by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor | John Locke Foundation
Impoverishing Us Is Not the Solution to Climate Worries
Here are some things most people never hear about because it completely destroys any rational for forcing massively expensive changes (such as $369 billion to fight “climate change” in the “Inflation Reduction Act”) on American taxpayers and worse, their quality of life:
The U.S. has cut more CO2 emissions than any other nation, but China has increased its CO2 emissions by five times the amount cut by the U.S.
To reiterate, the U.S. has cut more CO2 emissions than any other nation, but China has increased its CO2 emissions by five times the amount cut by the U.S.
While the Biden administration forces over a third of a trillion dollars in new spending — in the midst of the worst inflationary cycle in almost half a decade, as if the president felt personally obligated to be even more foolhardy — China continues to expand its coal-fired electricity generating capacity by leaps and bounds, quickly obliterating any possible, conceptual benefit the U.S. could expect from all that spending.
One last thing: the reason CO2 emissions have been reduced so much in the U.S. vs. the rest of the world is not renewable energy mandates. It’s not what the Biden administration wants to force at enormous cost. It’s the byproduct of relative market freedom, property rights, and the restless entrepreneurial spirit. Market forces — technological change, consumer preferences, a growing service sector, and the shift to natural gas from coal thanks to fracking — are responsible. Renewable energy contributes so little to energy production (despite their rated capacities) as to be negligible.
“As wealth increases, one of the goods that people are prepared to buy is a cleaner environment.” — Julian Simon
Here are the ways those things contribute to reducing CO2 emissions by voluntary choices, rather than expensive government mandates:
What has happened was basically predicted by the late economist Julian Simon. He said the following in writing about pollution trends: “As wealth increases, one of the goods that people are prepared to buy is a cleaner environment.”
I explained in the report linked under “Market forces”:
Economists use something called the Environmental Kuznets Curve to describe this relationship. Initially developing economies necessarily produce greater pollution than the pre-existing state of nature. When societal wealth, life expectancies, and productivity reach a certain point, however, people begin valuing cleaner environments, while technological advances and post-development shifts in industry produce cleaner and more efficient outcomes.