Unintended and Unethical Climate Policy Consequences

Published January 26, 2015

Climate Change Weekly #156

Should governments act now to prevent the possibility of dangerous human-caused climate change, even if the chances for future harm are exceedingly small? Those who say yes often base their answer on the idea of intergenerational equity: Present generations should not impose harms on future generations who will play no role in and have no control over the factors causing the harm.

Governments have taken this argument seriously, enacting expensive subsidies for renewable energy sources and restrictions on technologies and fossil fuel production. Those policies are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions – which, according to anthropogenic global warming theory, are responsible for harmful climate change.

But it’s important to note actions taken today have consequences not only for the future, but also for today. Public policies that hurt present generations also will result in profound negative consequences for future generations, as a recent report by the Global Warming Policy Foundation makes clear.

Biofuel mandates, for instance, were intended to replace carbon-intensive fossil fuels for transportation with carbon-neutral fuels. It turns out biofuels are not carbon-neutral. Moreover, the mandates have resulted in a deadly transformation of food to fuel, causing higher food prices and shortages and leaving the already malnourished and hungry even hungrier. Wild lands have been plowed under and forests cleared away to create space for crops to be grown for fuel, destroying wildlife habitat. In some regions, government’s push for biofuels has forced native peoples off their traditional homelands.

Government subsidies to, and mandates requiring the use of, inefficient, expensive renewable energy have resulted in higher energy prices and government deficits. In the process, developed countries have left developing nations in energy poverty by restricting loans for energy development to renewable energy development only. Renewable energy sources have left a massive footprint on Earth, transforming millions of acres into industrial wind and solar farms and killing millions of birds, bats, and other wildlife annually.

The push for energy-efficient lighting has resulted in traffic accidents and deaths because new energy-efficient lights don’t generate enough heat to keep from icing over during freezing temperatures, obscuring the signal lights. Compact fluorescent lamps, which are replacing incandescent light bulbs as a result of federal regulations, contain toxins – primarily mercury – that get released into the atmosphere when they break in garbage bins and landfills.

These and other human and environmental harms caused by climate change policies should be given more weight when making the intergenerational justice argument. Harms caused today, and people left in poverty now as a result, leave future generations with fewer options, less wealth, and less able to adapt to future climate change.

SOURCE: Global Warming Policy Foundation


Senate: Climate change is real … EPA rules merit investigation … West Virginia schools should allow climate dissent … Climate realist takes charge in Brazil … Media wrong on 2014 warming … Warming doesn’t make business poll


Surprising many political observers, climate skeptics joined warming alarmists in the U.S. Senate to approve, by a vote of 98 to 1, a resolution proclaiming climate change real. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) led skeptics to vote for the resolution, saying archeological, biblical, geological, and meteorological evidence shows climate change has happened with regularity throughout history, all without human influence. On a second resolution, by a vote of 50 to 49, the Senate rejected an amendment by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) that says human activities are significantly contributing to climate change. For those keeping score of Senate activities, the climate realists are beating the global warming alarmists, 1–0.

SOURCE: Washington Post


Congressional oversight is critical to discovering faulty science used by regulatory agencies and the radical motives behind many environmental regulations. Past investigations have discovered many instances of fraud and malfeasance in science cited to justify agency regulations. An article by Jon Basil Utley at Reason.com discusses six areas of EPA action or inaction Congress should investigate, including: ground-level ozone regulations, lead paint regulations, EPA’s response to the 2010 British Petroleum oil spill; the agency’s increasingly common tendency to impose regulations through the settlement of lawsuits with radical environmental groups; preliminary forays into natural gas regulations; and EPA’s use of distorted, secret science as the basis for regulations.

SOURCE: Reason.com


West Virginia seems intent on following Texas’s bad example concerning the teaching of global warming: The state’s board of education (BOE) removed all balanced and accurate depictions of the real state of climate science from its science education standards. Before pressure from liberal interests groups, teachers unions, and environmental radicals had clouded their thinking, West Virginia’s BOE inserted the views of climate realists and hard data into the science curriculum. ClimateDepot.com Executive Editor Marc Morano applauded that move, saying the BOE accurately noted over time temperatures have both risen and fallen; there are serious questions about the accuracy of the climate models used by alarmists; and natural factors played a significant role in historic climate variation. Morano concluded, “There is nothing controversial here except the idea that we should allow open debate and not tell kids that they have to think a certain way.” Unfortunately, climate radicals seem to have won the day: The climate alarmist indoctrination of West Virginia’s children will commence at the start of the next school year, unless BOE changes its position again and reinserts accurate climate science after the current 30-day comment period concerning the standards ends.

SOURCES: Climate Depot and Charleston Gazette


Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff appointed Aldo Rebelo, a prominent climate skeptic, to lead the nation’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. In this position, Rebelo will set the direction for the agency and appoint a team of scientists and policymakers who will work with him for the next four years. In the past, Rebelo labeled climate change an “environmental scam,” and as a legislator in Brazil’s national legislature, he called the movement to curb greenhouse gas emissions “nothing less, in its geopolitical essence, than the bridgehead of imperialism.” If only President Barack Obama were so sensible in his agency appointments.

SOURCE: Science


Some scientific organizations and media outlets appear to have become more cautious with their climate reporting. As Holman Jenkins remarked, “Berkeley Earth … noted … when it comes to 2014 and the other ‘hottest year’ candidates, 2005 and 2010, the observed temperature difference was smaller than the margin of error by a factor of five, adding, ‘Therefore it is impossible to conclude from our analysis which of 2014, 2010, or 2005 was actually the warmest year.’ To its credit, The Washington Post alluded to the … important fact that ‘rising temperatures have not kept pace with computer simulations that predicted even faster warming.'” However, most of the mainstream media hyped initial claims by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration made in early January 2015 (later modified and moderated) that asserted 2014 was the warmest year on record. Jenkins says popular media outlets usually toe the climate party line. The Associated Press, for instance, reported nine of the 10 hottest years on record occurred since 2000. Jenkins stated, “evidence of warming is not evidence of what causes warming. One would be astonished if mankind, with its prodigious release of greenhouse gases and other activities, were not having an impact on climate. But how and how much are the crucial questions. Even if humanity could assert bureaucratic control over climate, the cost-benefit case would remain problematic – the costs being huge and the benefits necessarily being as uncertain as man’s role in causing climate change.”

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal


While many politicians and climate activists act as if 2015 is a critical year in the fight against runaway anthropogenic global warming, for the business community, global warming evidently merits a collective yawn. In PricewaterhouseCooper’s annual survey of more than 1,300 CEOs concerning their top 19 business worries or risks, global warming did not even make the list. In 2014, only 10 percent of CEOs listed climate change as worrisome. The issue most troubling to the world’s CEOs? Overregulation, with 78 percent of corporate leaders saying it threatens prospects for growth.

SOURCE: The Guardian

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