The Grumpy Economist: numbers on climate policy

Most laws or regulations that spend hundreds of billions of dollars on one purpose are extensively analyzed or evaluated for that purpose. OK, the numbers are often, ahem, a little unreliable, but at least the proponents go through the proposals and make assumptions that can be examined and calculated differently. Tax and spending laws come with an in-depth analysis of how much the government will make or spend. This is especially true when it comes to the environment. Building anything requires detailed environmental assessments. An environmental review typically takes 4.5 years before the lawsuits begin.

In this context, I am amazed that climate policy generally has no numbers, or at least none that I can find readily available in the mainstream media. We intend to spend an additional $ 250 billion on climate policies in the humorously titled “inflation reduction act”. OK, how much carbon will it remove, from the grid, all inclusive, how much will it lower the temperature and when, how much and when will it calm the rising oceans?

Finally, I saw an issue, advertised in the Wall Street Journal,

Our collaborator Bjorn Lomborg reviewed the Rhodium Group’s estimate for the reduction of CO2 emissions from the Schumer-Manchin policies. He then inserted them into the UN climate model to measure the impact on global temperature by 2100. He finds that the bill will reduce the estimated global temperature rise at the end of this century by all 0.028 degrees Fahrenheit in the optimistic case. . In the pessimistic case, the temperature difference will be 0.0009 degrees Fahrenheit.

by Bjorn twitter stream on the calculation.

Maybe you don’t like Bjorn’s numbers and the IPCC model. (Not exactly a right operation). Maybe you don’t like them Analysis of the rhodium group. A quick reading left me with the impression that his thumb might be on the wildly overly optimistic side of what this pork rathole can produce and experience with what similar ratholes of the past have produced:

Our preliminary estimate is that the IRA can reduce net greenhouse gas emissions in the United States from 31% to 44% below 2005 levels in 2030, with a central estimate of 40% below 2005 levels. , compared to 24% to 35% under current policy. The range reflects uncertainty about future fossil fuel prices, economic growth and technology costs. It will also significantly reduce consumers’ energy costs and strengthen US energy security in the medium term,

10% of 2005 levels is a lot. Subsidies are being reduced consumer costs, but not the cost to society at large. Intelligent. How the repression of fossil fuels and the financing of windmills and solar panels can be said to help energy security with the German example before us is a good question. Bjorn’s point is that even with this immense thumb on the scale, the real benefit to the climate is minimal. If you disagree, well, come up with some alternatives.

(By the way, politicians who tell you that we need to do something about the climate to put out heat waves and stop forest fires are either lying or profoundly ignorant. Nothing even Greta Thunberg proposes will actually lower temperatures over the lives of people. our great-grandchildren. Read carefully, “Reduce the temperature climb. “Don’t” reduce temperatures “.)

But why are these numbers produced by think tanks and private researchers, who often have plans to carry out? Why are we doing all this after the fact? Shouldn’t these numbers be announced, debated and analyzed in advance? We have a Congressional Budget Office that evaluates the financial impact of the legislation. Why isn’t there a Congressional Climate Calculation Office that assesses how much the proposed carbon legislation will save and how much temperatures will drop by 2100? The SEC wants to require every company to calculate and disclose carbon emissions, so it definitely doesn’t see it as an insurmountable task. If you have to do a full 5-year NEPA environmental assessment to build a road or perform a controlled burn, why don’t you have to do the slightest calculation to save the environment?

It is surprising that we are asked to spend huge amounts of money and drastically reduce economic prosperity along the way, especially in poor countries, to address the climate during the lifetime of our great-grandchildren, but the proposed legislation and regulations do not calculate and advertise which ones. are the actual benefits of policies in a public, quantifiable and transparent way.