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Even if You Buy the Science, the Policy Still Fails

August 27, 2015 in Economics

By Ross McKitrick

Ross McKitrick

In a recent speech to the Washington-based think tank Resources for the Future, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy promoted the White House’s new Clean Power Plan by: (a) appealing to science and disallowing any debate about it; (b) making statements unsupported by the science; (c) praising the economic analysis behind the plan; and (d) announcing rules that economic analysis says won’t work and will cost too much.

In other words, it was business as usual in the world of climate policy.

She started her speech by saying that scientists are as sure that humans cause climate change as they are that smoking causes cancer, and “we are way past any further discussion or debate….don’t debate about climate change any longer because it is our moral responsibility to act.”

From there she focused on the harms from extreme weather events, attributing the California drought to carbon dioxide emissions, as well as increased storms, wildfires and floods. She said anthropogenic climate change (i.e. global warming) leads to more extreme heat and, amazingly enough, more extreme cold. And she linked weather-related economic threats facing families and small businesses to anthropogenic climate change.

Now whatever you do, don’t question the science. For many years we have been told to rely exclusively on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for official truth on all climate topics. There are, of course, lots of reasons to mistrust the IPCC, including its past blunders, the conduct of its disgraced and discredited chair Rajendra Pachauri, and its clique-like report-writing process. But for now, let’s play the game and turn to the IPCC.

A growing body of economic analysis over the years has indicated that the models overstate the potential savings from energy efficiency programs.”

In 2012 the IPCC published a Special Report on Extreme Weather (SREX), gathering up the available knowledge on storms, droughts, etc, and their possible connection to climate change generally and carbon dioxide emissions specifically.

Contrary to McCarthy’s claim, the SREX singled out the U.S. as a region where “droughts have become less frequent, less intense or shorter.” Worldwide there is only “limited to medium” regional evidence regarding changes in floods because the records are sparse and the effects are confounded with changes in land use and engineering. “Furthermore,” they said, “there is low agreement in this evidence, and thus overall low confidence at the global scale regarding even the sign of these changes.”

Does this sound …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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