Monday, November 06, 2006

Contra Mundum

I haven't read the Stern Review Report on the Economics of Climate Change yet, and - while I must praise HM Treasury for making it available online here - there is some perverse impulse in me that whispers that anything that appears to have won the cross bench blessing of so many of the great and good must be wrong.

Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist, weighs in for the opposition in the Wall Street Journal here.

I sympathise with his point about discount rates. I've seen these plucked from the air - in the way that carbon dioxide isn't - and used to prove almost anything in terms of net present value for cashflows projected deep into the future, but as I said I have a lot of background reading to do before I can even begin to have a robust opinion about this.

Later, data; I propose a period of quiet contemplation, an idea that will probably be an anathema to the hot house flowers of the blogosphere.

If the first section of Yeats' 'Second Coming' was brought to mind when I brooded on Sudan last week, the second part fits climate change apocalypse with which we are being threatened:
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight; somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
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