Brad DeLong shows again why he’s a professor and I’m not. When I read Bjorn Lomborg I just stew at his well-documented inaccuracies and how off target he is. DeLong provides an invaluable three points that actually turn Lomborg’s scepticism into something worthwhile.
“The managers and shareholders of companies like Halliburton that will gain from inaction on global warming are a different and distinct group from the tropical peasants who stand to lose their health and their lives. Any claim that ‘instead of Kyoto we should be doing X’ has to be accompanied by a plan to actually do X. Otherwise, the claim that inaction on global warming enhances world welfare is likely to be very false indeed, as it is hard to believe that on the scale of human happiness higher incomes in the global north will outweigh nastier, more brutish, and shorter lives in the global south. It is one thing to say that the resources the Kyoto Protocol wants to use to fight global warming could be used to provide first-class public health and economic infrastructure to the global south. It is another to say that these resources, instead, will be used to get every American household a second DVD player and every tenth American household a power boat.”