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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) risks destroying the economy by installing a falsehood as a principle driver of governance for American business.
By proposing that companies to take extraordinary measures to account for climate risks, the SEC embraces a false climate emergency based on a premise that emissions of carbon dioxide from human activity threaten Earth with catastrophic warming. None of this is true. Yet, the SEC — mimicking a climate-industrial complex that demonizes carbon-emitting fossil fuels — presents an apocalyptic outlook with the certitude of pre-Reformation popes 500 years ago.
Carbon dioxide is, in fact, a beneficial gas absolutely necessary for life. More of it is good, as can be seen in an overall greening of Earth and record crop harvests that have paralleled modest warming and increasing CO2 levels in recent decades. Predictions of dangerous warming are based on flawed climate models and exaggerations of carbon dioxide’s potency as a greenhouse gas. In agreement with this view are numerous scientists, researchers and others. This includes the more than 90 members of the CO2 Coalition based in Arlington, Virginia.
One of those is Dr. Patrick Moore, a former CO2 Coalition chairman and a co-founder of Greenpeace, who says that man-made CO2 emissions are life-saving. His 2016 paper, “The Positive Impact of Human CO2 Emissions on the Survival of Life on Earth,” states:
As recently as 18,000 years ago, at the height of the most recent major glaciation, CO2 dipped to its lowest level in recorded history at 180 ppm (parts per million), low enough to stunt plant growth. This is only 30 ppm above a level that would result in the death of plants due to CO2 starvation.
It is calculated that if the decline in CO2 levels were to continue at the same rate as it has over the past 140 million years, life on Earth would begin to die as soon as two million years from now and would slowly perish almost entirely as carbon continued to be lost to the deep ocean sediments.
The combustion of fossil fuels for energy to power human civilization has reversed the downward trend in CO2 and promises to bring it back to levels that are likely to foster a considerable increase in the growth rate and biomass of plants, including food crops and trees.
Human emissions of CO2 have restored a balance to the global carbon cycle, thereby ensuring the long-term continuation of life on Earth.
This extremely positive aspect of human CO2 emissions must be weighed against the unproven hypothesis that human CO2 emissions will cause a catastrophic warming of the climate in coming years.
The one-sided political treatment of CO2 as a pollutant that should be radically reduced must be corrected in light of the indisputable scientific evidence that it is essential to life on Earth.
According to this understanding of carbon dioxide’s atmospheric cycle, it would be more appropriate to reward the burning of fossil fuels than to discourage it.
Instead, the SEC threatens to impose requirements that companies track their so-called carbon footprint and that of their business associates. The ultimate targets are producers of coal, oil and natural gas and those who burn the fuels.
Businesses would be evaluated on the basis of their adherence to climate orthodoxy. The SEC could discredit — even destroy — companies that aren’t on the climate-doomsday bandwagon. Financial institutions already discriminating against producers of hydrocarbons would receive the official backing of the U.S. government.
The outcome of all this can only be the crippling of America’s energy sector and increased reliance on expensive and unreliable sources such as wind and solar — and on Chinese sources of materials for those technologies.
This commentary was first published at Real Clear Energy June 23, 2022.