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A lesson in carbon conversion factors

by Mel Starrs on December 5, 2006

in Economics

The Stern Report has kicked off some of the most immature tit for tat I have ever come across. Monckton vs. Monbiot, Lomborg vs. Stern etc., etc. It’s like watching a playground tiff – fascinating to watch grown men getting their knickers in a twist, basically over semantics, politics and economics. I could loftily ignore it all, or I could weigh in and start nitpicking? What do you reckon?

This morning the (amateur) economist and uber-blogger I most like to agree and disagree with in equal measure has been criticising my new best friend (not really) George Monbiot. Tim Worstall thinks these two figures are pretty much the same:

$85 per tonne CO2 (Stern)
£70 per tonne carbon (Eddington)
Given this mornings exchange rate of £1 = $2
$85 = £42.50 per tonne CO2
To convert CO2 to carbon multiply by a factor of 12/44 = so 1 tonne carbon dioxide equals 0.27 tonnes carbon. So Stern is putting a cost of £11.90 on a tonne of carbon, around 1/6 of Eddington’s £70.

Sorry Tim, you’ve got your maths wrong.

  • http://www.timworstall.com Tim Worstall

    Fair enough. The other number I always use is Nordhaus’ $2.50 per tonne CO2. Estimates are all over the place, varying by at least one order of magnitude.

    Pretty pathetic excuse, I admit, but 12 quid and 70 quid are at least in the same ball park.

  • http://www.timworstall.com Tim Worstall

    Fair enough. The other number I always use is Nordhaus’ $2.50 per tonne CO2. Estimates are all over the place, varying by at least one order of magnitude.

    Pretty pathetic excuse, I admit, but 12 quid and 70 quid are at least in the same ball park.

  • http://www.melstarrs.com mel starrs

    So by my calculations, Eddington £70, Stern £12 and Nordhaus 34p! Any more out there?

  • http://www.melstarrs.com mel starrs

    So by my calculations, Eddington £70, Stern £12 and Nordhaus 34p! Any more out there?

  • http://www.timworstall.com Tim Worstall

    BTW, be careful. I’m not an economist and don’t claim to be one. Just an interested amateur is all.

  • http://www.timworstall.com Tim Worstall

    BTW, be careful. I’m not an economist and don’t claim to be one. Just an interested amateur is all.