IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Climate Mitigation or Technological Revolution? A Critical Choice of Futures

Listed author(s):
  • Graeme Donald Snooks

Mankind currently is not only facing a major environmental challenge, it is embarking on a hugely risky enterprise — that of climate mitigation. This unprecedented global adventure is an attempt to change the nature and shape of human society on the grounds that our traditional market system has failed us. The current enterprise is hugely risky because it is based not on what has happened but on what we are told by “climate-mitigation engineers” might happen. The argument in this essay is simple but powerful, and can be outlined in the following five propositions: • The science of climate change is challenging but compelling, based as it is on an impressive and growing body of expert empirical research. What it shows is that recent climate change is human induced. Hence, further climate change and its mitigation are problems primarily for the social not natural sciences. • The “science” of climate mitigation is nonexistent, because orthodox social science has failed to model the dynamics of human society. And it is the dynamics of human society that will largely determine future climate change. • Orthodox economics, which has attempted to fill the void, has failed completely. Economic theory is suitable only for the analysis of small, shortrun issues that can be accommodated within a static framework — such as the price of a cup of tea; whereas the issue of climate mitigation is one of the biggest and most important issues humanity will ever face, it is long-run in nature, and it can only be adequately handled within a dynamic framework. As orthodox economics has been unable to develop a realist general dynamic theory, its practitioners have been forced to employ simplistic historicist models when analyzing future climate change. • What we need is a new science of human dynamics. The basis for this new science is provided by the author’s dynamic-strategy theory. It is a realist theory in the sense that it has been derived from a long-term, systematic observation of the fluctuating fortunes of both human society over the past 2 million years (myrs) and life over the past 4,000 myrs. • Economists have massively underestimated the costs of their proposed climate mitigation program aimed at stabilizing greenhouse-gas concentrations, because they have employed the inadequate static cost–benefit methodology. This essay takes a very different approach. By estimating the dynamic costs — essentially the costs of suppressing the imminent technological revolution that can only be identified in a realist dynamic framework — I have found that total costs will be almost 100 times greater than current estimates by the year 2100. This puts a comprehensive mitigation program totally out of the question. What, then, is to be done? This essay provides the answer.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute of Global Dynamic Systems in its series GDSC Working Papers with number 010.

in new window

Date of creation: Feb 2009
Handle: RePEc:auu:wpaper:010
Contact details of provider: Postal:
+61 2 6125 3807

Phone: +61 2 6125 3807
Fax: +61 2 6125 0744
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Tibor Scitovsky, 1954. "Two Concepts of External Economies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 143-143.
  2. Graeme Snooks, 2008. "The Irrational “War on Inflation”: Why Inflation Targeting is Both Socially Unacceptable and Economically Untenable," GDSC Working Papers 001, Institute of Global Dynamic Systems.
  3. Graeme Donald Snooks, 2008. "Recession, Depression, and Financial Crisis: Everything Economists Want to Know But Are Afraid to Ask," GDSC Working Papers 007, Institute of Global Dynamic Systems.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:auu:wpaper:010. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Drew Treasure)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.