One curious thing about those who are determined to avoid the emergence of effective climate change policies is how they argue that climate science is far too uncertain to serve as the basis for decision-making, while simultaneously claiming that their economic models prove that going low-carbon will produce certain economic ruin. That claim is especially poorly defended over the long-term, given that economic models cannot effectively incorporate the consequences of technology and capital changes across a span of decades. Also, the idea that fossil fuel based prosperity will be everlasting faces a fundamental challenge from the scarcity of those fuels, and the political volatility of many of the regions in which they are found.
Near-term data also suggests that Canadian companies can cut emissions without suffering economic ruin. According to Tyler Hamilton’s blog:
[Canada’s] Top 10 industrial CO2 emitters reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 9 per cent in 2008 compared to 2007. At the same time, the Canadian economy grew by 0.5 per cent. Given that the impacts of the economic downturn were felt mostly in 2009, an even greater drop is expected this year. Canada’s Top 350 emitters reduced greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 6 per cent during the same period.
Of course, that does not prove, in and of itself, that effective climate change policies would be painless in terms of costs or jobs. Still, just as the onus must be on climate scientists to both refine their models and acknowledge their limitations, those who assert that good climate policies will be economically ruinous must address both evidence and arguments that suggest that this may not be so.