Tuesday, October 27, 2009

On Global Warming and Cooling

From an essay from a new book:

1. If the Earth’s warming leads to global catastrophe, that would be a really bad outcome.


2. Even when there is enormous uncertainty about the likelihood of future cataclysms, it makes sense to invest now in finding ways to avoid such cataclysms.


3. Economists estimate that the costs of reducing carbon emissions are likely to be upwards of $1 trillion per year.


The correct answer to all three of these economic questions is “TRUE.” These are the three key economic facts that are critical to the arguments in our chapter. The first question doesn’t require any further explanation. The answer to the second question has been hammered home by Martin Weitzman’s work in the area, which we cite in SuperFreakonomics, as well as a newer paper that Weitzman has written. The third fact is based on the analysis of Nicholas Stern. These cost estimates are obviously highly speculative, but the true cost of reducing carbon emissions is likely to be within two orders of magnitude of this number.
The essay is at: Global Warming Fact Quiz

The book is

Buy new: $29.99 $16.47
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It is what happens when applied statisticians get loose.