The Kyoto Negotiations on Climate Change: An Economic Perspective
Fewer countries have devoted more time and verbosity to the construction of an ‘‘alternative energy system’’ than Sweden, and fewer have less to show for it. Now it appears that a Swedish-type energy model although it is a travesty of economic logic has been partially adopted by the Kyoto Conference on Climate Change (or COP 3). In this article I attempt to extend some of the comments on environmental matters that I make in my forthcoming textbook, Energy Economics: A Modern Introduction (Banks, 2000). This includes clarifying why it seems reasonable to accept the position of Gelbspan (1997) and others that climate warming may constitute a genuine danger to this planet. On the other hand, given the levels of unemployment, underemployment, and even poverty in many parts of the world, I see no point in amateurish experimentation with low-energy scenarios, nor an exaggerated faith in ‘‘alternative technologies.’’ For the present, within a framework of stricter environmental controls, energy consumption must continue to expand.
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