...and that's just the down payment!

A persistent theme of this column is that the economic effects -- if any -- of global warming will be less costly by far than the schemes being proposed to combat it. That position has gotten some support recently from an unlikely source: the International Energy Agency (IEA).

On Friday, the Paris-based IEA released its formal plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The cost? A mere 45 trillion dollars -- an amount some three times larger than the entire U.S. economy.

This isn't the amount needed to actually eliminate emissions, mind you, but simply to halve them. And because the plan grabs all the "low hanging fruit" in carbon reductions, the amount needed to complete the job wouldn't just be double that $45 trillion, but far higher.

Worse still, the report only covers emissions from energy production -- the much larger amount arising from agriculture, transportation, land-use changes, and other factors weren't included.

The plan includes a massive increase in wind power, with 17,000 new multi-megawatt units required each year until 2050. It also includes carbon sequestration devices installed on existing fossil-fuel plants, and an increasing reliance on nuclear energy. A wide scale campaign to dramatically increase energy efficiency would also be required.

Environmental ministers from all Group of Eight industrialized nations have already backed the 50 percent reduction goal, and are calling for it to be formally endorsed by member nations at the upcoming G8 summit in July.

The U.S. has so far been wise enough to avoid signing Kyoto -- a vastly costly measure that even its supporters admit won't measurably affect world temperatures.  Let's hope it will likewise avoid this latest boondoggle from the IAE.

"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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