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Climate fatigue and expense

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Bjorn Lomborg, Danish statistician, economist, former Greenpeace official and author of the bestseller book The Skeptical Environmentalist, says that global climate change would have both good and bad impacts. He accepts that man contributes to global climate change, but that environmentalist attempts to stampede us into irrational and very costly climate policies is foolish.

Lomborg introduces the rational “climate skeptic” view in contradistinction to the hysterical and partisan green lies that have misled global climate policies. Lomborg’s practical and contemporary reframing of the climate debate within economic boundaries is essential to prioritizing public policy, particularly in times of global economic stress.

This week’s U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report predicts global climate change impacts, and follows the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report published in late 2013. Original IPCC reports by its director Rajendra Pachauri estimated that costs for global climate carbon controls would be 3% of GDP. Lomborg comments on the IPCC predictions in his recent Copenhagen Consensus Center research as follows:

• The new IPCC predictions show that the U.N. proposed necessary cutting of carbon emissions is going to cost up to 4% of GDP in 2030, 6% in 2050 and 11% in 2100;
• Ironically, if global governments do nothing to reduce carbon emissions, the damages caused by climate change will cost less than 2% of GDP in about 2070. Yet the proposed U.N. carbon cuts would cost more than 6% of GDP;
• Instead of continuing government subsidies for today’s ineffective green technologies, we need to invest in innovation and research to get the technological breakthrough that will make green energy affordable on its own merit. Then we will have solved climate change.

Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus Center worked with 28 of the world's top climate economists to research the cost and benefits of different climate policy actions. The expert panel, including 4 Nobel Laureates, came to the conclusion that investments in R&D for green energy would pay back 11 dollars for every dollar spent, while current policies focused on cutting climate carbon will only pay back 2 cents for every dollar spent.

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