Economic projections that predict the potential impacts of climate change have grossly underestimated reality and delayed global recovery efforts by decades, according to a senior professor.
Mainstream economists “purposely and completely” ignored scientific data and instead “compiled their own numbers” to fit their market models, Steve Keen, a fellow at University College’s London Institute for Strategy, Resilience and Security, told CNBC on Friday .
Now a “state of war” is required to repair the damage, he said.
“Basically, economists have completely misrepresented and ignored science, where it contradicts their tendency that climate change is not a big deal because they think capitalism can handle anything,” Keen told Street Signs Asia.
We play with forces that go far beyond what we can actually tackle.
Fellow at University College London
Keen said the effects of climate change were predicted in the 1972 publication “The Limits to Growth” – a divisive account of the devastating effects of global expansion – but economists ignored their warnings then and since, preferring to rely on market mechanisms .
“If their warnings had been taken seriously and we had done what they suggested and changed our trajectory from 1975 onwards, we could have done so gradually, using things like the carbon tax, etc.,” he said. “Because economists have delayed it by another half a century, we as a species put three to four times the pressure on the biosphere.”
Icebergs near Ilulissat, Greenland. Climate change is having profound effects in Greenland as the glaciers and the Greenland ice cap retreat.
NurPhoto | Getty Images
As a result, he said, “The only way to reverse this is effectively to mobilize a war-induced foundation to reverse the amount of carbon we put into the atmosphere in order to drastically reduce our consumption.”
Referring specifically to a report by economists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was instrumental in outlining global climate goals, including those presented in the Paris Agreement COP21, Keen said even their most serious estimates were a “trivial underestimation of the”. Damage we expect. “
That’s because they “completely and deliberately ignore the possibility of turning points,” a point at which climate change can cause irreversible changes in the environment.
“I think we should throw the economists completely out of this discussion and sit the politicians with the scientists and say that these are the possible outcomes of such a big change in the biosphere. We are playing with forces far beyond what we can . ” actually address, “he said.
Keen’s comments come as world leaders conclude their final day of meetings in the Arctic Council – an intergovernmental forum that addresses wide-ranging geopolitical issues from climate to trade.