- Paperback: 436 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2010 edition (October 29, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521138566
- ISBN-13: 978-0521138567
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.8 x 9.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,516,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Smart Solutions to Climate Change: Comparing Costs and Benefits 2010th Edition
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"Clean energy is essential to our addressing the carbon climate problem. This research shows clearly that we must prime the pump on innovation now with increased funding for research and development, while putting incentives in place that allow the resulting new technologies to compete successfully in the marketplace." - Bill Gates
"This book of research challenges readers to consider the costs and benefits of different responses to global warming. It introduces an important - and seldom heard - economic perspective to this policy discussion. The wealth of data and provocative arguments presented here make 'Smart Solutions to Climate Change' a valuable resource for policy-makers, NGOs, academics, students, and everybody who is interested in learning more about the economic realities that face us as we confront this challenge." - Douglass C. North, Washington University in St Louis, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences
"This book provides not only a reservoir of information on the reality of human induced climate change, but raises vital questions and examines viable options on what can be done to meet the challenge. In the introduction itself Bjorn Lomborg catalogues the impacts of climate change, highlighting the problem of sea level rise, pressure on water resources, and declining food production in some countries, ' possibly becoming a source of societal conflict'. It allows different authors to articulate their views on a range of solutions, and then leaves the book's readers to form their own conclusions on what might be the best set of actions to adopt. Even though its pages present a diversity of options, at the end the average reader would stand better informed, and would have formed his or her own compelling logic on the answer to this planet's problem of climate change. I would recommend this book as much for the fact that Lomborg supports the view that we have 'long moved on from any mainstream disagreements about the science of climate change', as for the rich diversity of analysis it presents on a range of possible solutions." - Rajenda K. Pachauri, Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
"In an environmental field where positions are too often frozen in orthodoxy-on the left and on the right-Bjorn Lomborg provides a much needed fresh perspective, grounded in a realism that still avoids pessimism. His work with the Copenhagen Climate Consensus is a vital, solution-oriented contribution to the economics of global warming-and the many other problems facing a growing planet." - Bryan Walsh, Time
"The bad news is that the world seems poised to spend vast sums on ineffective global warming policies. The good news is that Bjorn Lomborg and the Copenhagen Consensus Center bring together the best advice from leading experts on smart ways to address climate change. The public and policymakers should take heed." - Ronald Bailey, Science Correspondent, Reason Magazine
"A constructive book that focuses seriously on finding effective ways to combat global warming, and the differences of opinions it expresses are stimulating and enlightening [...] Smart Solutions marks symbolically the end of one stage of thinking about climate change and the beginning of another." - Nature
Thought-provoking contribution to the debate about how to respond to the threat of global warming. Presents authoritative economic analysis of the costs and benefits of a very wide range of policy options and invites readers to form their own conclusions about which ones make most sense.
Top customer reviews
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Important understanding of the economic consequences of decisions
I am not a Bjorn Lomborg fan. I think his approach (i) conceals a great deal of bias and (ii) depends on economic models for decision making that have been proven to be misleading. I also think it fairly easy to debunk the Expert Panel Ranking at the end of the book. Unsurprisingly, the rankings are done by economists.
That said, I found this book very valuable. It is full of interesting and challenging perspectives, provides access to some useful data, and makes some effort to tell more than one side of the story. At this point in the climate change debate we should be looking for different opinions and different approaches to solutions. This book is one place to start.
Solutions considered -
- Climate Engineering
- Carbon Dioxide Mitigation
- Forestry Carbon Sequestration
- Black Carbon Mitigation
- Methane Mitigation
- Market and Policy Driven Adaptation (interesting that these are considered together, and I think the best way to think about these two alternatives is to think about them together)
- Technology-Led Climate Policy
- Technology Transfer
Expert Panel Ranking (all of the 'experts' are economists)
If $250 billion were to be invested how would one rank the proposals as candidates for investment?
- Marine cloud whitening research
- Energy R&D
- Stratospheric Aerosol Insertion Research
- Carbon Storage Research
- Planning for adaptation
- Research into air capture
- Technology transfers
- Expand and protect forests
- Stoves in developing nations
- Methane reduction portfolio
- Diesel vehicle emissions
- $20 OECD carbon tax
- Global CO2 taxes of various levels
It is revealing that this group of economists gravitates to climate engineering solutions. They make the surprising claim that these research projects "reduce the risk of pork barrel politics and lower transaction costs." This is just stupid. These kids of research and massive technology interventions into ecologies are prime examples of pork-barrel politics. To propose a set of untested technologies that depend on unpredictable interventions into ecosystems is a stunning act of hubris. It is fascinating that this group of economists wants us to rely on technology solutions and wants to keep away from capturing externalities. Basically, this book is a sophisticated effort to prevent any real action on climate change.
One area that is worth calling out thought is Adaptation. At this point, some degree of climate change is inevitable and it is important that we begin to look at how we build resilient societies and economies and societies. Some people don't want to talk about adaptation as they fear that this will take pressure off efforts to deal with the problem at source. But it is already too late for that, we have to begin to adapt and we need to research (and discuss) what that means. The actual chapter on Market- and Policy-Driven Adaptation by Bosello, Carraro and De Cian was a disappointment. It did not go into the nature of the adaptations or even to the nature of adaptive mechanisms. But the authors appear to be economists, and the range of alternatives they imagine is limited.
All in all, this book can help to inform discussion as long as one understands its limitations - it is by economists, with a very narrow range of reference, with a bias towards technology solutions, the complexity of which they seem to be ill equipped to understand.
I have scrutinized the contents carefully and placed an extensive review/criticism on the following address:
The overall conclusion is that the book is biased towards downplaying the severity of climate change and the need to cut carbon dioxide emissions. The increasing risk of weather catastrophes is left out of crucial computer models. Placing a tax on carbon emissions is presented as a very poor idea. This is based on chapter 2 written by Richard Tol, in which the damages from climate change (the social cost of carbon) are estimated by a computer model at a level so low that it is a complete outlier relative to other estimates, including those published and reviewed by Tol himself. This biased output then allows a panel of economists to conclude that carbon taxation has a very low benefit-cost-ratio. Thus, although many experts assert that high fuel prices are necessary to produce a 'price signal' that will induce the necessary innovation of energy technology, the book manages to delete such necessary carbon taxes from the portfolio of recommendable solutions.