by combining statistical sophistry and verbal virtuosity. For example:” [click to continue…]

Post image for Bipartisan UK Panel: ‘Fracking’ Is Fine for Water Supplies

British columnist Johann Hari recently took to the Huffington Post to try to whip up alarm about the supposed dangers posed to drinking water by ‘fracking,’ a.k.a hydraulic fracturing, an American-made technological miracle in natural gas production that has roughly doubled known North American gas reserves in only the last five years. I rebutted Hari’s baseless environmentalist talking points in a previous post, and I am much pleased to report this morning that the British Parliament agrees with my debunking of his nonsensical claims.

According to Public Service Europe (by way of the Global Warming Policy Foundation),

“Shale gas drilling has been given the go-ahead by members of the UK parliament who have insisted that the process is safe. An inquiry by the Energy and Climate Change committee concluded that fracking, the process by which gas is extracted from shale rock, poses no risk to underground water supplies as long as drilling wells are properly constructed.”

[click to continue…]