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Costs and Benefits

James Pethokoukis calls it Al Gore’s $307 Trillion Gamble, pointing out the costs of actions and the benefits of inaction on global warming:

In one of its occasional assessments, the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change—the cowinner with Al Gore of the Nobel Peace
Prize—posited a scenario in which the global economy would grow at
about 2 percent a year for the next 100 years (it’s growing at more
than twice that pace currently) with "fragmented" and "slow" per capita
economic growth and technological change.

Indeed, it is just this scenario that was used by the influential
Stern Report on the economic impact of climate change. By the year
2100, the size of the global economy would be $243 trillion. However,
there is another IPCC scenario. It imagines "a future world of very
rapid economic growth, low global population growth that peaks in
mid-century and declines thereafter, and the rapid introduction of new
and more efficient technologies." According to this story line, the
global economy would grow at 3.5 percent per year, giving us a $550
trillion global economy in the year 2100, more than twice the size of
the economy assumed in the first scenario.

I don’t know about you, but give me a century of accelerating
technological change and $300 trillion to pay for it, and there are few
problems that would keep me up at night. So the question is: Which
policies will get us there?


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