Monday, July 27, 2009

The Core Narrative of Climate Change – 7

Here, I wrote last week, is a truth that few dare to speak – growth may pit the interests of the poor in the Developing World against others. Not others in the Developed World but in the Developing World itself. If that is the case we need to know the numbers and also ask if the numbers should count. But wait! Doesn’t everyone loose when it comes to climate change – rich and poor? Not necessarily. Let’s being by considering individuals … albeit hypothetical individuals. Suppose my household economy is improved only by causing climate change – because of the economy-energy function. Suppose I am net worse off in the new climate even though I am richer. (eg. $1000 pa in 450ppm versus $2000 in 550ppm.) But that is not the end of the story IF I am better off @ $2000 relative to other more prevalent “stressors” in my environment (level of nutrition, health care I can afford, education I can afford etc) AND that improvement is greater than the net negative climate effect. So, for example, the probability of my offspring reaching a productive age, in my $2000 pa household may be improved even though it is associated with higher ppm which have adverse effect on that outcome. Might this hypothetical turn out to be real?

1 comment:

Gene said...

Hello Professor Bunzl.

I understand that it is quite difficult to enter into a developing train of thought in later stages - and I have not read every entry in your blog - however, it offers the unframed opportunity to comment. So, respectfully, I am.

It seems to me that your hypothetical is irrelevant unless you show that it is possible and have defined the terms in which you can be better off at 550ppm. For example, if all US ports, a number of hydro-electric dams and the Mississippi system are radically changed, wouldn't the economic displacement be so significant that a condition of "better off" is unlikely?