I promise to lay off this subject next week, but feel the need to tell readers about the ’50 to 1 Project’, a set of videos produced by someone I do not know called Topher (Christopher?) Field. The name of the project derives from his calculation that the cost of Australia’s trying to combat ‘climate change’ is 50 times greater than the cost of adapting to it. His little lesson takes less than nine minutes and is sensible and matter-of-fact.
As I said, I do not know of the presenter, but he has a website, so I can tell you that he is a mixture of actor, director, writer and presenter. He managed to get a short film called The Hustler into the 2013 Tropfest, so he seems able as a director. He certainly is an accomplished and plausible presenter.
His message isn’t new. I didn’t learn anything I had not known before, though some of the arithmetic was new to me. But it is the sort of message that politicians (from both sides) might listen to, especially if they wonder whether or not they should stick to the old AGW scare or find something new to worry us with. It goes like this.
First, carbon dioxide emissions keep on increasing. There seems little prospect of the countries of the world getting together to end these emissions. In any case (though Field doesn’t say this) there has been no corresponding increase in temperature for the last 15 or so years. Even if we all did get together again, and agreed to stop those emissions, the cost would be vastly greater than that of coping with the IPCC-predicted ‘climate change’, if and when it arrived. It hasn’t arrived yet, and the doomsayers are now talking of what will happen in the second half of the century.
Second, the Australian carbon tax (and Field focuses on that, though it has transmogrified into an emissions trading scheme, and may shortly disappear altogether) even in its original form would have been completely ineffective, reducing global temperature by a unmassive .00005 degrees Celsius. Since we can’t even detect temperature changes of anything less than a fifth of a degree, we wouldn’t have known of the change anyway, and I wrote a piece saying so recently. But the Gillard and then Rudd changes to the tax brought its impact way down, in order that the impact on the economy was less. So the current ETS is of no virtuous consequence whatsoever.
Third, if all the countries of the world clubbed together to stop climate change in the Australian fashion they would need to spend 80 per cent of the world’s GDP, or about $3.2 quadrillion, in order to reduce temperature by a single degree Celsius. The Stern Report estimated the cost of the damage a three-degree increase in temperature would cause the world at between 0 to 3 per cent of the world’s GDP. These two figures produce Field’s 50 to 1 ratio.
Where does he get all these data from? He is disarmingly candid. The estimates and data all come from the IPCC’s reports, and from the Stern and Garnaut reports. He isn’t, of course, the first person to have pointed out the bizarre logic of spending vast sums of money to produce an outcome that is so much less valuable. But he has a nice little aphorism for it: if mitigation is to be effective, it is not affordable, and if it is to be affordable, it will not be effective.
That leads him to dismiss the notion that the carbon tax and its outriders are a form of insurance, for on the arithmetic they are not insurance at all. Who would anyone insure a car if the premium was much more than the value of the car? And who would be there to pay out, anyway? Insurance is not what the carbon tax is, not at all.
I think this short video is a compelling presentation, and I recommend it to anyone who wants something to persuade a third party that he or she might be on the wrong track in the area of global warming. He has a set of accompanying videos that are hour-long interviews with several of the sceptic notables,including Fred Singer, Christopher Essex (whom I mentioned a few days ago), Henry Ergas and Jo Nova.
Donna Laframboise, another whom I mentioned recently, has a few seconds in the Field video to make another basic point — that we have the skills and the knowledge to adapt to climate change if and when we see it, and so will our children and grandchildren have in their time. The notion that we have to do things Now in order to save the world for our progeny has always seem both pretentious and presumptuous to me.
All the videos are good value, but given the amount of time people have to view anything, my money goes on the short Field summary, which finishes with a sage piece of advice from Christopher Essex: ‘above all, stop being afraid!’ Yes, that’s it. Why do so many people scare so easily from boogeyman tales? Have some confidence in our capacities to cope with problems!