Saturday, December 12, 2009

Where Andrew Coyne gets it wrong on the environment

In his column on , Andrew Coyne expertly does away with many fallacious arguments vis a vis climate change. However, he is misleading on the costs of not acting on climate change due to his solely economic approach to the potential effects of this inaction.

Coyne refers to the Stern report, a report made for the UK government on the costs of global warming in 2006. According to the report, a rise in temperature of three degrees will reduce GDP a century from now by 0 to 3%.

This is misleading because it avoids our moral responsibility to those who will suffer as a result of this rise in temperature. Those in the developing world will suffer the most, and for the majority of the developing world, they have had infinitesimal roles in bringing this warming and the natural disasters that will result. We are making others suffer for us.

Furthermore it threatens the necessities of life, such as accessibility to food and water, as well as general health. These are in turn potential sources of conflict.

The cost therefore of climate change cannot be only approached from an economic point of view. There is also the moral aspect of it to consider, one which when omitted renders the problem more trivial than it really is.
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