Writing in the New Zealand Herald, economics columnist Brian Fallow comes close to summarising, in punchier and more coherent form, my own, dilettante-ish musings on climate change issues. Namely:
1. The obsession with the 'costs' of responding to climate change by moving to a lower-carbon economy fails to pay enough attention to the potential gains, some of which may be very large for the countries, companies and individuals who can come up with new technologies or ways of doing things.
2. As also argued by the likes of Bjorn Lomborg, developing countries have other important priorities to do with improving the material wellbeing of their citizens. Although developing countries will have to be brought within an emissions-reduction framework in the medium-term, rich countries need to do more, earlier. To take the attitude of 'we won't commit to anything until China does' is at best hypocritical.
3. The distinction, beloved by the likes of the Business Rountable's Roger Kerr, between the 'bureaucratic regulations' of Kyoto, and 'technological solutions', is a false one. The Kyoto targets and their associated bureaucratic systems are what incentivises the development of new and innovative technologies, by setting the market conditions in which innovations are rewarded. Picking winners, such as subsidising ethanol made from corn, is the real example of bureaucratic meddling, apparently intended more to protect current interests than to address the problem.