Guest Post by Just Beau
As lefties continue a long-running crusade against gaseous carbon dioxide on grounds of causing Global Warming, later re-marketed as “Climate Change,” it seems fair to ask: WHY?
Why do they persist in hyping an implausible hoax? An absurdly expensive “Green New Deal” proposed during 2019 has spotlighted the mad cause. Whereas candidate Obama hinted he could stop the seas from rising, this still sounded benignly vague. Obama did not go so far as to declare he would confiscate private property and give a government job to everyone, as seemingly proposed under the Green New Deal.
Their hope chests sadly empty of compelling “raisons d’etre,” southpaw candidates have gone ballistic with climate alarm.
To try to understand human behaviors, economists frequently assume self- interest, as a simplifying approach to interpretation. Politics is a business, involving public policy ideas, money, voters, the exercise of power. How do leftists believe they can gain benefits by championing climate alarmism? Even loony claims can be regarded as having rational intent, provided they yield payoffs.
Fair disclosure: this essay must engage in speculation, since the true underlying motives of politicians are not disclosed and not reliably known.
Considered as science, climate alarmism is false, thru and thru. The scientific method was not followed. Leftist leaders do not believe climate is trending in a dangerous way. They are not aiming to protect polar bears, nor save waterfront cities from rising seas. They do not really believe migrants enter the USA because their home lands are climate degraded. Leftists cede truth about climate, sheltering within a fog of Fake News cheerleading and tribalism, maintained by snooty political correctness or ugly bullying by antifa thugs. How dare anyone admit aloud alarmism is unfunny farce, causing socio-economic harms within the United States?
Climate change, allegedly caused by gaseous carbon dioxide, is scientifically far-fetched. A gas cannot function like a greenhouse, which enables rays originating from the Sun to warm air encased within glass. CO2 enables photosynthesis, responsible for the food web of life on our planet, while plants produce oxygen, essential to breathe. The effects of CO2 are profoundly positive: vegetation and oxygen. The climate change hoax can be disproven in myriad ways, a few by Doctor Carlin in his book and blog essays. There is a simple reason for compelling rebuttals. Climate change is NOT taking place in the real world, merely in the minds of southpaws who accept Fake News propaganda.
In choosing to forego climate credibility, politicians can still privately harbor rational hopes of benefits for members of their party. Inferentially, the hoax must be justified in their minds by hoped-for benefits. One way to gain is to require something a free marketplace for energy will tend to avoid, investing in less efficient, more unreliable, higher-cost solar panels and windmills. These technologies are unsuited, at many scales and locales (albeit not all). An environmental rationale can serve as a fig-leaf to justify distorting the collective wisdom contained within energy markets.
Firms selling wind and solar technologies are akin to others that make ethanol from corn in order to manufacture a needless additive for gasoline. Such firms owe much to political mandates, thus may give to enabling politicians.
Money is important. Asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton (1901-1980) reputedly said “that’s where the money is.” Energy markets appeal to politicians on the same basis. Taxes on energy raise funds to sustain public services. Mandating a non-value-adding-additive creates demand for ethanol firms, which a politician hopes will donate to a campaign, while also jacking up the price of corn, helping farmers as well. Losers are millions of consumers obliged to spend more for corn and gasoline, yet if prices do not increase greatly, voters may not notice. They are told, it’s for a good cause, saving the planet. This sounds praiseworthy. In a democracy, a political party wants to win voters. One way is to invent climate change. Voters are spared from this fictional problem by non-sequitur sacrifices like higher spending on energy.
Could southpaws brand CO2, elixir of our Biosphere, endangering? Sadly, they already have! In the USA, they have been getting away with this environmental illiteracy since 2009, when Obama’s USEPA determined carbon dioxide gas constituted a danger to the planet. We are lucky motherhood and apple pie were not determined to be encore dangers.
Let’s consider ways climate alarmism might appeal to voters:
Godless faith: alarmism supplies a faith about saving the earth, reputedly justified by state of the art “science,” communicated by upbeat TV personalities. No readings from ancient texts of the Bible or Koran, by guys in long robes. NBC News has a site where sinners can confess climate “transgressions.“ Pope Francis hopped aboard the climate bandwagon. Carbon “offsets” resemble indulgences under the Catholic Church.
Virtue signaling: Saving the Earth may signal a voter has likable, laudable intents. (Who could object to saving the Earth? Angry voters if they someday learn carbon has nothing to do with climate variability?)
Agenda: politicians need a platform on which to campaign. Given an era of large budget deficits, high spending leftists have little exciting to tout to voters. Their continued reliance on alarmism may indicate idea exhaustion.
Avoid flip flops: since leftists have campaigned for alarmism since circa 1988, they may want to remain consistent. They may not want to admit errors or fraud. The vanity of many is vested in alarmism. Coming clean that it has just been a selfish hoax could be a blow to credibility.
Assault economic freedom: Alarmism teaches that the entire world is at immense risk, owing to productive work that generates CO2. This pessimistic fairy tale degrades morale. Obama’s fairy tales are grimmer than those of the Brothers Grimm!
The falsehood of climate change encourages dependence on big government to save citizens from an imaginary bugaboo. It is slander, attacks patriotism, inspires alienation. For this, we can thank Fake News!
Fear of economic power: oil companies, coal firms, and electricity makers can be large, heavily capitalized. They may be regarded with intuitive suspicion by members of the public obliged to buy their vital products. Leftists can harness consumer fear by advocating constraints on energy firms.
Let’s next consider ways climate alarmism might generate money:
Tax carbon: alarmism can provide rationale for taxes. In 2009, Obama announced two priorities: health care and global warming. The first was costly, whereas a tax on CO2 emissions would have provided new revenue. The USA is the largest global producer of natural gas, an abundance that has lowered prices 80 percent during the past 15 years. Leftists can tax this vital sector. They love to tax businesses, as if this protects consumers. Sadly, however, consumers still pay for the taxes, just indirectly, via higher prices for energy products.
Confiscate energy firms: alarmism can justify seizure of US energy firms. In 2019, Senator Bernie Sanders has advocated such takeovers.
Funding innovations: alarmism has been used to justify Federal investments for research to reduce CO2 emissions. Research funding inspires lefty voters. Department of Energy labs also serve this purpose. A great deal of money is expended, though the yield of practical inventions is likely modest.
Renewable energy mandates: In 28 States, regulators of electricity suppliers have imposed Renewable Energy mandates. Many people assume renewable energy is helpful. They may not realize winds are inconveniently intermittent, to say nothing of the absence of sunshine during night or when clouds block sun rays. Variable electricity from wind and solar is intrinsically less reliable than burning hydrocarbons at a managed rate. Electricity firms often build backup generation via hydrocarbons, a costly redundancy. Unreliable power makes distribution more vulnerable. Solar and wind generate modest yields of electricity on a per acre basis, gobbling-up land from other purposes. Renewable energy mandates enable electricity suppliers to bill consumers at higher prices, providing less reliable power, while contributing few if any environmental benefits.
Repeal of State renewable energy mandates would lower electricity costs for both consumers and businesses. This would provide higher long-term economic growth, employment, and standards of living. 1
Foreign interests: alarmism is championed by the United Nations. The UN’s climate program drastically favors developing nations, to the detriment of more advanced economies like the United States. Though speculative, US environmentalists may quietly obtain financial support from foreign interests.opposed to US energy production. For decades, a Federal law prevented exports of petroleum, hobbling domestic producers and refiners, until repealed in late 2017. It has further been reported that family members of sitting southpaw politicians have obtained payments from Ukraine. This may illustrate an influence-peddling kick-back, trailing in the wake of foreign aid.
Fraudulent basis for eco-regulating: One might assume regulations faithfully seek to achieve a discernible environmental benefit. However, since climate change owing to CO2 does not exist in the first place, logically it follows there can be no benefit from any regulation purported to relieve a non-problem. During June 2019, Jay Lehr helpfully clarified the only number relevant to climate change is “zero.” Zero is the amount of temperature change fairly attributable to CO2 gas.
By championing climate change on the absurd grounds of CO2, leftists opened a Pandora’s box of economy-sapping regulations that achieve no environmental good. Doctor Carlin has been a determined, brave voice of reason advocating for repealing EPA’s endangerment finding.
Carlin has further helpfully written that the social externality or social cost of carbon should be negative. This creates a double negative, in effect a positive value. This recognizes air emissions of CO2 are positive, because they enable photosynthesis, forests, and crops. If firms factor social costs, they should account for positive contributions to our Biosphere by emitting CO2.
Businesses play an important role in economies. They are not helped by the burden of countering a non-existent environmental problem. Candidate Trump clarified during a debate in October 2016 that climate change was “BS.” He was concise and on point.
Mounting absurdity: In desperation, environmentalists increasingly attack the element carbon, referring to “carbon pollution.” This is absurd. All living things must contain carbon. “No element is more essential to life than carbon, because only carbon forms strong single bonds to itself that are stable enough to resist
chemical attack under ambient conditions. This gives carbon the ability to form long-chains and rings of atoms, these are the structural basis for many compounds that comprise the living cell, of which the most important is DNA.” 2
Non-scientific attacks on gaseous CO2 and on carbon more broadly qualify as “flat-earth” thinking. CO2 enables greenery, oxygen, life on earth. Carbon is essential to living things.
When avowedly green politicians attack greenery and other life on our planet, int he name of saving the planet, clearly their thinking is fatally muddled and cannot be trusted. Climate change should have been shot-down with countervailing rigorous science during the G. H. W. Bush presidency (1989-1993). This might have headed off expensive and pernicious climate follies during the reigns of Clinton, Dubya Bush, and Obama. Americans have been made poorer as a result of embarrassingly bad science.
Better late than never, a rigorous independent review of the science of climate change is overdue.
Closing: climate alarmist policies are not in the best interest of many Americans.
Policies to counter climate change variously:
Increase household and industrial costs for energy
Curb long-term economic growth and jobs
Reduce standards of living
Increase reliance on foreign supplies of energy and
Curb US production of energy.
Economist Thomas Sowell has observed “politics is the art of making your selfish desires seem like the national interest.” 3 This holds nicely true with climate alarmism. Leftist tactics to counter climate change serve their parochial interests, while lowering US economic growth by raising energy prices shouldered by Americans. The climate change narrative has been enforced by Fake News propaganda and media manipulation.
Shameless dishonesty about climate alarmism has increased social division. Another cost has been degradation of free speech through intolerance. Al Gore set the tone, claiming opposition to alarmism came from corrupt opponents or people so uneducated as to believe the earth is flat.
The social cost of dishonest environmental science has vastly exceeded the social cost of carbon.
Higher energy prices and lower living standards, owing to climate alarmist policies, are degradations, corrosively adsorbed into the lives of real people, increasing misery and alienation.
Why would southpaw leaders aim to hobble the American economy and increase social miseries? Perhaps because of selfish motives, as conjectured above?
2 John Emsley. 2001.Nature’s building blocks. Oxford University Press.
via Carlin Economics and Science
October 31, 2019 at 01:56PM