Friday, October 16, 2009

Rabett Reprises

In honor of something or other having to do with climate blogging on October 16, Eli is pleased to reprise J. Willard Rabett's laws to guide climate change policy makers

1. Adaptation responds to current losses.
2. Mitigation responds to future losses
3. Adaptation plus future costs is more expensive than mitigation,
4. Adaptation without mitigation drives procrastination penalties to infinity.

With regard to efficient, elegant and economical climate change policies, the Bunny recommends picking one.


LisaMM said...

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Anonymous said...

Eli Rabett's words are SO clever that I sometimes have trouble understanding him. Really.

Nevada Ned

Anonymous said...

can't find an email address anywhere on your site.

Looks like the spam filter is working...

T. Greer said...

You said the same thing on my blog once, but I do not think you ever stooped by to see if I responded. My words in response to yours was this:

The points in the guide are absurd, IMO.

"Adaptation responds to current losses."

Only if policy makers are extremely short-sided. Adaptation to things that has happened is necessary, yes. Even more so is adaptation to events we predict shall happen. It is awful hard to build a flood wall to protect an area that is already submerged.

"Mitigation responds to future losses"

This is true. It also means that mitigation is much less efficient than adaptation as a policy choice, which can successfully do both.

This rule also comes with its own corollary: Responding to future losses moves the cost of loss to the present.

Thus instead of writing:

"Adaptation plus future costs is more expensive than mitigation"

You should state:

"Current loss plus mitigation (future loss moved to the present) is more expensive than adaptation."

Or perhaps, "Adaptation removes current loss and reduces the cost of future loss, making it cheaper than mitigation, which only does one."

Also ignored in this discussion are two related factors: 'sunk' effects of climate change, which mitigation can do nothing about, and the diminishing number of resources a region has left to use for adaptation purposes as it spends larger and larger amounts of its wealth on mitigation.

EliRabett said...

Sorry T. that is the silliest thing Eli read this week.

Adaptation responds to the current situation, as in Hey we had a flood, better strengthen the levees. Hey we got earthquakes here, better strengthen the building codes, and need Eli mention New Orleans.

No need to continue.