To Understand The Insanity Of The Climate Change Movement

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The American oil industry is now signed on to what all the economists insist is the right way to deal with climate change. Just have a carbon tax and let the markets do the rest of the heavy lifting. As a result we will be able to see the full insanity of the climate change movement:

Oil companies, automakers and consumer products manufacturers will unleash a campaign for a U.S. tax on carbon dioxide emissions even though it may lead to higher prices for their products. Oil companies BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc are giving $1 million each to the Americans for Carbon Dividends advocacy campaign, underwriting its efforts to persuade Congress to enact a carbon tax-and-dividend plan. And Ford Motor Co. is signing on as a founding member of the group developing its underlying initiative, the Climate Leadership Council.

And can’t you just hear the screams? This is corporate lobbying and therefore whatever is being proposed is evil!

The initiative they’re backing would impose a predictable, nationwide price on carbon dioxide emissions — starting at $40 per ton — with the promise of deeper reductions in greenhouse gases than would be achieved through existing laws.

The “starting at” shows that we’re on the Bill Nordhaus plan here, the correct one. And not just because he got the Nobel last year for his efforts and research into this issue. Because it is the correct one. Don’t throw away everything we’ve already built, use it until it runs out. But make damn sure that what replaces it is non-emitting.

And yet can’t you just hear the objections? The varied climate change activists will be against this even more vociferously than they would be if nothing was being proposed. As, in fact, they were against such a plan in Washington State. No, really, the biggest objectors to that plan there were green groups.

We might even describe this as a tragedy. Decades of campaigning, argument, public advocacy, have finally swung the energy establishment behind the correct solution. Therefore this will be opposed because who wants to agree with the energy establishment?

Sigh.

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Rhoda Klapp
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Rhoda Klapp

There you go again.

PeterBurgess
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PeterBurgess

Interesting post. I am not a great enthusiast for the carbon tax though it might be better than nothing. Rather my preference is for something that is much bolder simply because it is needed in order to change the trajectory of systemic dysfunction in the modern global economy. The USA did not have man travel to the moon in the 1960s by taking baby steps, but by inventing all sorts of new stuff so that the mission could be accomplished. The Green New Deal is a strategic idea that is bold and comprehensive enough to deliver social and environmental justice… Read more »

Andrew Carey
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Andrew Carey

A universal basic income for those incapable of work, or unwilling. Yes, please.

PeterBurgess
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PeterBurgess

Universal basic income (UBI) is an interesting idea, but the financing of it is a challenge. When the banks were in danger of catastrophic failure, there was a clever financing trick that made their survival possible. Something equally clever is going to be needed to finance UBI, and perhaps there should also be something to finance the transformation of industry to be carbon neutral. Such changes are possible, though not likely without courageous political leadership.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

What is this ‘systemic dysfunction in the modern global economy’ of which you speak? Is it that it is making us all richer, albeit not at a completely equal rate?

PeterBurgess
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PeterBurgess

I am not sure that the modern economy is ‘making all of us richer’. Yes … the average wealth is going up, but the inequality that has emerged in the last 40 years has made a relatively small group very much richer, a much bigger group flatlining, some who were quite poor now much richer (in so called emerging markets) and another very large group that are poorer than they used to be (in both developed countries and less developed countries.). The dysfunction arises in good part because of the focus on GDP growth, higher profits and stock prices as… Read more »

timworstall
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timworstall

No. Economic growth has made the global 1% richer. Note the global 1% includes all those in UK on more than about median wage, around £25,000 a year. It’s left the bottom 5 to 10% alone as some places just haven’t been taking part in that growth. The global 90 to 95% have stood still as well – roughly. those on less than median income in the already rich countries. And that majority? The global 10% to 90%? Vast, huge, income gains. In terms of the number of people the vast majority who have benefited are the global poor. See… Read more »

PeterBurgess
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PeterBurgess

Thanks Tim … though I am not so sure about being factually wrong. From where I stand, there is a huge group of workers in OECD countries that used to have reasonably well paid industrial jobs. This segment of society have flatlined for the past 40 years while the top tier of society … especially owners … have increased their wealth in an impressive manner, Yes … the global poor have progressed as your Forbes article points out. In some countries, like China and other low wage countries there have been major improvements in earnings of workers compared to the… Read more »

timworstall
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timworstall

“This segment of society have flatlined for the past 40 years ” Note what my claim is. That some indeed haven’t benefited. Your claim here is the same. Your original claim was that these people have got poorer. They haven’t. As you now agree. “but a huge chunk of the world’s poor are still desperately poor and probably getting worse.” No, there is no one getting poorer – outside economic headcases like Venezuela and Zimbabwe that is. As to desperately poor – sure, way too many of them. But that absolute poverty – less than $1.90 a day – has… Read more »

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

Yes … the average wealth is going up That’s precisely what most people mean by “making us all richer”. another very large group that are poorer than they used to be Can you point to a group that is genuinely not today significantly richer than they would have been 40 years ago (note that in the UK this would have been the era BT, Before Thatcher)? I doubt it, because there isn’t one. In particular, the global poorest, those in true poverty of less than $1.90 a day (adjusted for inflation, local purchasing power, etc) have diminished at an astonishing… Read more »

Andrew Carey
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Andrew Carey

The Green New Deal , or the UK version at least, advocated the taxation of CO2 emissions 3 times in its preamble. I’m guessing that you reject the Green New Deal ( the 2008 UK version )

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

Is it worth pointing out that human released CO2 amounts to 0.0001% of the atmosphere and that termites contribute ten times more? Perhaps we should tax insects.

PeterBurgess
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PeterBurgess

Seriously … what has this got to do with anything? Burning fossil fuels is the dominant source of CO2 getting into the atmosphere …

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

Burning fossil fuels is not the dominant source of CO2 in the atmosphere, termites alone emit 10 times more than human beings. What has it got to do with anything? Everything. Draconian political and damaging economic policy is being driven by the belief that human CO2 emissions, and indeed CO2 the life giving trace gas itself, is somehow pollution. Fear and a great deal of psychological stress is being inculcated in children, and even adults. Demagogues like AOC are spreading the fear of catastrophe with nasty un-evidenced statements saying everyone is going to die in 12 years. Facts are then… Read more »

JdL
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JdL

CO2 has been in higher concentrations, up to 1000% more, for most of the time life has existed on earth.

I like to highlight that CO2 was three times what it is today 60 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth. The planet, and life on it, were thriving, as long as you didn’t get eaten by one of the raptors. If CO2 is so terrible, why weren’t they baking, or freezing, or whatever some random computer model says would happen?

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

Because their computer models are utter bunkum?

Climan
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Climan

Why is the US oil (AND GAS) industry in favour of a carbon tax? Because it destroys their main competitor in electricity generation, coal.

Economists of all people should look no further than “follow the money”, only the deluded foot soldiers are interested in saving the planet.

Boganboy
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Boganboy

As I’ve noticed in Oz. The South Australian green electricity binge meant that, despite Tesla’s battery, they had to buy diesels to provide the necessary backup. They blew up the old power station at Port Augusta so there was no going back to coal if/when the government changed. Of course now they whinge that their electricity prices are the highest in Oz, and guess who they want to subsidise them. Naturally our live cattle trade to oil producing Indonesia has been strangled by PETA, and the live sheep trade to the Middle East is on the way out. Previously SA… Read more »