Earlier, I reported on the searing critique of the media’s coverage of global warming, especially climate economics, by a leading journalist (see How the press bungles its coverage of climate economics — “The media’s decision to play the stenographer role helped opponents of climate action stifle progress”).
Now the award-winning Eric Pooley, former national editor of Time, has a must-read piece in Slate, “Surprise–Economists Agree! A consensus is emerging about the costs of containing climate change. So why is no one writing that?” Pooley notes that among climate economists “there is a broad consensus that the cost of climate inaction would greatly exceed the cost of climate action–it’s cheaper to act than not to act.” There is also a consenus that preserving a livable climate is not a budget buster.
If I have one critique of the Pooley piece is that he doesn’t note that the IPCC, which reviews the whole literature in its definitive 2007 Fourth Assessment report (see here), concludes:
In 2050, global average macro-economic costs for mitigation towards stabilisation between 710 and 445ppm CO2-eq are between a 1% gain and 5.5% decrease of global GDP. This corresponds to slowing average annual global GDP growth by less than 0.12 percentage points.
But how is that possible? How can the world’s leading governments, scientifists, and economic experts agree that we can avoid catastrophe for such a small cost?