Dear Mr. Koch,
Recently, at a Wall Street Journal forum, I heard from your company’s environmental, health and safety director, Sheryl Corrigan, that you believe that “the climate is changing,” and that “humans have a part in that.” …. [Let’s] stop denying there’s a problem and get to work solving it.
– Michael Brune, “An Open Letter to Charles Koch.” (May 5, 2016)
Does Michael Brune understand the argument of classical liberals against climate alarmism (neo-Malthusianism) and forced energy transformation (global government)? We understand the Sierra Club’s, so why not the Sierra Club ours?
Assuming that climate changes and humans are a factor in climate change does not assume that there is a global market failure. It does not assume that government can satisfactorily understand the nature of the problem or project the appropriate solution. It does not assume that the solution, if there is one and it is known, should be undertaken by government. And it does not assume that government would be able to implement the ‘solution’ even if the problem and solution were known.
Niskanen: Seven Steps before Statism
As Cato Institute chairman William Niskanen has noted, for any international action to merit support, all of the following propositions must be proven true:
(1) A continued increase in the emission of greenhouse gases will increase global temperature.
(2) An increase in average temperature will generate more costs than benefits.
(3) Emissions controls are the most efficient means to prevent an increase in global temperature.
(4) Early measures to control emissions are superior to later measures.
(5) Emissions controls can be effectively monitored and enforced.
(6) Governments of the treaty countries will approve the necessary control measures.
(7) Controlling emissions is compatible with a modern economy.
The case for any one of those statements is surprisingly weak. The case for a global warming treaty, which depends on the accuracy of all those statements, is shockingly weak.
Item number one (of the seven) could be amended to conclude that there is detectable anthropogenic global warming but that the last 19 years strongly suggests that the climate models are running too hot and that ‘global lukewarming’ is the increasingly likely verdict. (And in this regard, let’s talk about the greening of planet earth from carbon dioxide–and the environmental benefits of dense energies over dilute energies.)
Points #2 to #7 are also quite open and do not augur well for the statist case for forced energy transformation at the expense of consumers, taxpayers, and civil libertarians.
Response to Brune: Debate Epstein
Sheryl Corrigan, Koch Industries’ director of health and safety, should invite Michael Brune (or a representative, but perhaps not Aaron Mair) to discuss the issue with an advocate of the classical liberal perspective. Alex Epstein, who recently testified before the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, would be one person to represent Koch’s view.