Sprinkles from the Left

See the graphic above.

[There] is one major climate policy arena where the United States needs to take a bold step forward: carbon pricing.

A carbon tax, which taxes carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions, is a proven means to raise large sums of much-needed revenue while lowering carbon emissions. It is supported by 67 percent of Americans, embraced by a bipartisan consensus of economists and increasingly supported by the business community. Some critics argue a carbon tax is a political distraction, one that fails to meet the climate challenge and disproportionately hurts the poor. Others say a carbon tax would damage U.S. competitiveness and break Biden’s promise to not raise taxes on households earning less than $400,000 a year. We believe each of these concerns can be addressed.

We have no illusions that a carbon tax is an easy sell in Washington. But it may be the only realistic way that Biden can advance his broader agenda. The opportunity lies in forging a bipartisan coalition of fiscally responsible legislators who know that we need to invest in infrastructure and that a carbon tax will be more successful in curbing emissions than excessive regulation will…

The carbon tax is not a cure-all, of course. A mixture of other policies, from regulation and subsidies to R&D investment and targeted incentives, will be necessary to meet the climate challenge. More revenue, including user fees — tolls, vehicle miles taxes, congestion pricing — as well as a responsible increase in corporate taxes and an increase in the highest income tax rate will be needed to meet our fiscal and infrastructure needs. But without a price on carbon, the combined effect of these policies will be insufficient. We believe that, by embracing a carbon tax, President Biden could help restore America’s infrastructure, fiscal strength and leadership at a time when all are sorely needed.

Henry M. Paulson Jr. is a former U.S. treasury secretary and chairman of the Paulson Institute. Erskine B. Bowles served as chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (published in WaPo - $)

Some of the world’s biggest emitters of carbon are also becoming the loudest advocates of climate change, frequently spouting all the buzzwords that go with it: net-zero, decarbonization and neutrality. Most earnings calls and various corporate sustainability reports are now peppered with this jargon. The plans sound lofty but the reality for shareholders is vague, at best…

It’s difficult to tell how much progress is actually being made…

Even with all the talk of big, green investments, details about where the money is being spent are scant. Investors don’t get much on the carbon accounting side of things either.

The science-based targets make an industry that’s intrinsically full of soot sound environmentally-friendly. The lingo at least makes it seem like they’re thinking about the problem; and the rhetoric gives investors hope that the companies might one day reach their goals. Shareholders can feel virtuous. But how do they hold the automakers accountable in 10, 20 or 30 years? Who will be measuring their emissions in that long term?

Shareholders need to push for more information…. They’ve got to put their time, actions and consciences where their money is. If they really believe.

Anjani Trivedi, Bloomberg Opinion

Sprinkles from the Right

See the graphic above.

Mr. Biden’s virtual world summit was intended to coax China and other emerging countries to make more aggressive emissions reductions. The U.S. accounts for less than 15% of global CO2 emissions, Mr. Biden told world leaders. Emissions in the U.S. and Europe have been falling since 2005 as natural gas and renewables have replaced coal power.

But rising emissions from China have swamped these declines. At the Paris climate summit in 2015, China committed only to begin reducing emissions in 2030, and it has continued to build coal plants and expand industrial production. China’s CO2 emissions increased by more between 2015 and 2018 than the U.K.’s total emissions in 2018 (see nearby chart).

All of the CO2 commitments made in Paris, including Barack Obama’s to reduce U.S. emissions by 26% to 28%, would reduce the Earth’s temperature increase by a mere 0.17 degree Celsius by 2100—not even close to the 1.5 degrees that is supposedly needed to head off doomsday. Yet Mr. Biden now wants to double down on Mr. Obama’s futile climate gesture…

Mr. Biden is essentially doing an end-run around the Constitution, which requires approval by two-thirds of the Senate for the President to enter a treaty. The emissions reductions that foreign leaders pledged on Thursday aren’t legally binding, but Mr. Biden intends to use regulation to bind Americans.

Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

Some climate crusaders have invoked the mandate of heaven, and others use language all too reminiscent of millenarianism. But most claim to be following a mandate of science.

We are both scientists who can attest that the research literature does not support the claim of a climate emergency. Nor will there be one. None of the lurid predictions — dangerously accelerating sea-level rise, increasingly extreme weather, more deadly forest fires, unprecedented warming, etc. — are any more accurate than the fire-and-brimstone sermons used to stoke fanaticism in medieval crusaders…

A serious review of policy-related climate science is long overdue. Crusaders will continue to retort that “the science is settled; it is time to act!” But real science is never settled, nor is scientific truth determined by consensus or political diktats. Agreement with observations is the measure of scientific truth. Climate models predict two or three times more warming than has been observed. They have already been falsified. A soon-to-be published book by physicist and New York University professor Steven Koonin, Unsettled, convincingly lays out some of the problems a high-quality review would reveal.

There is no climate emergency. Americans should not be stampeded into a disastrous climate crusade. The medieval crusades did far more harm than good, destroying the lives of many decent people of all faiths, and leaving a bitter legacy that complicates international relations and social harmony to this day. A climate crusade that destroys economies and ultimately lives will be as bad, or worse.

Richard Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor, Emeritus, of atmospheric sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a fellow of numerous professional societies, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. William Happer is the Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor, Emeritus, of physics at Princeton University, a fellow of numerous professional societies, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.