Wall Street is like a Las Vegas casino. It always wins by making money under almost any set of circumstance. Just think of all the imaginative ways that it did that with derivatives, carbon trading, and hedging before the last bubble burst.
Climate change like politics makes strange bedfellows. Environmentalists will team with anyone who will go along with their war on fossil energy. Climate change is just the latest incarnation of the anti-fossil energy campaign. Steyer, Bloomberg, Paulson and their colleagues either have a “Bootlegger and Baptist” agenda or are following a course based on ignorance. They gift truth to Mark Twain’s observation that he was not troubled by what people didn’t know but instead by all they knew that just wasn’t so.
Hard-headed facts and analysis are in short supply when it comes to climate change politics and rhetoric. There is no, absolutely no, justification for actions that will artificially curtail the use of fossil energy. A careful look at an accurate temperature record of the past 100 years and the satellite record of the past 34 years clearly reveals that there has not been a run away rise in temperatures. And, the recent halt in temperature increases should be a strong justification for second thoughts. Attempts to explain it away are ex-post rationalizations, not scientific evidence. Further, climate advocates, who use models as their basis for gloom, should be embarrassed by the fact that those models consistently over estimate the extent of projected warming.
Secretary Paulson claims that inaction is a serious threat to our economy. That statement demonstrates that he doesn’t know what he is talking about and is likely reflecting the group-think rhetoric that is necessary for continued acceptance in his social circles. He apparently doesn’t know that US greenhouse gas emissions are below the 2005 level and are not projected by EIA to get above that level for a couple of decades. He also must be unaware that coal is being replaced by natural gas to generate electricity with much lower emissions of carbon dioxide. He also seems to be unaware that our carbon intensity has continued to decline as a result of shifts in the make up of our economy and advances in technology. Paulson and the other members of today’s “no-nothing” club overlook the fact that no matter what we do to reduce emissions, they will continue to increase as a result of energy use in China, India, and other emerging economies.
People like Steyer, Paulson, and Wall Street money makers would love to see the US adopt a carbon tax because it is a vehicle for the politically connected to make money gaming the system at the expense of those who don’t have the connections to get the rules written in their favor. Last year, the Marshall Institute published a report, A Skeptical Look at a Carbon Tax (marshall.org/wp…A-Skeptical-…, which shows why what is elegant in theory would be a disaster in practice.
As the evidence to support the climate orthodoxy crumbles and becomes weaker, the doomsayers are doubling down. The American people are smarter than the elites in Washington and Wall Street and are not buying into the climate change scare. They rightly have more important priorities that center around economic growth and restoring trust in our political system.
This article appeared on the National Journal’s Energy Insiders weblog at http://disqus.com/wokeefe/