Thursday, June 21, 2007

Marconomics predicts longterm failure to reduce CO2 emissions

Going straight from my axioms,
- The judgement on policy is essentially which country does well in a typical competitive environment in the ideal where the policy concerned is the only point of difference.

Policies which involve ignoring, lying about, or failing to meet targets will put countries at a competitive advantage economically. Geopolitics, for good and ill, is optimised such that any policy which gives a distinct competitive advantage to any country, becomes policy in competing countries. The average citizen is completely oblivious but complicit, just by their own cost-benefit analysis in their own head. This process for say fifty years into the future is pretty much immune to global targets of any sort. The trick is to globally constrain the economy such that "doing well" CO2 reduction wise, is going to be "doing well" money-wise. This is just not going to happen without a global government with teeth. A global government with teeth is not compatible with the benefits gained from the competitive aspect of nations. Basically for the future 50 years or so, we will all be talking about CO2 global targets, but have no chance of meeting them. Regional CO2 targets will occasionally be met, but only by accident of say economic ruin, or accident of geography (eg. Soviet breakup, France's love of Nuclear/hydro)


Dr. Clam said...

I certainly hope we won't be talking about targets for another 50 years! I am quietly confident the world will have come by its senses by then and forgotten all about reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

I just change the station now whenever anyone mentions 'climate change' on the radio. This is why, three times last week, I ended up at a nearby commercial station just as they were playing David Bowie's 'China Girl'. I had visions of a Goodies-style pirate radio station where they only had one record- you know: 'And now, 'A Walk in the Black Forest'. The last time, though, the announcer said the song had been requested by 'Damo'. I know one Damo, I'll have to find out if this plague of 'China Girl' is his fault. If it is I will make him pay.
Though maybe, it's all in celebration of China passing the United States as the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. Gratz!

Marco said...

When there are no "World" wars to talk about, no "great depressions" happening, the conversation will almost always turn to the weather :). I'm not saying that it will be constanty on the media for 50 years, but any gaps between major world catastrophes, climate change will be a constant media theme. Activists will remain flabbergasted at the failure upon failure of reduction schemes. Just like I am flabbergasted at people smoking, or being grossly overweight etc. Surely the information and tools are there for everybody to quit - but still they keep smoking and pursuing unhealthy lifestyles. The global system of nations is optimised to take advantage of every opportunity offered by climate change, and to mitigate related disasters. It is hopeless at preventing addiction to any substance whether it be nicotine or coal burning, whether it be an individual pursuit or entire countries.