Leading Economist: Only Sure Way To Lower ‘CO2 Emissions Is To Make People Poor’
In an interview with flagship German business daily Handelsblatt here, Danish economist Björn Lomborg warned of the “inefficiency in climate protection” and says Germany is a “deterrent example” in this respect.
He told the Handelsblatt that the once highly praised “Energiewende” was “poorly implemented” and that the costs will be “gigantic.”
“Germany, with its promotion of renewable energies, is a particularly deterrent example in this respect. Such mismanagement adds up to gigantic additional costs,” said Lomborg.
Great doubts concerning costs
The high profile Danish economist also told the Handelsblatt that the goal of climate neutrality makes no economic sense, saying: “That is easy to say, but extremely difficult to implement. I have great doubts as to whether all these states will be able to answer the question of what it will cost in the end.”
Lomborg also told the Handelsblatt that bans would be counterproductive and that consumers will simply spend the money they save by not flying on other CO2-causing products. “The only sure way to reduce CO2 emissions is to make people poor.”
Technology is the key
Lomborg says that he supports a CO2 tax over the short-term to reduce CO2 emissions but that ultimately the only way will be through improved technology and not political measures. “We need innovations to combat climate change. That must be our first priority. […] The key then is innovation.”
Citizens will rise up against bans
Lomborg says technical innovation is better than demanding people pay 16% of GDP on climate protection. “People don’t want that. They will then vote for politicians like Trump or Bolsonaro.”
Only one percent comes from wind and sun
When it comes to wind and sun as a supply of energy, Lomborg says that ultimately the huge costs will have to be correctly taken into account and warns that they are far from being a cheap supply.
“You have to see the cost of the whole system. […] And we should not lose sight of the dimensions: According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), one percent of global energy demand is currently covered by wind and sun, while the IEA estimates that it will be about four percent by 2040,” Lomborg told the Handelsblatt.
Going it alone, shifting emissions “crazy”
And the Danish economist warns against Europe going it alone on CO2 reductions. If it does, “then the energy-intensive industry will disappear in the direction of the USA or Asia. It is crazy to drive the energy-intensive industry out of Europe and shift emissions to other regions of the world.”
Education and development
Lomborg also told the Handelsblatt that the best way to protect developing countries from climate change is to invest in their education and health care – so that they will be able to “get themselves out of sheet metal huts.” Storms wreak far greater damage on impoverished societies than in developed ones.
“If we lead people out of poverty, they will become less vulnerable to the consequences of climate change and to many other challenges. Yes, we must fight climate change, but we must do it intelligently,” said Lomborg.
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