Thursday, 25th October 2012

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Preventing global warming is 50 times more costly than paying the cost of adapting to it --Monckton

by F Oliva

Lord Monckton had declared that he will shortly be presenting the results of a paper on climate economics, namely a hypothesis that it is up to 50 times more costly to try to prevent global warming today than to pay the cost of adapting to its consequences the day after tomorrow. The paper will be published by the World Federation of Scientists at the beginning of next year.

Speaking to the Chronicle after meeting the Minister for Environment and Health John Cortes, Lord Monckton said Dr Cortes had declared that on this “he and I differed greatly.”

He revealed that the meeting with Dr Cortes, his Chief Scientist and officials had centred on two matters: whether there is as much of a global warming “as officialdom has been trying to tell us there is,” and secondly whether even if the three Celsius of warming this century that is the central prediction of the current generation of climate models were to occur, it would make any economic sense to try to prevent that warming from occurring “rather than to wait, spend nothing now and pay the cost of focussed adaptation to any warming that may arise in the future.”

It was the opinion of Dr Cortes and his officials, said Lord Monckton “that no such questions should even be asked.”

Lord Monckton said his own approach was to adopt for the sake of argument only, the central estimate of the UN climate panel, that we should see three Celsius of warming this century, and the central estimate of the Stern report on the economics of climate change from 2006, that three Celsius of warming would if not prevented, “cost the world between zero and 3% of GDP.”

Lord Monckton said Dr Cortes objected that he had not taken sufficient account of non-financial considerations such as social and environmental cost, although he had attempted to explain that it was routine among economists to take such costs into consideration and “for the sake of discipline in their calculations to assign to them a cash value.”

He said this had not pleased “the non-economists in the room who felt that economics had no business involving itself in social and environmental policy.”

Lord Monckton declared that he had been asked “not to take an economic approach and instead to say whether I believed in ‘sustainability’,” to which he had responded that this was an ill defined abstract noun, having more of the character of a slogan than of a direction for policy, and that in the absence of a clear definition of what was meant by a belief in sustainability, “I preferred to do science in the traditional fashion mainly using numbers quantitatively rather than using abstract nouns qualitatively.”

Climate economics paper

As regards his paper on climate economics, Dr Monckton also expressed the hope that no one present at the meeting would feel confident disagreeing with him as to his conclusions “until he or she had had the opportunity to study the content of that paper, which I undertook to supply.”

Lord Monckton added: “At the end of the meeting Dr Cortes again asserted that he had not been convinced by anything I had said and that he and his department would continue in their present course without deviation. I had not expected any other outcome. Whether the minister and his officials are wiser after this meeting than before it, I cannot say but at least they are better informed.”

The environmental sceptic explained that his approach to science was rigorous and in accordance with the long tradition of the scientific method, “from the early Arab mathematicians via Huxley to Popper, in which scientists who wished to advance a hypothesis should do so in due mathematical terms, publish after review in a learned journal and that they should then welcome criticism from other scientists.”



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