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Canada – $6b to cut global temps by 0.0007°C. Just $84Trillion per degree!

Posted By Joanne Nova On October 19, 2011 @ 2:39 am In Big-Government,Global Warming | Comments Disabled

I thought the Canadians had gotten over this type of insanity. Environment Canada apparently wants to cut the coal industry in half. (At least that’s as much as they’ll admit too. Presumably they’d feel like they’d completed their life’s work if they could only wipe it out completely.)

Christopher Monckton has analyzed the Canadian regulatory action on “Coal Emissions” and finds that, as usual, legislators are choosing the most expensive option possible with other people’s money. Environment Canada wants to spend $6 billion to reduce the atmospheric concentration of a trace molecule by 0.01 ppmv, and assuming there is any advantage in doing so, it would still cost one-eighteenth as much to just do nothing, suck it and see, and pay for all the theoretical damage that could ensue.

Like so many other Western Nations, there is not even the pretense that the legislation makes sense judged by any numerical outcome, yet Canadian citizens may have to pay thousands in tithe to witchdoctors and carpetbaggers in a futile attempt to change the weather. It’s as if the highest echelons of  Western leadership are stone-age innumerate.

As per usual with these type of posts, I expect no real challenge to Monckton’s figures. Environment Canada are not going to pop up and announce a specific accurate target — not in dollars, ppmv, °C or Watts per metre. The fans of these symbolic feel-good policies will respond with overwhelming silence. I mean, the numbers are so damningly small that even if they found an order of magnitude in a correction (“oh look, now that’s 0.007 °C!”), the policy still doesn’t make any sense.

I used to be reluctant to publish these type of figures, they just seem so incredibly small and too-hard-to-believe. But now we know, it really is that stupid.

If there is any consolation for Canadians, it’s that schadenfreude sense that at least things are more stupid in Australia.

– Jo


Canadian Coal Regulations, Monckton analysis PDF

Guest Post by Christopher Monckton

Why the regulations would not work

The reasons why abandonment of the regulations is recommended. At the minimum market discount rate of 5%, it would be almost 18 times costlier to implement the regulations than it is to meet the cost of climate-related damage that may arise from taking no action to control CO2 emissions at all.

Table O ………………………… Parameter


Total cost of the regulations at present value:

$6.4 bn


Fraction of global CO2 emissions abated:



Business-as-usual CO2 concentration in 2030… and after the full effect of the regulations

437.676 ppmv


437.665 ppmv

CO2 radiative forcing abated 2015-2030:

0.00013 W m–2


Global warming prevented 2015-2030:

00007 C°


Mitigation cost-effectiveness:

$84 tr/C°


Cash Global abatement cost:


Per capita

As % GDP


$29.4 tr


3.89% GDP



Cost of damage arising from climate inaction

0.22% GDP


Action-inaction ratio: the multiple by which the cost of action exceeds the cost of inaction

(3% disc.) 7.6

(5% disc.) 17.6




The reasons why abandonment of the regulations is recommended. At the minimum market discount rate of 5%, it would be almost 18 times costlier to implement the regulations than it is to meet the cost of climate-related damage that may arise from taking no action to control CO2 emissions at all.


  • The cost of abating global warming as cost-ineffectively as the regulations would be 8 to 18 times the cost of damage from inaction.
  • The present value of the global cost of climate-related damage arising from failure to act on CO2 emissions is little more than 0.2% of global GDP.
  •  f the proposed regulations were brought into full effect, only 0.03% of global CO2 emissions would be abated over the 16-year term of the regulations.
  • CO2 concentration, projected at 389.2 ppmv in 2014, would rise to 437.676 ppmv by 2030 without the regulations, and to 437.664 ppmv with them.
  • 16 years of regulation would abate only 0.012 ppmv of CO2 concentration, representing just 0.002% of the projected CO2 concentration in 2030.
  • The regulations would abate 0.00015 W m–2 of CO2 forcing & 0.00007 C° of global warming – a little above 1/14,000 C°, or less than 1/700 of the threshold below which no change in global temperature can be detected.
  • Warming abated would be 0.03% of the projected 0.25 C° warming to 2030.
  • The CO2-mitigation cost-effectiveness of the regulations, expressed in dollars per C° of global warming abated, would be $92 trillion/C°.
  • The global cost of abating all of the 0.25 C° warming projected from 2015-2030 by methods of equivalent cost-effectiveness would be $29.4 trillion.
  • This global abatement cost would represent $4200 per capita of global population, or 3.9% of global GDP over the 16-year regulatory period.
  • For many reasons, it is very likely that the above figures make the proposed regulations seem very much more cost-effective than they are.
  • The regulatory impact statement is silent on the CO2 concentration, CO2 radiative forcing and global warming the regulations are expected to abate.
  • Environment Canada’s use of “the social cost of carbon [dioxide]” rather than of a scientific measure of the cost of climate inaction is inappropriate.
  • The “social cost of CO2” is an inappropriate metric, in that its fixed price fails to represent the logarithmic decline in CO2 forcing as concentration rises.
  • Environment Canada uses a 3% pure rate-of-time-preference discount rate for costing the regulations, but the minimum market discount rate is 5%.
  • The low discount rate unduly favours action over inaction, yet it would still be many times as costly to implement the regulations as to do nothing.
  • Environment Canada has not made explicit its discount rate for the cost of inaction, which appears to be different from its rate for the cost of action.
  • The cash “benefits” of the regulations are wrongly calculated and exaggerated.

Since the cost of taking action under the regulations exceeds that of inaction 8 to 18 times over, the regulations should be abandoned.

The questions Environment Canada should have asked

The regulatory impact statement that prefaces the Canadian Government’s proposed regulations on Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Coal-Fired Generation of Electricity (Environment Canada, 2011) suggests cutting Canada’s coal-generation industry by more than half.

Before so grave an assault on one of Canada’s major industries could be justified, many serious questions should have been asked and answered. Environment Canada did not ask them, still less answer them.

1. How much global warming would the proposed regulations abate?
2. How cost-effective would the regulations be in abating CO2-driven global warming?
3. How would the cost-effectiveness of the regulations compare with that of other CO2-mitigation schemes worldwide?
4. What would be the worldwide cost of abating all global warming projected to occur over the lifetime of the regulations?
5. What is the cost of the climate-related damage that might arise if no mitigation were attempted?
6. Would it be more cost-effective to take no mitigation action at all?
7. Are the IPCC’s global-warming projections proving accurate?
8. Is the scientific and economic analysis in Environment Canada’s regulatory impact statement fit for its purpose?
9. Should these or any CO2-mitigation regulations be implemented?

It is striking that Environment Canada did not ask these questions. They must now be asked. It is the purpose of this paper to ask them, and to answer them as objectively and as accurately as possible.

To many, the conclusions in this paper may seem startling, even incredible. Accordingly, a full Technical Annex explains the derivation of every result in enough detail to allow independent verification, and refers to the sources.

Though the methodology deployed here is simple, it is not simpliste. It is certainly more sophisticated than that of Environment Canada. It is designed to allow non-specialist policy-makers rapidly but reliably to appraise this or other existing or proposed strategies to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions worldwide.

The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley: Regulation without Reason (PDF File 30p).

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