ECONOMISTS CONCERNED ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE DON’T SUPPORT EXTREME POLICIES

I’m a climate realist. My assessment of the science indicates the climate is changing but humans are responsible for at most only a small amount of global climate changes. In addition, the data shows the climate shifts that have occurred up until now have been largely beneficial, contributing to a widespread greening of the earth, increased crop production, and, as nutritious food supplies increase, a decline in malnutrition and a general improvement in human health. Also, the best economic analyses indicate that even if humans are contributing to climate change, radical policies like the Green New Deal (GND) or those that would be necessary to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement would impose far greater costs and harms on the people of most countries than the supposed climate-induced costs or harm they are intended to prevent.

Interestingly, on the latter point concerning the relative benefits and costs of extreme action to fight climate change, my views largely align with those of prominent economists who disagree with my assessment of the science, who believe human fossil fuel use is responsible for most of the climate change occurring on a global scale.

Nobel Prize-winning economist William D. Nordhaus, Ph.D., is under attack by environmental alarmists despite agreeing with them that humans are driving costly climate changes that should be remedied or reduced, reports American Enterprise Institute Resident Fellow Benjamin Zycher. Nordhaus received the 2018 Nobel Prize in economics largely in recognition of his integrated assessment model of the science and economics of climate policies, a model being used by international bodies and governments to push restrictions on fossil fuel use.

Despite his bona fides as a believer in in large potential dangers of human-caused climate change, Nordhaus is under attack because, like other prominent mainstream economists who’ve toted up the benefits and costs of climate change and actions proposed to prevent it before him, his work shows the sharp, immediate restrictions on fossil fuels proposed by climate alarmists are unrealistic and are likely to cause more harm than good. Nordhaus favors a carbon tax or similar pricing policies to reduce fossil fuel use over time. He even supports the Paris climate agreement, combined with the imposition of tariffs on nations that do not participate in the agreement, or, participating, then fail to reduce emissions by the agreed amounts. Yet this is not enough for climate alarmists, because what Nordhaus doesn’t subscribe to are policies to end the use of all coal, natural gas, and oil in the next 10, 15, or even 25 years. Nordhaus’s assessment of the evidence is that complete decarbonization of the economy, regardless of a nation’s stage of economic development or availability of viable alternative energy sources, is more dangerous than the realistically expected harms from climate change.

ECONOMISTS CONCERNED ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE DON’T SUPPORT EXTREME POLICIES