Arguments Over Carbon Emissions

Comment of the day comes from 99, on the subject of climate


No one really seems to be worried about people in the Indo-Gangetic Plain

today. Why should we worry about what will happen to them decades in the future?

This is a twist on the Bjorn Lomborg

argument. If we’re worried about poor people today, we should do something about

poor people today – help them get water, education, healthcare, that sort

of thing. All of which would have a much more certain and much more immediate

beneficial effect than spending the same amount of money on reducing global

carbon emissions for the sake of poor people a century hence.

Of course, there are multiple reasons above and beyond poverty reduction to

reduce carbon emissions. Which is why Sir Nicholas Stern said at a discussion

last week that it’s a good idea not to go into too much detail why

we should reduce carbon emissions. He used the example of the Declaration: "We

hold these truths to be self-evident," wrote Thomas Jefferson, because

if you don’t give any reasons why, no one can take issue with your argument.

Similarly with carbon emissions: best to ride on the consensus which has now

evolved that they should be curtailed, rather than get into long arguments about

why they should be curtailed.

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