Brad DeLong’s Prescription for Battling Climate Change

by mpabst - April 16, 2010

Sunshades will not save us from global warming... solar panels will

Economics blogger J. Bradford DeLong for national governments (hat tip, FT�s Energy Source) to act on climate change after the Copenhagen talks fell apart. DeLong apparently is not one of those who believes that Copenhagen could actually turn out to be a success.

DeLong puts forth a simple, four-point plan that cuts right to the heart of the issue, though his first point is terribly misguided (see below.)

1) Pour money like water into research into closed-carbon and non-carbon energy technologies in order to maximize the chance that we will get lucky�on energy technologies at least, if not on climate sensitivity.

2) Beg the rulers of China and India to properly understand their long-term interests

3) Nationalize the energy industry in the United States.

4) Restrict future climate negotiations to a group of seven�the U.S., the E.U., Japan, China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil�and enforce their agreement by substantial and painful trade sanctions on countries that do not accept their place in the resulting negotiated system.

Point two is worth pursuing. Point three is pure fantasy. Point four is possible � the agreement that came out of Copenhagen was largely between China and the U.S., with some Brazil and India thrown into the mix.

What is really troubling here is point one (you’ll have to click on DeLong’s original post to see his elaboration on the point).

DeLong�s point about research is one of those terribly misguided, Freakonomics-type ideas that should be abhorrent to thinking people.

Here, we�ll channel Climate Progress�s Joe Romm: It isn�t necessary to find �a technological magic bullet� or the �8,000 mile in diameter sunshade� to fix our problems.

We merely need to scale up and deploy existing technology.

Talking about throwing money away on space age technology is a distraction that makes the technology we have today seem inadequate for the task. It really isn�t.

Photo: Courtesy Roger Angel, UA Steward Observatory

Leave a Reply