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A lecture to the First Annual Global Warming Conference on "no regrets" solutions to global warming problems

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  1. 1. Assuming the Worst A No Regrets Approach to Global Warming Iain Murray Senior Fellow, CEI Author, “The Real Inconvenient Truths: Seven Environmental Disasters Liberals Won’t Tell You About (Because They Helped Cause Them),” Regnery, April 2008 Presentation to the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change, March 3 rd 2008
  2. 3. The Risks of Global Warming Policies <ul><li>Global Warming, if it occurs, will inflict damage on the economy </li></ul><ul><li>Global Warming policies also inflict damage on the economy </li></ul><ul><li>Policies that make us poorer can be deadly </li></ul><ul><li>Quantifying the amounts helps us understand the nature of the threat and inform our response to it </li></ul>
  3. 4. The Cost of Global Warming
  4. 5. Gore’s Justification <ul><li>“Now it is up to us to use our democracy and our God-given ability to reason with one another about our future and make moral choices to change the policies and behaviors that would, if continued, leave a degraded, diminished, and hostile planet for our children and grandchildren--and for humankind.” </li></ul>
  5. 6. Benefits of Affordable Energy <ul><li>1800 per cent increase in world GDP </li></ul><ul><li>Human life expectancy doubled </li></ul><ul><li>Per capita food supply increased </li></ul><ul><li>Elite privileges extended to masses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Literacy, leisure, medical care, mobility </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Air and water cleaner </li></ul>
  6. 7. The Emissions Equation <ul><li>E = P x O x EI </li></ul><ul><li>E = Emissions </li></ul><ul><li>P = Population </li></ul><ul><li>O = Economic Output </li></ul><ul><li>EI = Emissions Intensity </li></ul>
  7. 8. How to Reduce Emissions? <ul><li>US EI decreased 54% 1960-2005 </li></ul><ul><li>P increased c. 130 million </li></ul><ul><li>Assuming same rates, US real GDP would have to decrease by 50-75% to reduce emissions by 70 percent by 2070 </li></ul>
  8. 9. The Human Costs of Emissions Caps <ul><li>Raising energy costs kills. According to a Johns Hopkins study, replacing ¾ of US coal-based energy with higher priced energy would lead to 150,000 extra premature deaths annually in the US alone. </li></ul><ul><li>Reducing emissions hits the poorest hardest. According to the recent report by the Congressional Budget Office, a cap and trade system aimed at reducing emissions by just 15 percent will cost the poorest quintile 3 percent of their annual household income , while benefiting the richest quintile. </li></ul><ul><li>Raising energy costs loses jobs. According to a Penn State study, replacing 2/3 of US coal-based energy with higher priced energy will cost almost 3 million jobs , and perhaps over 4 million. </li></ul>
  9. 10. A True No Regrets Strategy Technology, Resiliency, Adaptation
  10. 11. Technology <ul><li>Increase R&D funding </li></ul><ul><li>Benchmark 0.05% of GDP </li></ul><ul><li>International effort, rich nations pay more </li></ul><ul><li>Total c. $25 billion </li></ul><ul><li>Use prizes to insulate researchers from political pressure </li></ul>
  11. 12. Resiliency <ul><li>Wealthier is healthier </li></ul><ul><li>Richer is cleaner </li></ul><ul><li>Resilient societies don’t worry about weather </li></ul><ul><li>Resiliency requires institutional framework </li></ul><ul><li>Property rights essential </li></ul>
  12. 13. Adaptation <ul><li>Even if global warming and, more importantly, its impacts, unfold as the IPCC predicts, it will not be as important as many existing problems, at least until the 2080s — unless today’s problems are solved. </li></ul><ul><li>It is cheaper and/or more beneficial by orders of magnitude to solve these existing problems (for the next several decades). </li></ul><ul><li>Assuming a 50-yr lag time to turn over the energy system, we don’t need to go beyond “no regret” actions until at least the 2030s. </li></ul>
  13. 14. Other “No Regrets” Strategies <ul><li>End fuel subsidies </li></ul><ul><li>Remove regulatory barriers to innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Free up electricity market </li></ul><ul><li>Decentralized power </li></ul><ul><li>Free up transportation markets </li></ul><ul><li>Liberalize airspace </li></ul>
  14. 16. Visit Our Websites www.cei.org www.globalwarming.org www.factsaboutethanol.org