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Matt Ridley: “Armageddon Averted”

“We have a new climate change consensus — and it’s good news everyone” proclaims Lord Matt Ridley, best-selling author of The Rational Optimist, in his latest piece for The Spectator.

Matt is referring to the latest news from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose recent publication differs from the stories of national newspapers that regularly forecast the certainty of environmental Armageddon. Instead, the IPCC states that climate change is now a question of adaptation, rather than one of mitigation.

Matt argues that such a distinction is crucial, because until recently “the debate has followed a certain bovine logic: that global warming is happening, so we need to slow it down by hugely expensive decarbonisation strategies — green taxes, wind farms. And what good will this do?”

Adapatation has six obvious benefits as a strategy, which mitigation did not share. It required no international treaty, but would work if adopted unilaterally; it could be applied locally; it would produce results quickly; it could capture any benefits of warming while avoiding risks; it addressed existing problems that were merely exacerbated by warming; and it would bring benefits even if global warming proves to have been exaggerated.

Matt also points out that the report also toned down the alarm considerably, firmly stating that the impact of climate change will be small relative to other things that happen during this century, so “yes, the world is heating up. But in many ways, it will be a better world…Armageddon averted”

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