WASHINGTON – If you want a cogent and well explained argument about the complete uselessness of US carbon restriction laws and regulations aimed at combating climate change, please read the WSJ op-ed piece by economist Edward Lazear, (The Climate Change Agenda Needs to Adapt to Reality, September 3, 2014).
Policies will have no effect
Using very simple language, and with the support of a lot of data, Lazear shows how any US attempt to limit emissions via expensive domestic regulations will have no impact whatsoever on global emissions, simply because China, India –real giants when it comes to emissions– and other emerging countries are not on board.
Even with major national efforts, we shall reduce global emissions only a little, while China and India will keep adding a lot, therefore nullifying the impact of our –expensive– new policies.
No real difference
Indeed, if our goal is to really reduce global emissions, even though America is the second largest contributor, and by far the biggest in terms of per capita emissions, the fact is that forcing 300 million Americans to change behavior (at a high cost) will not stabilize or reverse total greenhouse emissions.
This being the case, it is really insane to insist on this policy course, when we know in advance that the policy objectives will not be achieved.
Invest in adaptation
Lazear argues that it would be a lot smarter to invest in measures focusing on “adaptation”. As temperatures are going to rise anyway, let’s protect ourselves as best we can.
In his WSJ piece he lists the most obvious: dykes to prevent higher water levels from flooding low-lying areas, and planting heat tolerant crops and trees. Indeed, it is a lot smarter to invest limited resources in technologies that will help us adjust to higher temperatures than trying to stop or reverse global warming through imposed restrictions that will not make a dent, simply because the real super emission producers are not on board.
Now, this is common sense. But the climate change lobby is driven mostly by ideology dressed up as “science”, not by common sense.
Carbon is “evil”, green is “good”. Therefore, we have to pursue the “good”, no matter how useless this is, and no matter how much it costs.