AB: Can I just ask; your target is to cut Europe’s emissions by 20% by 2020?
AB: Can you tell me how much – to the nearest billions – is that going to cost Europe do you think?
JD: No, I can’t tell you but I do know that the modelling shows that it’s cheaper to start earlier rather than later, so it’s cheaper to do it now rather than put off action.
AB: Right. You wouldn’t quarrel with Professor Richard Tol – who’s not a climate sceptic – but is professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin? He values it at about $250 billion. You wouldn’t quarrel with that?
JD: I probably would actually. I mean, I don’t know. It’s very, very difficult to quantify. You get different changes, don’t you? And one of the things that’s happening in Europe now is that many governments – such as the UK government and the German government – would like the targets to be tougher because they see it as a real stimulus to the economy.
AB: Right. Well you don’t know but you think it isn’t $250 billion.
JD: I think you could get lots of different academics coming up with lots of different figures.
AB: That’s right. You don’t know but that’s the figure that I’ve got in front of me. For that investment. Or for whatever the investment is. What’s your estimation of how much – because the object ultimately of course is to lower the world’s temperatures – what sort of temperature reduction do you imagine from that kind of investment?
JD: Well, what we do know is that to have an evens chance of keeping temperature increases globally to 2°C – so that’s increases – you’ve got to reduce emissions globally by 50% by 2050.
AB: Yes, I accept that, but from the $250 billion – or whatever you think the figure is – what do you think Europe can achieve with this 20% reduction in terms of cutting the world’s temperature? Because that’s, in fact, what’s necessary. What do you think the temperature reduction will be?
JD: Well, obviously, Europe accounts for 14% of global emissions. It’s 500 or 550 million people. On its own it cannot do that. That is absolutely clear.
AB: Have you got a figure in your mind? You don’t know the cost. Do you know the result?
JD: I don’t have a cost figure in my mind. Nor, one thing I do know, obviously, is that Europe acting alone will not solve this problem alone.
AB: So if I put a figure to you – I find it odd that you don’t know the cost and you don’t know the outcome – would you quarrel with this assessment: that by 2100 – if you go your way and if you’re successful – the world’s temperatures will fall by 0.05°C? Would you agree with that?
JD: Sorry, can you just pass that by me again? You’re saying that if Europe acts alone?
AB: If just Europe alone – for this massive investment – will lower the world’s temperature with this 20% target (if it sustains that until the end of this century) by 0.05°C. Would you quarrel with that?
JD: Well, I think the climate science would not be that precise. Would it?
AB: Ah, no, actually it is, Jill. You see this is what I’m curious about; that you’re in charge of a massive program to re-jig an economy. You don’t know what it costs. And you don’t know what it’ll achieve.
JD: Well, I think you can look at lots of modelling which will come up with lots of different costs.
AB: Well what’s your modelling? That’s the one that everyone’s quoting. What’s your modelling?
JD: Well, ah, ah. Let me talk about what we have done in Europe and what we have seen as the benefits. In Europe, in Germany you could look at, there’s over a million new jobs that have been created by tackling climate change, by putting in place climate policies. In the UK there’s many hundreds of thousand of jobs.