Each day I skim over the op-eds in the New York Times so that you don't have to. And what do I come upon yesterday but an op-ed by two prominent Republican economists (not quite an oxymoron), Martin Feldstein and Gregory Mankiw, advocating for "A Conservative Case for Climate Action." Uh-oh. And then, upon checking my emails, I learn that there is a nearly-identical op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, titled "A Conservative Answer to Climate Change," this time with different authors -- former Treasury Secretaries George Shultz and James Baker. A co-ordinated attack!
Get ready: A bunch of Grand Pooh-Bahs, calling themselves "conservatives," have formed something they are calling the Climate Leadership Council to advocate for a new approach to tackling "climate change." Besides the authors listed above, the members include another ex-Treasury Secretary (Hank Paulson), an ex-chairman of Wal-Mart (Rob Walton), a venture capital guy (Thomas Stephenson), and long-time do-gooder Ted Halstead (who seems be the one who rounded the whole thing up). All of these guys have co-authored a new paper, just released, titled "The Conservative Case For Carbon Dividends."
Now, these authors are obviously a collection of really, really smart guys. And, because they are really, really smart, they have that special ability that you and I lack, which is the ability to devise ultimate solutions to the most difficult societal problems through the magic of the government's power to tax and spend. And, you will not be surprised to learn, they have used their very special ability to devise the solution to that most critical problem of our time, "climate change." And what is the solution? You guessed it! A large and steadily-growing tax!:
[T]he federal government would impose a gradually increasing tax on carbon dioxide emissions. It might begin a $40 per ton and increase steadily. this tax would send a powerful signal to businesses and consumers to reduce their carbon footprints.
Does anything about this sound familiar? Oh yes, it was the "Risky Business Coalition," another small collection of Grand Pooh-Bahs who also issued a clarion call for drastic action by the U.S. federal government to stop "climate change," this one back in mid-2014. That call was the subject of my first post in this series on June 25 of that year, "Watch Out For Rule By The "Smart." The Climate Leadership Council and the Risky Business Coalition have substantial overlap in their small list of members -- Paulson, Shultz and Walton lent their names to both groups. (The other members of the RBC were Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer.) RBC advocated a massive transition away from fossil fuels and toward so-called "clean energy" -- although its mechanism of how to make that happen was far from clear.
All the members of this new Climate Leadership Council are obviously people of great ability and great accomplishment. No one would doubt that they are really "smart." But, before seeking to impose hundreds of billions of dollars of new taxes on the American people, do you think that people this smart could be troubled to ask a couple of the most basic questions? Questions like: Even assuming the U.N.'s worst-case projections for world temperature increase caused by CO2 emissions, how much could this tax be expected to reduce that increase? Of course they do not address that question. Hey, everybody knows that we have to reduce carbon emissions -- we're just coming up with the best way to do it! However, if we humble peasants are interested in the answer to the question, we can go the the Cato Institute's handy Carbon Tax Temperature Savings Calculator (which in turn is based on the government's own model known as MAGICC). If we go there, we will find that, assuming that this new tax can reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 60% (that will never happen), and that climate "sensitivity" is 3 deg C per doubling of atmospheric CO2 (crazy high), then this new tax will save a big 0.032 deg C of warming by 2050, and 0.076 deg C of warming by 2100. Why, 83 years from now, that's almost enough to be as large as the margin of error of the measurement!
Or maybe these really "smart" guys could ask whether there is actually any dangerous warming going on that requires these kinds of massive government-directed "solutions." I won't go here into the extensive government temperature data alteration that is the subject of my series "The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time." But Roger Simon at PJ Media yesterday was quick to point out the disastrous timing of the NYT/WSJ op-eds, coming as they did just a few days after whistleblower John Bates's revelations of data manipulation at NOAA intended to dupe world leaders into making "climate" agreements. How much of recent world temperature increase is real, versus an artifact of altered data? Maybe we will find out as the new Trump administration takes control of the reins.
Well, now for the good news. I don't know how it happened, but somehow, at some point, Republican politicians stopped being susceptible to falling for the climate alarm scam. The old guys had all fallen for it. Presidential candidates McCain and Romney were both on board with the climate alarm bandwagon. And this Climate Leadership Council crowd is considerably older still (Shultz is 96 (!), Baker 86, Paulson 70, Feldstein 77). Meanwhile, in today's Congress, you literally won't find a single Republican to speak in favor of massive fossil fuel restrictions to stop the existential threat of "climate change." Could they have figured out that the politics of "climate change" is really about massive government programs and handouts and growth that will have little to no effect upon the climate? Probably. You don't actually have to be very smart to figure that out.