Tag Archives: climate change

Stark choices and positive futures: what climate change means for rich-nations’ way of life.

Neva Goodwin, for the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University, has released a working paper titled:“An Overview of Climate Change: What does it mean for our way of life? What is the best future we can hope for?”.

The intention is that this paper will later develop into a book, and based on what we have so far, the book should be one excellent “answer” to the challenges we identified in “Enough Already – Part One”. At 28 pages of text, less footnotes, I recommend the paper as a compact, useful, positive read.

Some points I picked out:
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Filed under Barry, climate change, economic analysis, social justice

George Monbiot on climate change: Why we need a 90% cut in CO2 emissions, and how we can achieve it

In his book Heat, George Monbiot looks at the possibility of a climate change catastrophe. He argues that a 2°C rise in global average temperature would precipitate such a disaster, as it would cause many ecosystems to begin to collapse. They would become CO2 emitters rather than the CO2 sinks that they are at present, and runaway global warming would follow, regardless of what we humans might do.

In order to be sure of avoiding that scenario, Monbiot estimates that humanity must achieve a 90% reduction in its CO2 output by 2030. Is it at all possible? In his book, Monbiot attempts to show that it is.

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The news media and climate change: Casting light on the contradictions of consumer capitalism

This is a general election year here in Aotearoa New Zealand and the election will hold the much of the attention of New Zealand’s political junkies. In some respects, though, even for New Zealanders the US presidential election taking place in November is of far more consequence.

I’m thinking in particular of the issue of global warming. Because the US generates around 22% of global CO2 output (2004 data, available here), the decisions of the next US president will – in one way or another – have a critical impact on the issue of climate change. Whether he or she takes action on global warming or follows the lead of GW Bush and places her or his head firmly in the sand, the outcome will affect just about everyone on the planet.

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Climate change – uncertainty abounds, but this is a risk management decision – not a quest for truth

Investing in the Economics of Climate Security, Nick Mabey, November 2007

The economics of climate change is lagging behind the science. We need to improve on this quickly if we are to take the right investment decisions, argues Nick Mabey.

One of the critical policy questions we face is ‘how far and fast should we cut global greenhouse emissions to effectively ensure climate security? Mabey acknowledges that ‘Uncertainty abounds over any choice.’ (p.5) But, he says ‘this is a risk management decision – not a quest for truth.’ (p.5) Continue reading

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The economics of climate change – the case of Florida

The Global Development & Environment Institute at Tufts University has released a report on the consequences of unchecked greenhouse gas emissons for Florida. You can find it here.

They estimate that the costs of unchecked climate change – on just three sectors: tourism, electric utilities, and real estate – together with effects of hurricanes would shrink Florida’s Gross State Product by 5% by the end of this century. Obviously, as the authors point out, if costs for other sectors (e.g. agriculture, fisheries, insurances, transportation, and water systems) were included, the costs would be much higher. And, of course, there would be huge non-monetary costs of environmental destruction and human lives lost. It is grim reading.

Consider this, too: Florida won’t be the only place facing major economic, social, and no doubt political disruption. This will be happening all over the world, in differing degrees and forms. It seems a reasonable bet that there will be large multiplier (or ‘knock-on’) economic costs.

Then there are the ‘tipping point’ risks: scientists are now telling us that Earth’s climate could change quite rapidly (and there is evidence of it having done so in the past). We don’t know what that tipping point is, exactly, and in pumping out greenhouse gases, we are conducting a gigantic, dangerous, global climate experiment.

If we add these three things: first round costs, knock-on costs, and risks, plus a reasonable consideration of the non-monetary costs, it is obvious that we ought to be putting large-scale resources and efforts into efforts to reduce emissions.

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Filed under Barry, climate change, economic analysis