Schelling is owed an apology (Lomborg too)

John Quiggin writes that "The wheels are coming off Bjorn Lomborg’s attempt to undermine the Kyoto Protocol," citing an Economist article for indicating that some members are dissenting and reiterating his claim that the Copenhagen Consensus was rigged against climate change.  Methinks it is Quiggin who has prejudged the issue.

In his earlier article Quiggin complained that the panel and the climate change opponents were rigged.  In particular he noted:

[T]he members of the Copenhagen panel were generally towards the right and, to the extent that they had stated views, to be opponents of Kyoto. Indeed, Lomborg’s argument that spending to mitigate climate change would be better directed to aid projects was first put forward by Thomas Schelling, one of the Copenhagen panellists.

Now consider what the Economist article has to say.  True, it notes, "Now, some members of the Consensus are dissenting."  Who you might ask?  Why it’s…Thomas Schelling!

Again from the earlier article, Quiggin attacked the opponents of the climate change paper writing:

The same lack of balance was evident in the selection of ‘opponents’. For Robert Cline’s paper on climate change, Lomborg picked vigorous opponents of Kyoto, Robert Mendelsohn and Alan Manne, and the result was an acrimonious debate.

But who does Quiggin have the temerity to cite as another dissenter?  Why it’s… Robert Mendelsohn! 

Quiggin doesn’t explain why Mendelsohn and Schelling are offering their (mild) dissent – it’s not because they are in favor of spending lots of money on global warming.  Rather, it’s because they think that the author of the climate change chapter, William Cline, exagerates the costs of global warming and proposes far too costly solutions.

Thus, believe it or not, the new theory of how Lomborg rigged the climate change study is that he chose someone to write the global climate change chapter who was too strong an proponent of its importance!  Give me a break.

Bottom line is that the the so-called dissent reinforces the Copenhagen Consensus which is that modest steps to combat global warming may be justified (Mendelsohn proposes an initial carbon tax of $2 to Cline’s $150) but that there are many other more worthwhile development goals.



Comments for this post are closed