Taxing Carbon in the Name of Climate Change

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Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh

Dr. Ileana John­son Paugh

The econ­o­my is “risky busi­ness” but even riski­er when envi­ron­men­tal­ists are dri­ving the debate to reflect the world as the glob­al­ists plan it to be.
Robert Rubin

Robert Rubin

The for­mer Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Robert E. Rubin wrote in the Wash­ing­ton Post on July 27, 2014, “How ignor­ing cli­mate change could sink the U.S. econ­o­my.”

Not count­ing the non-enforced south­ern bor­der and the hordes of new and law­less Demo­c­rat cit­i­zens who demand their fair share of the Amer­i­can dream now turned into a wel­fare night­mare, the nation­al debt is most like­ly to sink the econ­o­my soon­er than any oth­er vari­able and that includes cli­mate change that has been chang­ing for mil­len­nia.

Rubin asserts that, since the “sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty is all but unan­i­mous in its agree­ment that cli­mate change is a seri­ous threat,” we have to include cli­mate change risks in eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy, fis­cal and busi­ness deci­sions, even though we can­not define cli­mate change risks with pre­ci­sion.

He cites a Gallup poll (we know how accu­rate opin­ion polls are) that near­ly “60 per­cent of Amer­i­cans believe that glob­al warm­ing is caused by human activ­i­ty.” We’ve had 17 years of record cold tem­per­a­tures and an unusu­al­ly cold and late spring and sum­mer. Every time pro­gres­sives have met some­where to hold a glob­al warm­ing protest or con­fer­ence, Moth­er Nature reward­ed them with bliz­zards and snow storms. Since the coastal areas are not under­wa­ter as Al Gore has pre­dict­ed due to the melt­ing of the polar ice caps, pro­gres­sives have mod­i­fied their talk­ing points from glob­al warm­ing to cli­mate change.

The buildup of green­house gas­es is cumu­la­tive and irre­versible.” Even though we’ve had record ice this year, Sec­re­tary Rubin repeats the envi­ron­men­tal­ists’ fal­la­cious state­ment that “the melt­ing polar ice sheets will cause sea lev­els to rise.” Did he learn in school why melt­ing ice cubes in a glass does not cause the water to spill over?

The dis­cus­sion, he said, has been incor­rect­ly con­cen­trat­ed on the trade-off between envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and eco­nom­ic pros­per­i­ty. Instead, the dis­cus­sion should be focused on the “cost of inac­tion.” Inac­tion is an exag­ger­a­tion since every agency of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has been ordered to adopt a cli­mate change plat­form and the EPA has been busy forc­ing many coal pow­ered plants to close due to their inabil­i­ty to com­ply with the dra­con­ian new rules imposed by the EPA.

Rubin believes that the long term cost of inac­tion is much greater than the cost of action. We are spend­ing a lot of mon­ey on a healthy patient on the assump­tion that, at some point, this patient might get the plague.

A bipar­ti­san effort (It must be good since it’s bipar­ti­san) is mea­sur­ing the eco­nom­ic risks of unchecked cli­mate change in the U.S. Are we now so pow­er­ful that we can keep the cli­mate in check? The report named “Risky Busi­ness,” was released in June 2014 under the co-chair­man­ship of the for­mer May­or of New York, Michael Bloomberg.

Appar­ent­ly agri­cul­ture, ener­gy, coastal prop­er­ty sec­tors, pub­lic health, and labor pro­duc­tiv­i­ty will be sig­nif­i­cant­ly harmed by cli­mate change by 2050.

We can­not accu­rate­ly pre­dict the weath­er a week in advance, or where the tor­na­do will decide to touch down, but we can now pre­dict and manip­u­late cli­mate change? Maybe we can with cloud seed­ing.

How about Mark Armitage, the pro­fes­sor who found in 2012 soft tis­sue on a tricer­atops horn at Hell Creek For­ma­tion in Mon­tana? His dis­cov­ery sure turned on its head the “con­sen­sus” sci­ence that dinosaurs roamed the earth 60 mil­lion years ago. The soft tis­sue found under a pow­er­ful micro­scope proves that the fos­sil is “only 4,000 years old at most.” If tricer­atops roamed the earth at the same time as humans, then what the­o­ry are sci­en­tists going to advance now about cli­mate change, its caus­es, and how dinosaurs dis­ap­peared? (Acta His­to­chem­i­ca, July 2013, Vol. 115(6): 603–608, doi:10.1016/j.acthis.2013.01.001)

Prop­er­ties in Flori­da and Louisiana will be below sea lev­el and thus flood­ed to the tune of $48–68 bil­lion, said Rubin. I could be wrong but a lot of Louisiana and Flori­da are already below sea lev­el and sub­ject to floods. Al Gore told us in his award-win­ning doc­u­men­tary that sea lev­els would rise by 20 feet and many coastal nations would be under water “in the near future.”

Dam­age from super storms that are yet to occur, like Kat­ri­na and Sandy (com­bined $193 bil­lion in eco­nom­ic loss­es), will drain the econ­o­my, he says. He states that “we can’t attribute all the dam­age caused by Kat­ri­na and Sandy to glob­al warm­ing,” but ris­ing sea lev­els caused high­er surges and these “super storms will increase if glob­al warm­ing per­sists.” He is sure that the dam­age will not be on a straight line, it will be on an “upward slop­ing curve.”

How do we mit­i­gate the dam­age from a poten­tial super storm or an erupt­ing vol­cano? Why mit­i­gate just poten­tial super storm costs? Because envi­ron­men­tal­ists blame CO2 (car­bon emis­sions) on human activ­i­ty and they want to tax it. They cer­tain­ly can­not tax a vol­cano spew­ing ash into the atmos­phere or under sea vol­canos that release lava and gas­es con­stant­ly, pos­si­bly account­ing for the acid­i­fi­ca­tion of sea water.

Car­bon” is the chem­i­cal ele­ment with the sym­bol C and the atom­ic num­ber 6. A sec­ond def­i­n­i­tion pops up, obvi­ous­ly dri­ven by the glob­al warm­ing agen­da, “car­bon diox­ide or oth­er gaseous com­pounds released into the atmos­phere, asso­ci­at­ed with cli­mate change.”

Rubin’s Malthu­sian prog­no­sis is that “dra­mat­i­cal­ly ris­ing tem­per­a­tures in much of the coun­try will make it far too hot for peo­ple to work out­side dur­ing parts of the day for sev­er­al months each year – reduc­ing employ­ment and eco­nom­ic out­put, and caus­ing as many as 65,200 addi­tion­al heat-relat­ed deaths every year.”

The actu­al deaths asso­ci­at­ed with expo­sure to exces­sive nat­ur­al heat in the U.S. in the peri­od of 1999–2010 when sev­er­al super storms and hur­ri­canes hit was 7,415, an aver­age of 618 per year, the high­est in 1999 (1,050) and the low­est in 2004 (295).

Inci­den­tal­ly, 2004 was the year that reg­is­tered three super storms, Hur­ri­cane Charley that hit south­west Flori­da, Hur­ri­cane Ivan that hit the Caribbean and the Mid-Atlantic states, and Hur­ri­cane Frances that hit the Bahamas, Flori­da, the Car­oli­nas, Ohio, and Cana­da.

Per­haps we should recall that unem­ploy­ment is already at a very steep 18 per­cent, not the rosy and inac­cu­rate MSM report­ing of a con­stant­ly drop­ping unem­ploy­ment rate (due to a larg­er and larg­er con­tin­gent of dis­cour­aged work­ers who gave up look­ing for work and are thus no longer count­ed, but receive unem­ploy­ment or wel­fare), GDP has been neg­a­tive in the last quar­ter, and mea­sured tem­per­a­tures around the globe have been cool­er in the last 17 years.

Rubin iden­ti­fied three risks asso­ci­at­ed with “unmit­i­gat­ed cli­mate change:

Future fed­er­al spend­ing to deal with cli­mate change is like­ly to be enor­mous and should be includ­ed in fis­cal pro­jec­tions” (the spend­ing is already enor­mous, to the tune of tril­lions of dol­lars dur­ing this regime); costs must be cov­ered either by increas­ing the deficit, rais­ing tax­es (Democ­rats’ favorite play­book), cut­ting spend­ing on defense (they’re going that), cut­ting our social safe­ty net (the safe­ty net no longer exists due to gov­ern­ment out of con­trol spend­ing and wel­fare largesse to evil dic­ta­tor­ships around the world), and cut­ting pub­lic invest­ment in infra­struc­ture, edu­ca­tion, and basic research. Where did the stim­u­lus bil­lions go that were sup­posed to build and fix roads and bridges?

Investors should demand that com­pa­nies “dis­close their expo­sure to cli­mate risks, assets that could be strand­ed by cli­mate change, and the costs they may some­day incur to address their car­bon emis­sions.” (There is the real rea­son for this entire arti­cle, more tax­es, tax­ing the car­bon foot­print.)

For­mer SEC chair­woman Mary Shapiro wants to encour­age busi­ness­es to make such report­ing manda­to­ry in their quar­ter­ly dis­clo­sures. If not, SEC, the Wall Street reg­u­la­tor, should man­date such dis­clo­sures.

If cli­mate-relat­ed risks are exposed, com­pa­nies would be forced to change their pol­lut­ing behav­ior.

GDP is not a good mea­sure of our econ­o­my because it does not include neg­a­tive exter­nal­i­ties result­ing from cli­mate change. Rubin pro­pos­es a par­al­lel GDP that reflects the impact of green­house gas emis­sions.

Tax the com­pa­nies for the dam­age result­ing from their emis­sions involved in pro­duc­ing goods and ser­vices and then pass the cost onto hap­less con­sumers who need the goods and ser­vices to sur­vive.

Sud­den­ly we are faced with the nev­er-before pro­posed sce­nario “to pro­tect our econ­o­my by pro­tect­ing the envi­ron­ment” or “allow­ing envi­ron­men­tal hav­oc to cre­ate eco­nom­ic hav­oc.” The econ­o­my is “risky busi­ness” but it is even riski­er when envi­ron­men­tal­ists are dri­ving the debate of an econ­o­my to reflect the world as the glob­al­ists plan it to be.