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The engineers are entirely correct here about climate change

Summary:
Sure and there’s a particular individual who keeps claiming the invention of this idea but it’s still a useful one. Worstall’s Fallacy - To measure what needs to be done without accounting for what is already done. If we were to measure income inequality purely by market incomes then we would be indulging in idiocy - what matters, if anything does, is how much inequality is there after the things we do to reduce inequality? Thus we measure post-tax and post-benefits inequality, not that of market incomes. Of course, when we come to wealth inequality we do indulge in idiocy because that is measured pre-tax and pre-welfare state terms but there we are.Another example is this from the engineers:Extinction Rebellion are ‘destructive’ and ‘unsupportive’ of technologies that already exist to

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Sure and there’s a particular individual who keeps claiming the invention of this idea but it’s still a useful one. Worstall’s Fallacy - To measure what needs to be done without accounting for what is already done. If we were to measure income inequality purely by market incomes then we would be indulging in idiocy - what matters, if anything does, is how much inequality is there after the things we do to reduce inequality? Thus we measure post-tax and post-benefits inequality, not that of market incomes.

Of course, when we come to wealth inequality we do indulge in idiocy because that is measured pre-tax and pre-welfare state terms but there we are.

Another example is this from the engineers:

Extinction Rebellion are ‘destructive’ and ‘unsupportive’ of technologies that already exist to tackle global warming, the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) has warned.

Ahead of a new report, calling for the rapid scaling up of Britain’s engineering biology sector, experts said that scientists and engineers were on the brink of solving many of the major problems linked to climate change and environmental pollution.

But they said many protesters were simply unaware of how much was already being done to tackle global issues, such as the development of specialist materials to clean up the oceans, green fuels, bugs being engineered to churn out biodegradable plastics, meat alternatives and even environmentally friendly hair dye.

There’s more to it than just this, much more. In the original projections of how much we should worry about all of this there were versions which assumed that we didn’t make solar panels cheap, didn’t work out how to build windmills, continued to use coal in vast quantities and so on and on. We have in fact changed those things, meaning that those more extreme projects (to taste, A1FI from the older set of models, RCP 8.5 from the newer) simply are not going to happen. They’re not part of our possible collective future.

Yet the shrieks of horror from the likes of Extinction Rebellion are based upon the idea that not only will those impossibilities happen they are the only possible collective future. They are committing Worstall’s Fallacy - measuring what needs to be done without accounting for what has already been done.

For example, just recently the International Energy Authority announced that the world was only installing 60% of the renewables generation capacity needed to bypass that 1.5 degrees warming target. No, leave aside whether that’s a sensible target, whether renewables will meet it and all that. Just think about that statement.

We have done nothing to deal with climate change? Or we’ve done 60% of it and there’s only 40% to go? And public policy should be based upon which answer?

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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