A Free-Market Energy Blog

William Niskanen on Climate Change: Part VI, Conclusion, Postscript

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 21, 2018

“Some organizations and governments now appear likely to endorse an abatement strategy, largely for symbolic reasons, a strategy that will prove to be both costly and ineffective…. Until there is much better and broader understanding of this issue, a rush to judgement on the optimal response to the increase in global temperature is the greater danger.”

– William Niskanen, 2008

[Editor note: This completes a six-part series on the climate views of the late William Niskanen, taken from his Fall 1997 symposium essay, “Too Much, Too Soon: Is a Global Warming Treaty a Rush to Judgment?” as well as his 2008 postscript. Previous posts are:

  1. Part I: Key Questions
  2. Part II: Physical Science
  3. Part III: Moderate Warming Scenario
  4. Part IV: Why Regulate?
  5. Part V: Mitigation Issues

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Conclusion (1997)

Scientists have been correct to alert political officials about the possibility that a continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide may increase average global temperatures. 

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William Niskanen on Climate Change: Part V, Mitigation Issues

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 20, 2018

“A carbon tax of over $300 per ton would be necessary to reduce emissions to an annual rate consistent with stabilizing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”

“A number of leading economists … have made an effective case that the net cost of emissions controls could be much reduced by using the revenues from such taxes … to reduce the more misallocative provisions of our current tax code…. They are correct to make this point, but this is primarily a case for tax reform, not a case to finance this reform by large tax increases on fossil fuels.”

 – William Niskanen, Fall 1997

This excerpt in our series comes from Niskanen’s essay section, Would Governments Approve Effective Control Measures? The previous posts are listed in the footnote. [1]

The record to date does not provide a basis to expect the major governments to approve effective measures to control carbon dioxide emissions. 

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William Niskanen on Climate Policy: Part IV, Why Regulate?

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 19, 2018

[Editor note: This continues a series on the climate views of the late William Niskanen from his Fall 1997 symposium essay, “Too Much, Too Soon: Is a Global Warming Treaty a Rush to Judgment?” Last week’s posts were:

  1. Part I: Key Questions
  2. Part II: Physical Science
  3. Part III: Moderate Warming Scenario

Part IV today reprints his section, “What’s the Hurry,” followed by my concluding comment]

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“Since 1990, when [William] Nordhaus endorsed this approach, no substantial information has developed that would make the case for more comprehensive and costly measures such as a carbon tax or emissions permits.”

– William Niskanen, Fall 1997

“[A mandatory] abatement strategy … will prove to be both costly and ineffective…. [A] rush to judgement on the optimal response  to the increase in temperature is the greater danger [than adaptation].”

– William Niskanen, 2008 Postscript, Reflections of a Political Economist (Cato Institute), p.

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Energy & Environmental Newsletter: June 18, 2018

By -- June 18, 2018
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William Niskanen on Climate Change: Part III, Moderate Warming Scenario

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 14, 2018
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William Niskanen on Climate Change: Part II, Physical Science

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 13, 2018
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William Niskanen on Climate Change: Part I, Key Questions

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 12, 2018
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William A. Niskanen: Economist, Scholar, Foe of Political Capitalism

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 11, 2018
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Resourceship Unbound (US oil output record in light of mineral-resource theory)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 7, 2018
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Alarmist Holdren on Trump’s Paris Withdrawal (no, the sky isn’t falling)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 6, 2018
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