A New Conservative Line On Climate Change

The New Republic

You have read:

0 / 8

free articles in the past 30 days.

Already a subscriber?

Log in here

sign up for unlimited access for just $34.97Sign me up

THE VINE MAY 1, 2008

A New Conservative Line On Climate Change

Michael Goldfarb of The Weekly Standard reports from a recent governor's conference on climate change:

Moments later, Rajendra K. Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change… put the cost [of curbing carbon emissions] even higher, envisioning an international regulatory regime under which, "in 2013, the growing cost to the global economy will be less than 3 percent of GDP." Who among us would be willing to pay so much?

Almost nobody. Not to mention, history shows that the rich pay for environmental remediation, not the poor; a world poorer by 3 percent a year will be that much less able to adapt to unpredictable changes in climate.

This may be the clearest distillation I've ever encountered of the right's ignorance-meets-insensitivity approach to... well... everything, but particularly climate change. On the one hand, it's just plain innumeracy. There's a huge difference, after all, between a "cost to the global economy [of] less than 3 percent" of what worldwide GDP would have been without climate action, and "a world poorer by 3 percent a year." But this is also an extremely blinkered view of the costs and consequences of environmental damage. What "history" really shows, of course, is that environmental degradation is much more harmful to the poor than to the wealthy, even if the costs of addressing that degradation come from taxes on the rich. But nonetheless, when it comes to climate change, the guiding principle for conservatives is a familiar one: Rich people should keep polluting so they'll have enough money to pay for the damages created by all of their pollution.

--Brian Beutler

share this article on facebook or twitter

posted in: the vine, disaster, environmental issue, person career

print this article

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

Show all 4 comments

You must be a subscriber to post comments. Subscribe today.

Back to Top

SHARE HIGHLIGHT

0 CHARACTERS SELECTED

TWEET THIS

POST TO TUMBLR

SHARE ON FACEBOOK