The Cost of Carbon Denial

Each ton of carbon we use creates thousands of dollars of wealth.

Robert Zubrin writes at National Review:

So each ton of carbon denied to the world economy destroys about $6,700 worth of wealth. That is the difference between life and death for a Third World family. Seven tons denied corresponds to a loss of $47,000, or a good American job. Since 2007, the combination of high oil prices and a depressed economy has reduced the United States’ use of carbon in the form of oil by about 130 million tons per year. At a rate of $6,700 per ton, this corresponds to a GDP loss of $870 billion, equivalent to losing 8.7 million jobs, at $100,000 per year each. Were we to implement the program of the Kyoto treaty, and constrict global carbon use to 1990 levels, we would cut global GDP by $30 trillion per year, destroying an amount of wealth equal to the livelihood of half of the world’s population.

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One thought on “The Cost of Carbon Denial”

  1. Carbon dioxide is a byproduct of our current industrial systems. If we can produce the same amount of value without producing carbon dioxide, we still have the value — the carbon dioxide is a marker, not a producer of value in itself.
    We don’t know the optimal level of CO2 in the atmosphere any more than we know the “optimal” temperature, cloud pattern, rain cycles, levels of vegetation, and the trillion (literally) other factors that make up the ecosystem. We may have a richer plant biota from increased CO2 and some of those plants could be displacing native species. We simply know too little about the environment to tinker with it by using CO2.
    We do know that soot, solvents and other real pollutants should be minimized consistent with a decent standard of living for as many as possible. China’s rush to industrialize has a lot of problems and their pollution issues are among them.

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