Eli Rabbet is a guy who (probably) accurately claims is a professor of gas physics at an American university and a strong proponent of AGW and mitigation. Nothing wrong with that as you could pick them up with a rake at any university around the world. I like reading his stuff though because he has a very dry wit and his put downs are to die for. He referred to Viscount Monckton and the Discount Viscount which is one of the best put downs I’ve read in a while. He is also one of the few guys who is a climate scientist and doesn’t do climate science blogging by bibliography or links to himself. If I were half as good as he was in the put-down stakes I would feel 3 times better about myself when it’s time to count the winnings and see who won the game of life. Anyway sometime ago he came up with what first appeared to be a very cute well-reasoned counter to the adaption argument vs mitigation for AGW .
Let professor Rabbet tell it best:
Eli would once again remind everyone about J. Willard Rabett’s four laws
J. Willard sent Eli a set of laws to guide climate change policy makers
1. Adaptation responds to current losses.
2. Mitigation responds to future losses
3. Adaptation plus future costs is more expensive than mitigation,
4. Adaptation without mitigation drives procrastination penalties to infinity.
J. Willard thinks adaptation has an important role to play, but by itself adaptation is worse than useless, it actually can make things worse by delaying mitigation. While John McCormick thinks no serious person would suggest adaptation without mitigation, there are a lot of clowns out there with megaphones and pockets full of cash
Anyone see a weakness in Rabbets mitigation/adapation laws? Not a trick question by the way
If Professor Rabbet has a weakness it’s that he thinks Professor Krugman is brimming with novel economics ideas that international trade will fall 17% (exact science noted here) because of rising energy prices. He is of course forgiven for relying on Krugman seeing the NYTimes may be freely distributed in campus salons and possibly spends most of his time in a lab trying to prevent the kids from blowing themselves up rather than reading a few books on the dismal science
Let me put up my argument first seeing I was good enough to post the subject so that you can all pick holes in it.
Points 1&2 appear correct.
Point 3 is bullshit, as we don’t know the 100 -year (baseline) cost of AGW in order to compare.
Point 4 makes a startling error of omission as it shows zero allowance for new technology uptake.
(My) Example : the US would have a much larger nuclear reactor energy mix if it wasn’t for the phobias created by our fury little friends hiding in the green shadows so “mitigation” would have been a naturally occurring valuable economic activity in the US by now. Some estimates suggest the US would be 70% nuke if it wasn’t for the short upper cut from the reaction the Three Mile Island.
Technology (although uneven in the short term) has an obvious steady compound rate of improvement over an ocean of time such as 100 years.
If we use a productivity rate of 2.5% over 100 years on a base of 100 the compound growth rate would look like 1181 over the period which is a 12 fold increase (and could be used as a marker for technological improvement over that time).
In other words creating faster accelerated deprecation allowances for capital machinery, allowing nuclear energy that isn’t choked regulations wise and going for mitigation on the cheap such as introducing massive re-forestation programs through voluntary contributions could allow us to have our cake and eat too, without Sterns very stern mitigation costs.
*re-forestation idea lifted from Mark Hill’s comments at various blogs.