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Is it the economy that is sending us down the toilet; or is it the economists?

By       Message Bob Williamson     Permalink
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Is it the economy that is sending us down the toilet; or is it the economists?


Are our global political leaders listening to the wrong people when determining our future and how we get there?


The widely hailed economic assessment of the costs of climate change for the world, compiled for the British government by the economist Sir Nicholas Stern in the Stern Report in 2007 reported:-


‘Using the results from formal economic models, the review estimates that if we don’t act, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5 percent of global GDP each year, now and forever. If a wider range of risks and impacts is taken into account, the estimates of damage could rise to 20 percent of GDP or more.’


An article by Nicholas Stern in the recent edition of New Scientist Magazine January 24 2009 page 26 suggests the financial crisis provides an opportunity not an obstacle! I have to ask if this person is visiting from La La Land or some other far off planet? I also need to question his credentials for providing economic advice.


Although welcome to express his opinion, as someone relied upon by global policy makers, while he presents what can only be described as flawed logic, they will continue with their and our illogical sleepwalk to humanities demise.


Peterhouse, Cambridge U.K presenting him with his Bachelor of Arts in mathematics must be questioned as to why basic maths was not a part of his required studies.


Sir Nicholas in the New Scientist article offers us the following apology.

“Since my colleagues and I published the Stern Review on the economics of climate change in 2007, it has become apparent that the risks and potential costs are even greater than we originally recognised. Global emissions of greenhouse gases are growing more quickly than projected, the ability of the planet to absorb those gases now appears lower than assumed, the potential increases in temperature due to rising gas concentrations seem higher, and the physical impacts of a warming planet are appearing at a faster rate than expected.”


He then goes on to offer his opinion and advice on how we can continue with our energy addiction from the burning of fossil fuels - coal.


“Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is crucial for countries with fast-expanding economies, such as India and China, which currently rely on coal-fired power stations for growth. We need about 30 CCS demonstration projects, on commercial scale, carried out in developed and developing countries over the next 10 years.”


This advice defies any logic and even the most basic maths.

In my book ‘ZERO Greenhouse Emissions – The Day the Lights Went Out – Our Future World’ I plainly detail the stupidity of these discussions and the CCS green-wash for the lay- person.

Some excerpts;-

CCS is the premise being, we can continue to generate energy from polluting non-renewable sources by the burning of fossil fuels, as long as when we intentionally release the trapped carbon we run around an catch it before it leaves the building!

 Globally at this time, there is only a smattering of small demonstration projects. Some researchers studying CCS point out themselves that their models and scenarios in many respects are based on insufficient factual foundations, unrealistic assumptions, and major oversimplifications. One report by Anders Hansson of Linkoping University Sweden states: “In full scale this technology only exists in the imagination of the people developing it and that it is overly optimistic to place such great faith in CCS considering all the uncertainties found in current scientific literature.” In Norway they are demonstrating they can capture and store a million tonnes of CO2 per year. 

Does the basic maths add up?

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Founder and Chair of the Greenhouse Neutral Foundation

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