24 September 2008
Colin Robinson discusses his latest book on climate change policy – Climate Change Policy: Challenging the Activists. He argues that there is currently a consensus amongst the political establishment – and amongst the intellectual communities that feed into it – that detailed and wide-ranging government intervention is necessary to combat the effects of climate change. In this recent book he challenges that consensus. The authors look in detail at a number of the underlying assumptions and proposals of the policy activists and find that there is enormous uncertainty relating both to the economics and to the science of climate change. As one author shows, the policy activists have form: alarmists have been wrong, time and time again, about ecological disasters. However, the authors of this monograph have more humility than their critics. They do not argue that there is no threat from climate change, merely that the level of uncertainty is huge. Given this uncertainty, and the historic failure of central planning to do anything other than undermine economic welfare, the editor, Colin Robinson, one of the country’s leading energy economists, argues that it is prudent to proceed with caution. The flexibility of the market economy will deal better than central planning with any problems arising from man-made climate change. The wide ranging array of regulations, taxes, subsidies and artificially created incentives proposed by climate change activists should be rejected.