Investing in measures to control global warming would waste money that could be better spent on malaria, AIDS and malnutrition. That is the conclusion drawn by leading economists at a workshop held in Denmark last week. But many scientists disagree, with one climatologist calling the workshop "phoney and a distortion".
The workshop's theme was to prioritise how the industrialised world's US$50 billion aid budget should be spent. Nine participating economists, including three Nobel prize winners, ranked solutions to ten key challenges in terms of return on investment. On this basis, they rejected a global carbon tax that would halve emissions of greenhouse gases by the end of the century.
But many climatologists and environmental economists are wary, not least because the workshop was organised by controversial Danish statistician Bjørn Lomberg (author of The Skeptical Environmentalist). They consider the group's application of economic analyses to climate change to be a flawed approach.
Reference: Science 304, 1429 (2004)