As noted in my 9-7-10 post, Financial Times has become a hangout for advocates of global warming alarmism. In today’s post we discuss the latest installment in FT-hosted lunacy.
University of Oxford professor of energy Dieter Helm makes [free registration required] two absurd statements to open his recent FT article. See if you can detect the factual and logical fallacies.
As global growth picks up after the economic crisis, carbon emissions are going back up too. With China and India back on track to double their gross domestic product every decade, and with coal providing nearly 30 per cent of global energy, the chances of stabilising [sic] and reducing emissions are low. Indeed, little progress has been made in the last two decades. Only recessions lower emissions – and then only for a short time.
We can sense the disappointment in the man’s fingers as he taps that last sentence into the keyboard. If only we could stay in recession, then we’d have some hope of keeping the evil carbon emissions from growing.
Once again we have a global warming echo chamber zealot pushing slow/no economic growth to “solve” a non-problem that humans didn’t cause and can’t fix. The professor’s most telling pronouncements occur halfway through his commentary.
The bottom line is that carbon consumption, not production, is what counts. Any serious global climate policy would have those who cause the emissions paying for them. And the obvious answer is to price carbon whatever its source.
The minds of primitivists like Helm are curious places. A primitivist wants to drive civilization backwards. In Helm’s argument, going backwards would reduce emissions of gases which the primitivist falsely believes are ruining the planet. The primitivist further believes that the cause of “global warming” is the people who use products (consumers) which are made by the evil producers that emit the evil gases. So then, Helm wants to slap economic burdens on consumers to stop them from consuming.
Helm’s argument is reminiscent of Obama science czar John Holdren’s call for America to take economic and technological steps backwards.
A massive campaign must be launched to restore a high-quality environment in North America and to de-develop the United States. …Resources and energy must be diverted from frivolous and wasteful uses in overdeveloped countries to filling the genuine needs of underdeveloped countries. This effort must be largely political.
A “massive campaign” to “de-develop the United States.” In essence, precisely what Helm prescribes for all developed countries. Such “de-development” has but one true purpose: redistribute wealth from advanced to stagnant cultures.
What method does Professor Helm recommend to penalize consumers for consuming?
…a carbon tax—initially as a floor price to the trading scheme—would be an improvement. The tax could start low and rise over time. It could also begin “upstream” by taxing coal, gas and oil, instead of finished goods. A cross-party agreement never to lower it would be even better.
Such a set of national carbon taxes would be a step forward. But to bear down on global climate change, there would need to be taxes on imports too, making western consumers pay for the carbon used to make the cars, electronics and clothes they consume from abroad. And this, in turn, means a border carbon price would need to be established, reflecting the carbon content of imports.
The ivory tower academic wants to tax products moving across borders from undeveloped to developed countries.
When the price of a product or service rises, people buy less. Buying less drives producers to produce less. Producers that produce less earn less. Some of the people who work for producers that earn less get laid off. Laid-off people become poorer.
Helm’s magical formula, offered as a fix for a non-problem, “global warming,” will worsen the problem that he’s actually trying to fix–wealth inequality. Helm’s recipe will make poor people poorer. The recipe also paves a direct path to Holdren’s “de-development” of the wealthy nations. All of us–producers, consumers, wealthy, and poor–get to share in the pain of the primitivist vision.
Brush up on your horse and buggy skills.
Gotta love them there global warmists, eh?