Review of the article “Climate change is not an 'existential threat'” by David M Simon
(or as I would describe it, “a misleading lukewarmer gish gallop against taking effective and timely actions on AGW”)
The article I review here is in the Washington Examiner, March 14, 2022.
In the article, David M Simon sets out a number of topics in support of his claim that “climate change is not an existential threat”.
Before assessing the merits of his argument and the evidence he cites in support of it, let’s first recognise the hyperbole in the way it has been headlined, and then assess the credibility of the sources he cites and the publication his article is published in.
To start with, something doesn’t have to be an existential threat to be worthy of tackling urgently and with serious vigour. The complete extinction of humanity any time soon is NOT what the vast majority of people advocating action on AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) think is likely. So, to phrase the article headline in such terms is, arguably, journalistic, attention-seeking hyperbole with a political angle. I’m apolitical, but it is sometimes worth looking at the political backdrop to a piece of writing to see if the writing itself is likely to have some political motivations behind it. This is part of the information that can help assess the credibility and factual accuracy of the matters being interpreted and presented.
So, let’s look at the credibility and potential political biases of the main sources used in the article, and the publication it appears in.
According to Media Bias Fact Check:
So, that’s not a good start. Only medium credibility because of several failed fact checks. It means we should take most of what the Washington Examiner publishes ‘with a pinch of salt’ and carefully fact-check what is published there before placing any reliance on it. And it has a tendency to right-leaning political perspectives.
What about David M Simon, the author of the article? Can we check his credibility and track record on fact checks? David M. Simon is a senior fellow at the Committee to Unleash Prosperity and a lawyer in Chicago. A list of his recent writings can be found at:
It’s clear that a lot of the titles of his writings are essentially about “[embracing] the benefits of global warming” and other similar matters which could be described as, at the very least, skeptical about AGW and its impacts.
His main frame of reference appears strikingly in an article of a similar name, where he leads with this summary of his views:
“Modest global warming is real. NASA data show that in 2021, the earth’s average temperature declined from 2020 and fell below the 2019 level and back to the 2018 level but has risen by 1.01 degrees Celsius since 1880. On the other hand, the scientific facts show that the rest of the Green Left’s claims about global warming – on which it bases its demands to remake the American and world economies and impose draconian regulations and restrictions that would kill economic growth and impoverish millions, especially in the Third World – are a litany of lies and fearmongering.”
I’ll say more about his main meme in that quote, which could be paraphrased as 'tackling AGW will harm the poorest' at the end of this blog post.
In the meantime, we can see already that his main target seems to be “the Green Left”. This political polarisation is probably not that surprising, since Simon often writes for RealClearMarkets, which is described as follows by Media Bias Fact Check:
“Generally, story selection moderately favors the Right, and RealClearMarkets takes a Pro-Trump/conservative stance on most issues. RealClearMarkets typically sources their information to credible sources such as The Hill, Wall Street Journal, and NBC News; however, they also source factually mixed sources such as Fox News and the Washington Examiner. They also occasionally rely on Questionable sources such as Quillette Economic Growth Makes Us Better Off & Just Better Andrew Potter, Quillette. Finally, RealClearMarkets is skeptical when it [comes] to human-influenced climate change. In general, most news is factual and holds a right of center bias editorially.”
Next, what sources does Simon cite in the article I’m assessing here, to support his arguments, what do they say about AGW, and what supporting “evidence” do they cite? The main references in the article are:
The first five of these citations are to sources that have been heavily criticised by many, including climate scientists, for using very poor standards of citing, interpreting and promulgating information about AGW and its impacts, much of which is tantamount to misinformation or disinformation.
Before anyone shouts “foul – you tackled the player, not the ball” let me just say:
1. There are no invalid ad hominem attacks in this blog post – only valid ones, on the basis that some types of ad hominem, attack are, indeed, valid. See:
"informal logic, where the person making the argument relies on arguments from authority such as testimony, expertise, or a selective presentation of information supporting the position they are advocating. In this case, counter-arguments may be made that the target is dishonest, lacks the claimed expertise, or has a conflict of interest.”
2. Assessing the credibility of the source, including their expertise (or lack of) in relevant fields, their ability to comment accurately and without undue bias on the subject being discussed, etc is all part and parcel of forming a view about whether what they say is likely to be correct, or not.
In that light, in the next sections I’ll look in more detail at the relevant works of most of the main sources cited in the Washington Examiner article. It will be seen that my review of the first five sources listed above gives cause for concern that what they say might fail on the test of credibility, accuracy and undue bias.
The final three sources listed above (the US EPA and Our World in Data (x2)) are good, credible sources, but the information sourced from them by the article does not say much about the matters being discussed by the article, or support the conclusions reached by David M Simon, through a combination of the data drawn on by him being incomplete (cherry picked) and/or used with implicit or explicit logical fallacies in his article.
Debunking of what Bjorn Lomborg has said about cold and heat related deaths and forest fires
Bjorn Lomborg is often described as a political scientist who accepts that climate change is happening, accepts that human activities are largely the cause but considers that the optimal global warming is about 3 or 4 degrees above pre-industrial.
I’ve written about why I disagree with his views on damages from AGW, including commenting on the deficiencies in his methods of research and interpretation, here:
His works could perhaps be described as using a “devil’s advocate” approach to the science behind the world’s current understanding of climate change, and the role of human activities in it. His writings appear to be scientifically based. However, on closer inspection by climate scientists and others, there are many deficiencies found in his methods. These include, as described by a document written by Bob Ward, at the LSE, in 2020:
Specifically, on Lomborg’s claims about heat-related deaths and cold-related deaths, Climate Feedback (an organisation staffed by expert climate scientists) have fact-checked and debunked these here:
CLAIM - "Global warming saves 166,000 lives each year"; “those claiming that climate change is causing heat-related deaths are wrong because they ignore that the population is growing and becoming older”
VERDICT - UNSUPPORTED and INCORRECT
SOURCE: Bjorn Lomborg, New York Post, 4 Sep. 2021
Unsupported : Bjorn Lomborg’s claim that 100k+ people are saved each year thanks to global warming is based on a misinterpretation of a study and interpretation of data that doesn’t support such a conclusion.
Incorrect : Scientists who study the effects of climate change on human health explain that studies on human mortality due to climate change take ageing and population growth into account, contrary to Lomborg’s claim.
KEY TAKE AWAY:
Scientific studies show that climate change is already contributing to increased heat-related mortality and global warming will further increase health outcomes related to heat stress. Reports that take into account the ensemble of scientific publications show that climate change is overall having negative consequences for human societies and ecosystems, contrary to what cherry-picking can lead some to believe.”
Excerpt ends ------
Debunking what Lomborg says about river floods and forest fires
The claim about rivers flooding less frequently, although not associated with any reference in the article to back it up, is similar to a claim by Lomborg in this article:
in which he says:
“Globally, a large study of more than 9,000 rivers shows that while some rivers see increasing flood trends, many more rivers see decreasing flood trends. This is also true in Europe, where the new UN Climate Panel report surveys all rivers and find most flood less… US fires frequently get blamed on climate, but the real reason is mostly bad forest management. And overall, the US government’s own statistics belie the hype: 2021 burned area to date is the seventh-lowest of the last 20 years. In 2020, just 11 percent of the annual area burned compared to the early 1900s. Contrary to climate cliches, the globally burned area has declined dramatically since 1900 and continues to fall through the satellite era.”
So, it appears very likely that Lomborg is the source of the unattributed claim in the Washington Examiner article about river floods, and also the unattributed one about forest fires.
Lomborg does not provide any actual references for either, to enable a reader to follow them up for fact-checking and credibility purposes. This is not untypical of Lomborg’s methods and authorship, as mentioned by many including Bob Ward at the LSE (see referenced work elsewhere in this blog post).
So, what evidence can I find for the claim in the article that “most rivers flood less today than they used to”?
The EPA (which is cited in the paragraph in which the above text) says, about flooding in the USA:
To summarise what the EPA says, the results appear inconclusive. It’s good news in some locations, bad news in others. It might well be the case that, as the article states, “most rivers [in the USA] flood less today than they used to”. However, that doesn’t provide evidence that AGW isn’t increasing the risks of damage caused by extreme weather events (eg increased rainfall in some locations and less rain in others). It should also be borne in mind that, as time goes by, human societies do improve flood defences in places where large populations or high value assets are vulnerable to river flooding. These factors are not mentioned in the Washington Examiner article.
Assessing what Matt Ridley has said about greening
According to Carbon Brief:
“Ridley often uses his position in the [UK House of] Lords to discuss the topics of climate change and energy policy. He sits on the Lords’ science and technology committee and is an advisor to the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a UK-based climate sceptic lobby group.”
According to Wikipedia:
“Friends of the Earth has connected Ridley's opposition to climate science to his ties to the coal industry. He is the owner of land in the north-east of England on which the Shotton Surface coal mine operates, and receives payments for the mine.”
More from the Carbon Brief article, which provides a large amount of input from climate scientists rebutting many of Ridley’s claims about AGW:
“The Harrabin-Ridley transcript is arguably the most in-depth interview with the peer [ie Matt Ridley] in the public domain on the topics of climate change and energy. Ridley makes a wide range of claims throughout, touching on subjects from ocean acidification and climate sensitivity through to energy subsidies and the “benefits” of global warming.
Recognising Ridley’s media prominence and influence with regard to climate change, Carbon Brief recently sent a copy of the transcript to various scientists and energy policy experts and asked them to respond to his claims by annotating the document with their comments and observations.
The document … includes responses from the following (in alphabetical order):
Specifically, on greening, in the interview by Roger Harrabin in 2015 (mentioned above), Matt Ridley gave his views on greening, being one of the determinants of the point in time when the disbenefits of AGW are expected to outweigh the benefits.
A full transcript of the interview can be found here, with commenting by the above climate experts:
From the transcript, the following are relevant excerpts, which start with Matt Ridley (MR) speaking:
More recent (2019) research on greening:
“The world is literally a greener place than it was 20 years ago, and data from NASA satellites has revealed a counterintuitive source for much of this new foliage: China and India. A new study shows that the two emerging countries with the world’s biggest populations are leading the increase in greening on land. The effect stems mainly from ambitious tree planting programs in China and intensive agriculture in both countries… Taken all together, the greening of the planet over the last two decades represents an increase in leaf area on plants and trees equivalent to the area covered by all the Amazon rainforests. There are now more than two million square miles of extra green leaf area per year, compared to the early 2000s – a 5% increase.
“China and India account for one-third of the greening, but contain only 9% of the planet’s land area covered in vegetation – a surprising finding, considering the general notion of land degradation in populous countries from overexploitation,” said Chi Chen of the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University, in Massachusetts, and lead author of the study.
“When the greening of the Earth was first observed, we thought it was due to a warmer, wetter climate and fertilization from the added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, leading to more leaf growth in northern forests, for instance. Now, with the MODIS data that lets us understand the phenomenon at really small scales, we see that humans are also contributing.” China’s outsized contribution to the global greening trend comes in large part (42%) from programs to conserve and expand forests. These were developed in an effort to reduce the effects of soil erosion, air pollution and climate change. Another 32% there – and 82% of the greening seen in India – comes from intensive cultivation of food crops.
“… now that we know direct human influence is a key driver of the greening Earth, we need to factor this into our climate models,” Nemani said. “This will help scientists make better predictions about the behavior of different Earth systems, which will help countries make better decisions about how and when to take action.” The researchers point out that the gain in greenness seen around the world and dominated by India and China does not offset the damage from loss of natural vegetation in tropical regions, such as Brazil and Indonesia. The consequences for sustainability and biodiversity in those ecosystems remain.”
So, there is some greening associated with warming and CO2 fertilisation, but much of it is also driven by human activities in agriculture and forestry management/ expansion. The net effects of these factors, and how they are likely to play out over time, are matters I’ll come back to later in this blog post, as well as their place in assessing the benefits and disbenefits of AGW.
Debunking of what Richard Lindzen of MIT and William Happer of Princeton have said on impacts of warmer temps
The article says that Lindzen and Happer:
“wrote in 2017 that “observations [over the last] 25 years, show that Environmental benefits of global warming … offset its harm …warming from increased atmospheric CO2 will be benign [citing Lindzen and Happer]”
However, the article doesn’t cite a specific piece of published work.
Both Lindzen and Happer have a long history of promulgating misinformation about AGW. For example, see:
You can see many of Happer’s attempts at misinformation here as well:
For example, here are a couple of his quotes from 2016, with each debunked, and they seem to be at the core of the claimed support of the proposition in the Washington Examiner article that “Environmental benefits of global warming … offset its harm”:
“We should be telling the scientific truth that more CO2 is actually a benefit to the earth. [… ] There are very good reasons to think that... The main thing is that people don’t realize we’re in a CO2 famine right now. […] We’re way down. We’re down by a factor of 4 or 5 over the levels that plants would really like”
Those statements are debunked here:
Debunking of what Steve Koonin has said about climate models
There are numerous reviews of Koonin’s book. Here is a typical example, from Yale Climate Connections:
“Some books CAN be told by their cover. This is one of them. Unfortunately, “Unsettled” is a book you can accurately judge by its cover. Koonin’s title hints at a logical fallacy called the “strawman” argument. The blurb on the flap confirms this with its opening sentence: “When it comes to climate change, the media, politicians, and other prominent voices have declared that ‘the science is settled.’” A bit of fact checking by the author or publisher would have shown that this claim is not true. In fact, Koonin makes use of an old strawman concocted by opponents of climate science in the 1990s to create an illusion of arrogant scientists, biased media, and lying politicians – making them easier to attack. The phrase “science is settled” is repeated as Koonin’s target throughout the book, even though it has never been in common use by climate scientists and their supporters. If it were, then Google and LexisNexis searches would surely turn up instances, but the opposite is true. All the examples I found were from critics claiming that advocates of the consensus had said it.”
When it comes to climate models, the review at Yale Climate Connections says:
“Koonin implies throughout the book that climate scientists have conspired to downplay uncertainty and exaggerate the risk, apparently unaware of the fact that increased uncertainty means increased risks. Nowhere does he mention that climate sensitivity is described in the scientific literature by a probability density function that is highly skewed, with a long high-sensitivity tail that we cannot discount with certainty. Risk is the integrated product of probability and consequences. It’s hard to argue that the consequences of climate change don’t get worse with [increasing] sensitivity… Why does Koonin think that unsettled questions in climate science are any kind of comfort when the consequences of doing nothing can be catastrophic?”
Furthermore, there is a large body of evidence to show that climate models have been increasingly accurate at “[reproducing] the temperature changes of the 20th century”, contradicting the main claim in the Washington Examiner article that is attributed to Koonin.
What does the Washington Examiner article actually claim, in relation to AGW?
The article’s main claims (and my summary responses in italics):
1. “[claims] that global warming presents an “existential threat,” [are] fraudulent [and] not based on any scientific consensus” A partial truth, but misleading. No mention of timeframes. While many climate scientists would agree that extinction of the human species from AGW is unlikely within a few hundred years (although there is a risk of that) there is a huge amount of evidence that AGW is causing a mass extinction event. Under a changed climate, a large proportion of other species might well become extinct, and it might not be possible to support anything like the several billion humans currently living here
2. “ environmental benefits of global warming … offset its harm …warming from increased atmospheric CO2 will be benign [citing Lindzen and Happer]” Many scientists, including some cited by people mentioned in the article, are of the view that the point at which the disbenefits outweigh the benefits of global warming, was at about 1 degree above pre-industrial, a point that we have already passed.
3. ““Global warming” now prevents more than 166,000 temperature-related fatalities annually. A partial truth, but misleading. It doesn’t talk about the net balance of deaths from heat, from cold, and from other aspects of environment, demographics and adaptive mechanisms used by societies. When all these are taken into account, the scientists are clear that AGW is detrimental for human health.
4. “global warming has increased both agricultural yields and growth of forests, grasslands, and tree leaves” A partial truth, but misleading. The greening effect of warming (and the CO2 fertilisation effect) is an active area of research, but the positive effects are likely to be outweighed by the negatives, and , indeed, are likely to switch to browning rather than greening, well before the Paris 1.5 target ceiling is reached.
5. “The number of hurricanes per year [in the USA] … has not increased since the late 19th century” A partial truth, but misleading. Even the IPCC itself says “"There is no clear trend in the annual numbers [i.e. frequency] of tropical cyclones.". However, the damages caused by the impacts of AGW on incidence of extreme weather events is not just about their frequency, but also about their severity. Also, impacts on tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic are not the only adverse extreme weather impacts globally. More here:
“What can we conclude from these studies? About hurricane frequency – not much; the jury is out, as they say. About climate change, we can say that these differing approaches are the very stuff of good science, and the science clearly isn’t settled!”
6. “the total acreage burnt by forest fires annually has decreased” There is some contrary (albeit localised) evidence rebutting that claim here:
However, the main counterargument is that acres burnt as a statistic is not very meaningful in this discussion, because there are many factors involved in driving this number, not just AGW, and the author has not addressed any of these other factors. His argument in this case is a form of logical fallacy.
7. “most rivers flood less today than they used to” (although no sources of evidence are cited for this claim) Potentially partially true (the evidence is not clear one way or the other) but certainly misleading because it says nothing about the impacts and damages of the increased incidence of extreme weather events driven by the effects of AGW. Another argument by logical fallacy.
8. “the number of people killed each year by natural disasters has declined by about 90%” In relation to weather-related disasters, a more balanced view can be found at the National Geographic:
9. “the global air pollution death rate, which has declined by about 45% over the last three decades” A partial truth, but misleading. Even the source cited by the article says something that puts it in a context where it says nothing about the health impacts of AGW:
“Globally we see that in recent decades the death rates from total air pollution has declined: since 1990 death rates have nearly halved. But, as we see from the breakdown, this decline has been primarily driven by improvements in indoor air pollution.”
Yet again, Simon has used an implied logical fallacy by ignoring aspects of the data and the multiple causal factors and in arguing his assertions and the conclusions he draws from them.
10. “speculative [climate models] … unable even to reproduce the temperature changes of the 20th century.” [citing Koonin] Simply Wrong. Debunked here:
11. “Now more than ever, with both a hot war in Europe and spiking energy prices wreaking economic havoc, it is vital to change our attitude and our policies toward this issue” See my comments about this below.
What has been left out of the article?
There is no mention of climate scientists apart from Lindzen and Happer, and no mention of the IPCC and its reports (eg IPCC AR6 WG1, 2021), which state, backed up by thousands of climate scientists:
“It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.
Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere
“The scale of recent changes across the climate system as a whole and the present state of many aspects of the climate system are unprecedented over many centuries to many
thousands of years.”
“It is virtually certain that hot extremes (including heatwaves) have become more frequent and more intense across most land regions since the 1950s, while cold extremes (including cold waves) have become less frequent and less severe, with high confidence that human-induced climate change is the main driver of these changes. Some recent hot extremes observed over the past decade would have been extremely unlikely to occur without human influence on the climate system.”
“The frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation events have increased since the 1950s over most
land area for which observational data are sufficient for trend analysis (high confidence), and human-induced climate change is likely the main driver. Human-induced climate change has contributed to increases in agricultural and ecological droughts in some regions due to increased land evapotranspiration (medium confidence).”
“It is likely that the global proportion of major (Category 3–5) tropical cyclone occurrence has increased over the last four decades, and the latitude where tropical cyclones in the western North Pacific reach their peak intensity has shifted northward; these changes cannot be explained by internal variability alone (medium confidence).”
“Human influence has likely increased the chance of compound extreme events since the 1950s. This includes increases in the frequency of concurrent heatwaves and droughts on the global scale (high confidence); fire weather in some regions of all inhabited continents (medium confidence); and compound flooding in some locations (medium confidence).”
So, what are the genuine areas of debate that the article could have highlighted?
I think there is a genuine and productive area of debate around the relative merits of adaptation and mitigation, and the achievement of the “sweet spot” of maintaining climate variability trends within a range of values in which humanity can continue to flourish, at scale. One of the things Lomborg says in one of the published works I’ve referenced in this blog is pertinent:
“… climate change is a real problem that we should fix smartly. But contrary to the current narrative, our adaptive capacity is vastly larger than changing climate risks.”
This could be a good title for a debate in, for example, the Oxford Union.
There are three aspects of his quote that I’d disagree with, but they need unpicking just a little:
1. His phrasing in criticising “the current narrative” is unnecessarily polemic – there are, in fact, many current narratives for transitioning to a just and sustainable future in which AGW has been tackled to prevent the worst-case scenarios from unfolding, not just one narrative which he describes in other places as “catastrophism”
2. In my view, he places too much confidence in “adaptive capacity” – to the extent he thinks it can overcome all climate risks as they emerge (so not just the ones we already know about) – so his words are in danger of providing fuel to “delayists” who would adopt a “wait and see” strategy rather than a proactive one for dealing with AGW. It might not even need to be an argument at all, because many mitigation and adaptation actions are mutually reinforcing rather than mutually exclusive – we can do both.
3. Who does he mean by “we”? One of the main concerns is whether AGW might result in a climate that is only survivable by a small number of humans with the necessary adaptive skills and sufficient resources to do so, and that there might be many billions of people, who currently depend on rain-fed large-scale agriculture (for example) who lack those skills or resources and would therefore not be a part of that future. Is that a future you, dear reader, would want to be complicit in creating?
However, all of these points are genuinely debatable and there can be many opinions expressed about them, in the context of policy-making by governments around the world.
I would add to the debate, however, something that is touched on (but not expanded on) right at the end of the Washington Examiner article, where it says:
“Now more than ever, with both a hot war in Europe and spiking energy prices wreaking economic havoc, it is vital to change our attitude and our policies.”
Reviews and reassessments of energy policies are important in the context of Putin’s war in Ukraine.
The UK government, for example, has indicated that the UK needs to:
a) Address short-term security of energy supplies for the UK and the rest of Europe, much of which is about finding quickly available substitutes (some renewables, but mostly fossil fuels) to replace Russian fossil fuels that are increasingly being shunned as part of economic sanctions, and
b) Accelerate the transition from fossil energies to renewables, in order to reduce the UK’s, and the world’s, reliance on fossil energy supplies from unstable or hostile regimes, as well as to address AGW
I strongly suspect David M Simon would be likely to advocate much more strongly for point a) than for point b).
What is my overall assessment of the article?
Based on this detailed examination and fact-checking of the article and its cited sources, and a comparison with credible sources of scientifically factual evidence, the Washington Examiner article can be categorised as “a misleading lukewarmer gish gallop against taking effective and timely actions on AGW”.
A gish gallop, for the uninitiated, is a debating tactic in which a debater, often aware that their arguments and facts are “shaky” and could be successfully countered, tries to win the debate by sheer volume and pace of their arguments. They try to bewilder the audience with a long list of points made in very quick succession, in a way that allows almost no opportunity for the audience, or other participants in the debate, to consider the points, assess their factual, logical and evidential basis, and respond in a sensible and ordered way in a reasonable timespan.
A gish galloper will often make arguments with logical flaws in them, but that might slip by unnoticed and unchallenged. In the face of a gish gallop, any responders are left with a quandary. Because, to adequately assess and respond to the gish gallop might take a lot more time and effort than was put into preparing it by the gish galloper, and even someone does respond, counter and challenge, if they omit a response or rebuttal to only one single point that has been made, the gish galloper could claim victory on that single point, on the basis that it remains unchallenged. Silence is deemed, by the gish galloper, to be tacit acceptance of the gish galloper’s point. That’s why it is sometimes useful to make it explicit in discussions that one’s silence is not to be taken as acceptance of something that has been said by someone else.
If you want some balanced and well-evidenced information about climate change, that Washington Examiner article is not going to provide it. If this is to be taken as an example of how they report AGW, people would be better informed about the facts and implications of AGW by looking at sources such as the IPCC, NASA and the many credible scientific institutions where qualified climate scientists do their work or where such work is reported accurately.
I don’t often dissect publications in the way I just have done, on the basis that it takes a lot more effort to debunk misleading nonsense than it does to perpetuate it, as per Brandolini’s Law:
"The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude larger than is needed to produce it."
However, occasionally doing a “deep dive” into a piece of published work provides an opportunity to question one’s own perspectives and to find out if one’s own views are based on a solid evidence base from credible sources of factually correct scientific information. You never know – at some point in the future, your own perspective might change if new data emerges that would persuade you to change it. If only AGW skeptics and dismissives did more of this, the same frequently debunked half-truths and misleading statements from them might reduce in volume and frequency.
I’d like to close in an optimistic way, with a counter to a claim by David M Simon, quoted above, where he suggests “restrictions [to tackle AGW] would kill economic growth and impoverish millions, especially in the Third World”.
Simon’s claim is directly contradicted by Ekins and Zenghelis in "The costs and benefits of environmental sustainability” (2021)":
in which they say:
"Recent evidence suggests the short-term GDP impacts of well-designed environmental action could be positive, crowding-in rather than ‘crowding out’ the drivers of future growth. This paper provides evidence that not only makes the environmental case for action, in terms of its benefits for human health and welfare, it also shows how such action can generate economic returns in terms of productivity, jobs and income and reduce the costs of meeting any emissions and resource use targets. A cost effective low-carbon, resource-efficient transition can generate a cleaner, quieter, more secure, innovative, and productive economy for all countries at all stages of development."
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