Tuesday, November 03, 2009
What's The Real Cost Of Global Warming?
The leftish Brookings Institution and the U. S. Chamber of Commerce basically agree that the energy taxes in the House Waxman-Markey bill could total $9 trillion over ten years. As an economist, I look at these forecasts and wonder "How can we possibly know?" These estimates cover only the costs of the "user permits" that companies will have to buy. They don't even try to measure the massive reduction in our economic output as energy costs double and triple with scarcity. Let's look at a couple of "case studies": First, we use a lot of natural gas to make fertilizer, pulling 90 million tons per year of natural nitrogen from the air (which is 78% N). The world has only about one-third of the cow manure needed to nourish today's crops, so nitrogen fertilizer is feeding 2 billion of the world's 6.5 billion people through higher food yields per acre. Imagine that ten years from now the carbon taxes have eliminated half of the nitrogen fertilizer: global food production has fallen massively— say by 25–30 percent; world food prices have tripled; and storage bins are empty. What price would we pay to keep the other half of the nitrogen fertilizer so our kids won't starve?...read more