Latest posts by H. Sterling Burnett (see all)
- Russia Is Polluting Energy and Climate Politics in Western Democracies - April 15, 2019
- The ‘Green New Deal’ Is Dead. Long May It Stay Buried! - April 10, 2019
- Coloradans’ Votes Don’t Matter to State’s Democratic Leaders - April 10, 2019
True believers in the theory humans are causing dangerous climate change propose costly, liberty restricting, fixes to reduce or mitigate the supposedly disastrous harms that are supposed to result from it. What they almost always scrupulously avoid discussing, however, are the trade offs, that is the negative impacts of the climate fixes — primarily the end of, or sharp restrictions on, the use of fossil fuels — that are likely to result from their mitigation proposals. All actions have benefits and costs and the truth is the actions proposed to halt or slow purported dangerous climate change are almost always projected, when such projections are honestly undertaken, to cause orders of magnitude more damage to human well being and prosperity, now and in the future, than the harms they are meant to prevent.
More evidence of this comes from a recent study in Nature Climate Change which indicates efforts to prevent climate change by limiting fossil fuel use could cause 300 percent more people to suffer from hunger than the (dubious) estimated damage from climate change.
The study shows measures likely to be taken by countries to meet their commitments under the Paris climate agreement—such as imposing carbon taxes, expanding biofuel plantations, and planting trees—would increase the cost of food production and take vital agricultural land out of production. As a result, climate policies could put 78 million more people at risk of hunger and malnutrition by 2050, compared to an estimated 24 million who might face hunger caused by climate changes, the authors calculated.
The lead author of the study, Tomoko Hasegawa of the Center for Social and Environmental Systems Research at the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Tsukuba, Japan, told Reuters food prices would increase dramatically under carbon dioxide restrictions.
“It will become difficult for the poor and vulnerable people to buy enough food,” Hasegawa told Reuters. “Some people may also shift from nutrition-rich products to less nutritious food.”
Which leads us to the question any sensible person should ask when climate fearmongers say this X or that Y proposal will prevent or reduce damage by Z amount, one should always ask, “Compared to what,” or a variation, “And then what.”
One must remember, actions (usually taxes, regulations, and subsidies) to fight purported anthropogenic climate change, as well and business as usual scenario’s where no concerted domestic or internationally coordinated government actions are taken (at least in the short term) to fight climate change, or even more market oriented actions — reducing subsidies and regulations that currently influence peoples choices in energy use, transportation, living arrangement — each result in costs and benefits and it would be wise, to make an apples to apples comparison of them before using the force that is government action to set the world on one policy path or another — making the wrong decision can carry steep costs in terms of peoples lives and freedom.