Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] 60 Mins

Kate Parker Adams kate@dnki.net
Sun, 17 Nov 2002 17:19:29 -0500

At 12:08 PM 11/17/02 -0800, Jim Macdonald wrote:
>Lomborg believes that implementing Kyoto would be economically 
>devastating, and I
>think that's where these kinds of arguments go, into the tedious business 
>of numbers
>crunching and speculation about real economic impact, and blah, blah, 
>blah, blah,


Have you ever seen the study that demonstrated that throughout the history 
of environmental regulation in the US, business interests have 
overestimated the costs of environmental regulation by a factor of four on 

The real ethics challenge with Kyoto, as in many precautionary programs, is 
that the moneyed interests in developed nations will save money in the 
short run by not enacting controls on emissions and consumption, but the 
whole world will suffer the consequences and not in an evenhanded 
fashion.  These tidy little risk assessments and cost assessments are 
blindly reductionist and heavily biased toward the inclusion of easy to 
quantify factors and the exclusion of anything that doesn't fit neatly into 
their models.  They are also limited by the history and principles of cost 
accounting.  Thus, in the name of "science" (or in the practice of science 
as though it were a religion) they fail to include or even declare as 
irrelevant such things as the end costs of the resulting foreign aid issues 
and security issues and the price of having displaced peoples come knocking 
at your door.

The consequences are systematically underestimated, and they are also 
systematically reassigned to people who realized little or no benefit from 
the failure to contain profligate environmental damage from the 
outset.  That isn't cost savings, that is Robin Hood in high speed reverse 

Best to all,