Jan 10, 2010

Climatologists are Super Smart! [LINK]

From an article, by Robert Frank in the New York Times, on the response of the great economist Ronald Coase to the problem of carbon dioxide abatement:

Climate scientists agree that the cheapest way to combat global warming is to curb carbon dioxide emissions. And economists agree that the cheapest way to do that is by changing emitters’ incentives, either by taxing emissions or requiring emission permits.

At least this odd sequence of statements doesn't suggest economists agree that the cheapest way to combat global warming is to curb carbon dioxide emissions. Nowhere in the article is there any sign that Coase himself was asked this more fundamental question.

Frank finds it "puzzling" that conservatives and libertarians who have made Coase their "patron saint" world object to either carbon taxes or cap-and-trade proposals, which are based on Coase's pioneering work. But one can simultaneously believe that these proposals offer the best way to reduce CO2, but that reducing CO2 is not the most efficient way to address global warming.

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