Saturday, April 01, 2006

Rich and warm or poor and cold

From Chaos Manor
Is a richer-but-warmer world better than poorer-but-cooler worlds?

Indur M. Goklany

Greater economic growth could lead to greater greenhouse gas emissions, while simultaneously enhancing various aspects of human well-being and the capacity to adapt to climate change. This begs the question as to whether and, if so, for how long would a richer-but-warmer world be better for well-being than poorer-but-cooler worlds. To shed light on this issue, this paper draws upon results of the "Fast Track" assessment (FTA) reported in a special issue of Global Environmental Change: Part A 14(1): 1-99 (2004), which employed the IPCC’s emissions scenarios to project future climate change and its global impacts on various determinants of human and environmental well-being. Results suggest that notwithstanding climate change, through much of this century, human well-being is likely to be highest in the richest-but-warmest (A1F1) world and lower in poorer-but-cooler worlds. With respect to environmental well-being, matters may be best under the A1F1 world for some critical environmental indicators through 2085-2100, but not necessarily for others.
The conclusion drawn from the study is clear; a world which is warmer and is wealthy can adapt and is, all things considered, a better place to live. A colder world is generally a miserable place to live.

Some specific recommendations. Charmingly enough they are non-ideological, though implementation may be seen that way.

* Increase adaptive capacity by investing in efforts to reduce vulnerability to today's urgent climate sensitive problems that might be excaberated by climate change.

* Strengthen or develop institutions necessary to advance and/or reduce barriers to economic growth, human capital and the propensity for technological chance.

* Expand the range of no-regret options through R&D to improve existing technologies that would reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations more cost-effectively than currently possible.

* Allow the market to run its course in implementing no-regret options as their range expands with improvements in cost effectiveness i.e. reduce subsidies that increase energy use, land clearance, use of fertilizers.

* Develop a more robust understanding of the science, impacts and policies of climate change.

* Monitor the impacts of climate change to spot 'dangerous' impacts before they become imminent.

I am not sure what there is to disagree with this. Doubtless some will see any technological expansion as 'bad' no matter what the potential ill effects over the next century. There is no reasonaing with some people.
blog comments powered by Disqus