Climate Week En Review, October 12, 2018
Our thoughts are with all those who bore the ire of Hurricane Michael. This week, as the monster storm walloped the Florida panhandle and the Carolinas, three big announcements raised the climate action urgency level to code red and highlighted the efficiency of a carbon tax as an essential part of the global climate solution.
This week's must read: "We're already paying a carbon price. Let's make it more efficient." (Washington Examiner) Our dear friend Peter Byrn writes, "Fiscal conservatives know that 'there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.' Yet somehow many of us fail to listen when leaders like ExxonMobil remind us that pollution, including carbon dioxide, isn't free. It's changing our climate, which costs farmers with exacerbated droughts and floods, coastal property with flooding, individual health with longer asthma seasons, etc. By definition, we're already paying a carbon fee, it's just disguised in other costs."
IPCC Report warns of inaction: The most recent report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns of catastrophic impacts if the world does not cut carbon emissions in half in the next 12 years. The report is based on more than 6,000 scientific references from 91 authors across 40 countries, including the United States. In response, House Climate Solutions Caucus co-founder and MARKET Choice Act sponsor Rep. Carlos Curbelo tweeted:
#Sealevelrise threatens #FL26's very existence. U.S. can't meet #IPCCReport goals alone. That's why I was against #ParisAgreement withdrawal, and why I've introduced #MARKETCHOICEact to exceed carbon emission goals & dedicate resources to mitigation & adaptation #infrastructure. https://t.co/PRoioUmyPQ
— Rep. Carlos Curbelo (@RepCurbelo) October 9, 2018
And his colleague, Rep. Ryan Costello had these wise words:
Just read exec summary. Very wonky but important. 1st order of biz stay in Paris Accord. Lots of other things to do, this can't be GOP v Dem issue. U.S. needs to step up, lay out challenges, focus on immediate reductions by 2030 w global community. The major issue of our time. https://t.co/lwwXnHbWho
— Ryan Costello (@RyanCostello) October 8, 2018
Related: Alex Flint from Alliance for Market Solutions had this take: "If we agree that we really need to solve climate at a scale for the duration, our contention is that we need both parties involved."
Sadly, from hoaxer land: "They might as well be calling on me to sprout wings and fly to Canada for the summer," said Sen. Roger Wicker from Mississippi about the prospects of cutting carbon emissions at the level suggested in the report.
Stay tuned for more reactions from the EcoRight.
Nobel Prize in economic sciences awarded to carbon tax proponent: The Nobel Prize in economic sciences was awarded to two Americans, including William D. Nordhaus of Yale University, who supports a carbon tax as the most efficient policy tool for lowering greenhouse gases. Dive deeper into his philosophy in this piece from Forbes: "Nordhaus has been writing for four decades about climate change and the value of using prices to reduce carbon emissions. His research shows that raising prices through, say, a carbon tax, is a far more effective and efficient way to lower carbon emissions than direct government controls on the quantity of emissions through, say, regulatory limits on cars and power plants. Higher prices will encourage firms and consumers to find alternatives to carbon-based products as well as encourage new technologies that will make those substitutes competitive. This has become the mainstream view among economists."
And more from the New York Times: "Economists have long been enthusiastic about carbon pricing because of the policy's efficiency. Give companies a financial incentive to reduce their fossil-fuel use, and they will find creative and cost-effective ways to do so without the need for heavy-handed government regulations."
And praise from our favorite climate scientist, Katharine Hayhoe:
Nordhaus' work links greenhouse gas emissions, economics, and climate policy. His DICE model was one of the first things I learned https://t.co/vi8BsNwEj0
— Katharine Hayhoe (@KHayhoe) October 8, 2018
ExxonMobil lobbying for carbon tax: Exxon Mobil, the largest oil company in the U.S., announced this week that it is investing $1 million toward a lobbying campaign to back a carbon tax. The money will fund the group Americans for Carbon Dividends, formed this summer to lobby for a carbon tax plan developed by elder statesmen, Republicans James Baker III and George Shultz. Fun fact: the $1 million investment is equivalent to the revenue the oil giant makes every two minutes (h/t Bloomberg).
Other contributors to the lobby effort include Exelon, First Solar, and the American Wind Energy Association.
Friday funny: All this climate/carbon news coming the same week as a major hurricane begs us to ask the question: will one plus one plus one finally equal a carbon tax? Or will climate scientists remain invisible?
'Can Anyone Hear Me?' Shout Terrified Climate Scientists Frantically Waving Arms As Passerbys Walk Straight Through Them https://t.co/z82OFciMK4 pic.twitter.com/Fw8VxNHBpO
— The Onion (@TheOnion) October 10, 2018
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
Climate jester: This week's jester feels particularly egregious coming amid all the above news.
“Can you imagine anything the scientists would say that would persuade the US administration that it needs to take [climate change] more seriously?" Presenter Evan Davis puts that to former Trump adviser Myron Bell
“No, I can't." #newsnight pic.twitter.com/KwnOi1sveY
— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) October 8, 2018
Reader, we have a lot of work to do.
P.S. Happy Birthday to Bob Inglis, who celebrated another turn around the sun this week!