One of the biggest sources of funding behind climate alarmism is the federal government. In a new study for the Science & Public Policy Institute Joanne Nova figures Uncle Sam has spent some $79 billion over the last two decades on climate change. She asks:
The large expenditure in search of a connection between carbon and climate creates enormous momentum and a powerful set of vested interests. By pouring so much money into a question have we inadvertently created a self‐fulfilling prophesy instead of an unbiased investigation?
Advocates of wrecking the economy in the name of confronting global warming want us to believe that Uncle Sam is disinterested and objective. However, long ago we should have learned that politicians and bureaucrats are not Vestal Virgins, acting without prejudice or agenda. Indeed, Public Choice economics clearly demonstrates how the political process so often is biased against the interests of the public. Global warming is no different than any other issue.
Similarly flawed is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the shrine at which all climate alarmists worship. Earlier this year science writer John McLean suggested that we shouldn’t assume the IPCC is the broad, inclusive organization that it has been made out to be. Wrote McLean:
How many times have you heard or read words to the effect that 4000 scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC) supported the claims about a significant human influence on climate? I think I’ve seen it on television, radio and the Internet and I know that politicians at national levels have quoted suchfigures. There’s no question whatsoever. It’s utterly wrong.
In fact, once the duplicated names are removed that number falls below 2,900 and if we only want those who explicitly supported the claims it falls to only about 60. So how does 4,000 become 60 and were they all qualified and credible scientists? Let’s take a closer look at the real numbers.
Even if global warming proves to be a serious problem, it can be dealt with without wrecking the economy. For instance, Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, favors making “green” energy cheaper. (Personally, I’m not convinced that increased government subsidies would yield much more than in the past.) More important, however, Lomborg dismisses the sort of boondoggle cap and trade legislation now pending before Congress:
Yes, and that too is a problem. Cap-and-trade is essentially a system for trading permits to emit gases, like carbon dioxide, that are blamed for global warming. The problem is that it makes possible immense amounts of gaming the system through political lobbying. Because typically, most of these permits are given away, which is one of the big things the Obama Administration is talking about right now. The companies that had the most benefit from Kyoto in Europe were the energy companies. That is because, at least for the first three or four years, these companies got all the permits to pollute, but the companies still charged their customers — me and everybody else. So they made tens of billions of euros each year from climate-change policies. Not surprisingly, they are very much in favor of these policies, but it doesn’t mean that they are smart policies.
Philosophy does not predetermine science one way or the other: climate change might eventually become a significant challenge. That case has yet to be convincingly made, however, and even if so, economics tells us that some alleged cures are worse than the disease. Like impoverishing people today in an attempt to lower temperatures a fraction or two decades hence.