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Home / Tim Worstall /Boasting of how expensive it is seems a strange tactic

Boasting of how expensive it is seems a strange tactic

Summary:
Economics concepts can get a little mangled when they meet the imperatives of public relations and propaganda campaigns. As here:Australia could unlock an investment boom of bn over the next five years if it aligns its climate policies with a target of net zero emissions by 2050, according to new economic modelling. The analysis, by the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC), finds the investment opportunity created by an orderly transition to a net zero emissions economy would reach hundreds of billions of dollars by 2050 across sectors including renewable energy, manufacturing, carbon sequestration and transport.However, if the country keeps to its current targets and climate policies, investment worth bn would be lost over the next five years, growing to 0bn by 2050.We’re

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Economics concepts can get a little mangled when they meet the imperatives of public relations and propaganda campaigns. As here:

Australia could unlock an investment boom of $63bn over the next five years if it aligns its climate policies with a target of net zero emissions by 2050, according to new economic modelling.

The analysis, by the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC), finds the investment opportunity created by an orderly transition to a net zero emissions economy would reach hundreds of billions of dollars by 2050 across sectors including renewable energy, manufacturing, carbon sequestration and transport.

However, if the country keeps to its current targets and climate policies, investment worth $43bn would be lost over the next five years, growing to $250bn by 2050.

We’re encouraged to like investment, to think of it as a good thing. Which it indeed can be. That delay of current consumption into building to make the future richer can indeed be a good thing as it raises future living standards at the cost of current ones.

However, this all too often slips over into the idea that all investment is good simply because it’s investment, innit? This is how rises in public sector pay are justified as “investment in public services” when they’re actually just buying the votes of the captive workforce.

This current claim is a lovely example of the genre. For that claim is that if we follow these plans then there will be hundreds of billions that cannot be spent on ourselves right now. Nor can those hundreds of billions be spent upon other possible investments like curing cancer, getting back to the Moon or solving Simon Cowell. The boasting is therefore of the cost to us of these plans and we’re expected to sign up precisely because of what else we’ll lose as a result of travelling this path.

Odd. Of course, it has been tried before and it did work too. But we tend to think that advertising beer is rather different from determining public policy. We don’t think that “Reassuringly expensive” is the correct manner of choosing what to do with societal assets strange as that may seem.

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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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