There is currently a consensus amongst the political establishment – and amongst the intellectual communities that feed into it – that detailed and wide-ranging government intervention is necessary to combat the effects of climate change. This monograph challenges that consensus.
The authors look in detail at a number of the underlying assumptions and proposals of the policy activists and find that there is enormous uncertainty relating both to the economics and to the science of climate change. As one author shows, the policy activists have form: alarmists have been wrong, time and time again, about ecological disasters.
However, the authors of this monograph have more humility than their critics. They do not argue that there is no threat from climate change, merely that the level of uncertainty is huge. Given this uncertainty, and the historic failure of central planning to do anything other than undermine economic welfare, the editor, Colin Robinson, one of the country’s leading energy economists, argues that it is prudent to proceed with caution. The flexibility of the market economy will deal better than central planning with any problems arising from man-made climate change. The wide ranging array of regulations, taxes, subsidies and artificially created incentives proposed by climate change activists should be rejected.
Foreword by Bruno Prior
1. Climate change and the market economy by Colin Robinson
2. Global alarmism by Russell Lewis
3. Climate change, centralised action and markets by Colin Robinson
4. Governments and climate change issues: questioning a consensus by David Henderson
5. Weighing the present against the future: the choice, and use, of rates of discount in the analysis of climate change by Ian Byatt
6. Climate change, religion and human freedom by Alan Peacock
7. Which policy to address climate change? by Julian Morris
2008, Hobart Papers, ISBN 978 0 255 36595 6, 161pp, PB
Other publications on environmental issues
Global Greens, Global Governance by James Sheehan and Jeremy Rabkin.
Climate Alarmism Reconsidered by Robert L. Bradley Jr.
Global Warming False Alarms (web publication) by Russell Lewis
Climate change articles on the IEA blog