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

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 21, 2018 2 Comments

“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 No Comments

“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 1 Comment

[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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William Niskanen on Climate Change: Part III, Moderate Warming Scenario

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 14, 2018 3 Comments

[Editor notePart I presented the key questions regarding the climate-change issue from William Niskanen’s Fall 1997 symposium essay, “Too Much, Too Soon: Is a Global Warming Treaty a Rush to Judgment?.” Part II was Niskanen’s views on How Good is the Science of Global Warming? Part III today is his views on Should We Fear Some Moderate Warming?]

“On the whole, it is not yet clear whether some moderate warming should be a cause for concern. The balance of conditions suggests that moderate warming may generate net benefits to people in temperate regions and net costs to people in the tropics.”

“As now envisioned, however, the major costs of the measures presumed necessary to avoid global warming would be borne by people in the rich countries of temperate regions.

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William Niskanen on Climate Change: Part II, Physical Science

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 13, 2018 4 Comments Continue Reading

William Niskanen on Climate Change: Part I, Key Questions

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 12, 2018 5 Comments Continue Reading

William A. Niskanen: Economist, Scholar, Foe of Political Capitalism

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 11, 2018 3 Comments Continue Reading

William N. Niskanen: Economist, Scholar, and Foe of Political Capitalism

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- November 4, 2011 1 Comment Continue Reading

More Niskanen Center Misdirection: That Colorado Climate Lawsuit (Bookbinder, like Taylor, defining deviancy down)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- August 16, 2018 3 Comments Continue Reading

Jerry Taylor: Old vs. New (what would Bill Niskanen say?)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 1, 2015 8 Comments Continue Reading