Richard Tol: Climate Economics Book Available For Open Review

Posted: January 21, 2013 by tallbloke in Analysis, books, climate, Uncertainty

The energetic Richard Tol has completed the first draft of his new book, and made it available online for open review. Excellent work, and excellent idea. To gauge Richards attitude to the climate debate, this quote should suffice:

Climate research is rather controversial. Good introductions to the controversy are Mike Hulme’s book Why we disagree about climate change: Understanding controversy, inaction, and opportunity, Donna Laframboise’ book The delinquent teenager who was mistaken for the world’s top climate expert and Andrew W. Montford’s book The hockey stick illusion: Climategate and the corruption of science.

The book covers ‘official’ climate science as well as his own take on the  economics and more besides.

Grab a copy and let’s discuss it.

  1. Roger Andrews says:

    Richard Tol thinks that the best way to cut CO2 emissions is with carbon taxes that among other things stimulate the development of carbon-free energy generation sources like wind power.

    In practice, however, it works the other way round. Carbon taxes don’t give us more carbon-free energy; carbon-free energy give us more “stealth” carbon taxes.

    Take Denmark, the world leader in wind power generation (and residential electricity prices). Whenever more wind power comes on line residential consumption decreases. Wind power in Denmark acts just like a carbon tax, and a punitive one too. If current trends persist more than a few Danes will be freezing in the dark when the Danish government reaches its goal of 50% wind power by 2020.

  2. Lance Wallace says:

    Thanks Tallbloke for this notice. I got pretty excited about the new textbook and sent it off to a few friends before reading it. Then spent about 4 hours going through it. I made substantive comments on the first few sections, then when it got fully into economics limited myself to picking up typos and the like. I sent him my review a few hours ago.

    The most wonderful figure is 7.4, which provides a mean fit to the 14 studies that have calculated global net benefit/cost of warming. The fit stays above the line (net benefit) through the entire 2 C increase that we are told is the absolute upper limit before catastrophe occurs. In fact, it’s still a net benefit around 2.2 or 2.3 C!

    You might want to put this up for comments (I don’t know how to do that).

  3. tallbloke says:

    Lance: Thanks for your review. I haven’t found time, but I’d be happy to post your findings as a fresh article along with the graph. I’ll drop you an email to respond to with a word doc attached if you are up for it.

    I think some people miss Tol’s thrust, which is that even accepting the ‘physical science’ part of the IPCC report as a ‘given’ for the state of the climate and future scenarios, the impacts assessment and economics they push on the back of it doesn’t add up.

  4. Brian H says:

    Throughout, though he acknowledges the iffiness of the assumption, he uses the Precautionary claim that CO2 actually does cause warming. Absent this, it all falls down. He also denigrates the benefits of warming, and the comparative ease with which even moderately advanced societies adapt to a little warming, and even benefit. I.e., his benefit functions are ‘crippled’ up front. His net payoff/harm conclusions are thus baked-in.

    Same problem with Nordhaus, on whom he relies excessively.