By Paul Homewood
h/t Robin Guenier
Ben Pile writes about the $90 trillion ransom demand from Nick Stern and his climate cronies:
… a major international initiative to examine how countries can achieve economic growth while dealing with the risks posed by climate change. The Commission comprises former heads of government and finance ministers and leaders in the fields of economics and business, and was commissioned by seven countries – Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Norway, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom – as an independent initiative to report to the international community.
But it’s not ‘independent’ in any meaningful sense, it being commissioned by governments, and only accessible to appointees that are pathologically on-message. And it speaks — ‘reports’ — to a ‘community’ that is dominated by people of the same mind, who are categorically remote from the vast masses they enjoy privilege over. The space occupied by the global climate aristocracy is untroubled by debate, the contest of ideas or the scrutiny of evidence.
Hence we see Nick Stern listed as a member of the commission, and Grantham’s vanity project, which Stern Chairs, but which the public mostly funds, listed as a ‘partner’ organisation of the report…
The report’s headline figure is that the world could realise $26 trillion dollars of benefit over the next 12 years by doing what Stern and his chums say.
Needless to say, this seems implausible to me. The 65 million ‘additional low carbon jobs’ generated by 2030 would be the equivalent of a low carbon job for every adult and child in the UK. What economic geniuses never admit about “creating jobs” is that, although we all want everybody to have a job, jobs are a cost. If 65 million people are added to a labour force to produce exactly the same function as 65 million fewer people, then the workforce has become less efficient with respect to labour and capital. The figure is only of interest to political hacks in search of a fiefdom. Everyone else will be stumping up the cash to pay for the inefficiency.
Ditto, the $2.8 trillion raised ‘in carbon price revenues and fossil fuel subsidy savings to reinvest in public priorities’ are not a net benefit. Especially so since many of the ‘subsidy savings’ were not direct subsidies at all, but are reduced rates of VAT (or equivalents) the consumer pays. For instance, the VAT paid on domestic energy by the British consumer is 5%, compared with the standard rate of 20% for most goods. The “new cliamte economy” will charge you more for energy. It’s that simple.
And higher GDP? Well, it all sounds nice, but for the $30 trillion of unlikely benefits the Global Commission claims will be realised by 2030, it is demanding a commitment to $90 trillion now. Let us write the figure in full:
$90 trillion is a lot of money. There are 7.442 billion people in the world. This means the Global Commission is asking for $12,093 per person. The world Bank — where Nick Stern used to work, after having been given a job by his brother — informs that global GDP per capita is $10,714. In other words, the Global Comission want more than a year’s worth of labour from the entire population of the planet to realise its goal. One has to admire the ambition, and the frank admission about what it is they want to create…
This is our ‘use it or lose it’ moment. Investing the expected US$90 trillion to 2030 to build the right infrastructure now will deliver a new era of economic growth. Investing it wisely will help drive innovation, deliver public health benefits and inclusive growth, create a host of new jobs and go a long way to tackling the risks of runaway climate change. Getting it wrong, on the other hand, will lock us into a high-polluting, low productivity, and deeply unequal future.
Decisive action now will clearly yield a far more attractive and less dangerous future, and it will require strong and concerted leadership. The purpose of this Report is to lay out what it will take and to demonstrate how acceleration can be achieved. It is to inform and give impetus to economic decision-makers—finance and economic ministers, business leaders, and investors—equipping them with the arguments and the evidence to drive the transformation.
It should be read as more than just a Report. It is a manifesto for how we can turn better growth and a better climate into reality, for how we can carry this call to action into board rooms, through the halls of government and over the airwaves. We must consciously and conscientiously legislate, innovate, govern, and invest our way to a fairer, safer, more sustainable world.
It is a manifesto. Indeed, it is a manifesto. It is a manifesto that its authors will not debate, will not accept any challenge to, and which they do not intend to subject to democratic contest. Yet they want more than a full month of every person’s labour, per year, for the next twelve years.
One might think, then, given the vast sums of money demanded, and the extraordinary commitment required, that the Global Commission would have been very careful in putting together its argument.
Read the full post here.
Ben goes on to dismantle the Report’s claims that extreme weather events are increasing, which are entirely based on the International Disaster Database. As I have shown before, this gives an impression of disasters increasing which in reality is simply due to more reporting of events nowadays.
If I were to author a demand for $90,000,000,000,000, I would make damn sure I had bullet proof statistics. As it happens, I took half a day off work to produce this blog post. I do not enjoy the patronage of billionaires like Jeremy Grantham. I do not have the backing of Western governments and boatloads of their civil servants. I am not invited to take part in any UN agency’s business. I have no corporate sponsors. I am not best mates with the world’s top climate scientists.
And yet, even I can see that the ransom note issued by Stern and his pals is utter BS.
The cost of Stern’s manifesto is extraordinary, and the case for it is extremely weak. Yet no research organisations will be rushing to question the data, much less the motives. Few newspapers will be wondering what is the ideology underpinning the Commission’s manifesto, let alone where the money will come from.
Call me a crazy, conspiracy-theorising climate change denier, but I don’t think demands for $90 trillion on the basis of such low quality data are produced by people acting in good faith. I think their motives should be questioned, their claims challenged, and their data scrutinised. That the likes of Stern and the Global Commission on the Economy and the Climate go unchallenged, routinely, is an extremely worrying fact of contemporary politics.
Well worth a read.
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September 7, 2018 at 05:13AM