From the Lutzowufer: Climate Change

<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">Indur Goklany works part of the time for the American Federal Government. Which I presume is like saying Al Gore works for Apple. The public persona of Dr. Goklany is defined by other commitments.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">The Electrical Engineer turned world leader in public policy analysis is known more for his incessant, unrelenting, insistence on objective, empirical, analysis as the bedrock of sound economics-informed political discussion. He lives up to this role as a freethinking, freelancing, round-the-globe harbinger of sober reason.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">So you will expect Indur to show up at a discussion about how to reconcile seemingly disparate environmental and free market ethics. Big, complex, subject of global essence and significance. He did. A few days ago in Berlin I was able to partake in a wide-ranging conversation involving some very passionate people, of which, to my great delight, Indur was an enthusiastic participant too.</p>
<p></p>
<p class="MsoNormal">In a later posting, I might try to generate a readable transcript of some of the eclectic dialogues for the benefit of those who may be interested. This time however I thought I had share a few of the dozens of insights Indur Goklany sprinkled all over the <em>L&uuml;tzowufer </em>in the few days we spent in Berlin.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">A kind of public-discourse consensus now exists that Climate Change is a bad thing. In a certain logical formulation one might put this as meaning: &lsquo;regardless what residual discomfort the notion of Climate Change may hold for some people, <em>if indeed </em>it is occurring then it would bring disaster to many, especially those in the poorest parts of the world&rsquo;. Another way of saying this is that if Climate Change forecasts come to pass, this planet in the future will certainly be a worse place than it is now.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">Indur claims that <em>according to the very reports and figures </em>(the latter especially) based upon which that assertion is usually made, the opposite is true!<span> </span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal">He produced several analyses of the Stern Review&rsquo;s numbers which strongly indicate that in the forecast being adduced the warmest scenario (A1F1) also yields the most favourable economic indicators at least until 2100.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">Indur has a respectable number of <a href="http://members.cox.net/igoklany/" target="_blank">publications </a>to his credit that make this case in rigorous fashion. His prescriptions in view of the foregoing analysis are oriented in favour of &lsquo;improving the adaptive capacity&rsquo; of the most vulnerable regions in the world since by so doing existing problems that are merely exacerbated, rather than created, in the forecasted scenarios will also be addressed.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">According to him the full mitigation strategy suggested by Stern-type analyses (such as the Fast-Track Assessment) lead to reduced adaptive capacity in the poorest countries for the reason that it lowers overall global growth. He takes particular issue with the notion of poorer present-day generations underwriting risks for the benefit of richer future generations. In his view this is both philosophically and economically untenable.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">Of course this line of reasoning is controversial, and other speakers had their own ideas, but it is also intellectually provoking. I am a bad ventriloquist, so those genuinely interested should check out Indur&rsquo;s own <a href="http://members.cox.net/igoklany/" target="_blank">writings</a>.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">In a closely-related development, I endured the agony of sitting through some tired-sounding presentations about the use of &lsquo;market&rsquo; instruments to address the climate change crisis, to wit: <a href="cei.org/gencon/004,01639.cfm" target="_blank">emissions trading</a>.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">My conviction is hardening that emissions trading is probably not market-based at all. I understand its <a href="http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/may2001/2001-05-30-02.asp">proponents </a>claim for it political market status, since the underlying exchange mechanism is created by governments. O well. Maybe we can solve tobacco &lsquo;addiction&rsquo; by auctioning off &lsquo;rights to smoke&rsquo; as well. I am just a wee bit skeptical. A market, in my admittedly old-fashioned view, should have some underlying asset-utility loop based upon which voluntary exchange (and even speculation) revolves around the eventual maximization of inter-party welfare. Government-created negative-obligations seem like a very weird sort of asset-class.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">I know. I know. You are probably whispering &lsquo;mortgage-backed derivatives&rsquo; or some such delight. But perhaps that&rsquo;s my point exactly.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">Well, whatever. Just random musings from the <em>L&uuml;tzowufer</em>.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p>