Essentially, they argue that there is too much uncertainty about the costs and we can’t quantify them, so it is better to just accept the targets for emissions cuts as a given and argue about how to achieve them, write a blank cheque for climate policy.
And what kind of size is this "blank cheque"?
William Nordhaus, Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale, isn’t a climate sceptic. He has spent decades refining his model of the economic effects of climate change. When he applied the 2007 version of that model to the recommendations from the Stern Review produced for the last government, he found that the plan would reduce climate change harms by about $14 trillion, but at a cost of nearly $28 trillion. The cure would be worse than the disease.
Matthew's point—though it might seem crazy to your average sandal-wearing, tofu-eating Greenie wack-job—is really rather simple: he simply argues that the benefits of the action that we take should outweigh the cost.
... politicians need to be more realistic. Investment in research and development to make low carbon energy cheaper is a more realistic prospect than a global deal to make energy from fossil fuels more expensive. The best way to ensure than Britain can cope with climate change is to bet on growth, and build a country rich and free enough to survive whatever the climate throws at it.
Indeed, as your humble Devil has blogged many times, this is precisely the course recommended by the IPCC, in their Special Economic Scenarios—specifically the A1 family.
In this family of scenarios, not only are the Western nations rich enough to deal with the possible effects of catastrophic climate change, but the developing countries are too. In fact, the scenario predicts the end of any difference in general affluence between countries at all.
It seems, however, that our Greenie chums not only have little interest in ensuring that the poor of the world remain poor—they want to ensure that that everyone else lives in grinding fucking poverty too.
Which is why these Gaia-worshipping nutters are little better than common murderers...