The social cost of carbon regulations hurt the poor, and ignore benefits

Anti-fossil fuel SCC relies on garbage models, ignores carbon benefits and hurts the poor


Foreword:

The Social Cost of Carbon is a key foundation for numerous Obama-era energy policies, regulations and programs. Climate alarm activists insist the SCC is rooted in solid science and economics, but it is actually little more than Garbage In-Garbage Out forecasting – and worse.

The SCC assumes fossil-fuel-driven carbon dioxide emissions are causing dangerous manmade climate change, and blames U.S. emissions for every conceivable climate-related cost worldwide. But it fails even to mention, much less analyze, the tremendous and obvious benefits of using oil, gas and coal to power modern civilization – or the undeniable benefits of more CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere helping crops and habitats grow faster and better. Finally, the SCC totally ignores the social, economic, employment and environmental costs of the regulations imposed in the name of saving the planet by converting America to a totally carbon-free energy system.


By Paul Driessen and Roger Bezdek

“If you could pick just one thing to reduce poverty, by far you would pick energy,” Bill Gates has said. “Access to energy is absolutely fundamental in the struggle against poverty,” World Bank VP Rachel Kyte and Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Amartya Sen agree.

The UN Development Program also calls energy “central to poverty reduction.” And International Energy Agency Executive Director Dr. Fatih Birol notes that “coal is raising living standards and lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.” In fact, all fossil fuels are doing so.

Indeed, fossil fuels created the modern world and the housing, transportation, other technologies and living standards so many of us take for granted. They are essential for electricity and life, and over the past 250 years they more than doubled average life expectancy in countries that took advantage of them.

But the Obama Administration and radical environmentalists despise fossil fuels and used every tactic they could devise to eliminate them. One of their most important schemes was the “social cost of carbon.”

Federal agencies used the SCC to calculate the “hidden costs” of carbon dioxide emissions associated with fossil fuel use, by assigning a dollar value to every ton of CO2 emitted by power plants, factories, homes, vehicles and other sources. However, the entire process was little more than junk science and Garbage In-Garbage Out forecasting.

First, each ton of U.S. emissions averted would initially have prevented a hypothetical $25/ton in global societal costs allegedly resulting from dangerous manmade climate change: less coastal flooding and tropical disease, fewer droughts and extreme weather events, for example. But within three years regulators arbitrarily increased the SCC to around $40/ton.

That made it easier to justify the Clean Power Plan, Paris climate agreement, and countless Obama Era actions on electricity generation, fracking, methane, pipelines, vehicle mileage and appliance efficiency standards, livestock operations, carbon taxes, and wind, solar and biofuel mandates and subsidies.

Second, the supposed bedrock for the concept is the now rapidly shifting sands of climate chaos theory. New questions are arising almost daily about data quality and manipulation, the degree to which carbon dioxide affects global temperatures, the complex interplay of solar, cosmic ray, oceanic and other natural forces, and the inability of computer models to predict temperatures, sea level rise or hurricanes.

Meanwhile, as the 2015-16 El Nino dissipated, average global temperatures rapidly fell back almost to their 1998-2014 level, according to Britain’s Met Office and other experts. That means there has been no measurable planetary warming for 18 years. Nor are other predicted disasters happening in the real world.

That means the very notion that U.S. emissions impose major climate costs is increasingly indefensible. Moreover, developing nations are burning fossil fuels and emitting carbon dioxide at many times the U.S. rate; that means even eliminating their use in America would have no effect on atmospheric CO2 levels.

Third, the SCC scheme blames American emissions for supposed costs worldwide (even though U.S. CO2 emissions are declining each year). It incorporates almost every conceivable cost of oil, gas and coal use on crops, forests, coastal cities, property damage, “forced migration,” and human health, nutrition and disease. However, it utterly fails to mention, much less analyze, tremendous and obvious carbon benefits.

That violates a 1993 Bill Clinton executive order requiring that federal agencies assess both benefits and costs of proposed regulations. It is also irrational, and completely contrary to human experience.

Fossil fuels created the modern world and lifted billions out of destitution and disease. They supply over 80% of the energy that powers United States and other modern civilizations; they will continue doing so for decades to come. They generate up to $70 trillion in annual global GDP.

Using readily available data on global living standards, economies, disease, nutrition, life spans and other benefits – and the government’s own SCC cost figures and methodologies – we estimate that carbon benefits exceed costs by orders of magnitude: at least 50 to 1 and as much as 500 to 1!

The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that fossil fuels will provide 75-80% of worldwide energy through 2040 – when the total amount of energy consumed will be at least 25% greater than today. That means these notable benefit-cost ratios will continue. The Obama Era SCC ignores all of this, too.

Fourth, SCC schemes likewise impute only costs to carbon dioxide emissions. However, as thousands of scientific studies verify, rising levels of this miracle molecule are “greening” the Earth – reducing deserts, and improving forests, grasslands, drought resistance, crop yields and human nutrition. No matter which government report or discount rate is used, asserted social costs of more CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere are infinitesimal compared to its estimated benefits.

Fifth, government officials claim they can accurately forecast damages to the world’s climate, economies, civilizations, populations and ecosystems from U.S. carbon dioxide emissions over the next three centuries. They say we must base today’s energy policies, laws and regulations on those forecasts.

The notion is delusional and dangerous. The rate of change in energy generation and other technologies has become exponential over the past several decades, with forecasting ability declining at an equal rate. Uncertainties over man and nature-driven climate changes during the next 300 years are equally colossal. Combining all the SCC assumptions, methodologies, fabrications and omissions, and injecting its absurd predictions into high-speed computer models, just means bogus forecasts are generated more quickly.

Finally, the most fundamental issue isn’t even the social cost of carbon. It is the costs inflicted on society by anti-carbon regulations. Those rules replace fossil fuel revenues with renewable energy subsidies; reliable, affordable electricity with unreliable power that costs two to three times as much; and mines, drill holes, cropland and wildlife habitats with tens of millions of acres of wind, solar and biofuel “farms.”

Anti-carbon rules are designed to drive energy de-carbonization and modern nation de-industrialization. Perhaps worst, their impacts fall hardest on poor, minority and blue-collar families. Those families spend proportionately three to ten times more of their incomes on energy than families earning $50,000 to $250,000 a year. They have little discretionary income and face the greatest risk of having their electricity cut off – as happened to 330,000 families during 2015 in ultra-green Germany. Worldwide, billions of people still do not have electricity – and the SCC would keep them deprived of its benefits.

Bureaucrats, activists, scientists and corporate rent-seekers certainly welcome the SCC mumbo-jumbo. They have profited the most from the countless billions that Obama regulatory agencies lavished on them every year, and from the tens of billions that Mr. Obama stashed in dozens of agencies, programs and crannies throughout the government, so they couldn’t easily be found or cut.

Above all, they would profit massively from the $93 trillion that the Financial Stability Board’s climate task force says the world must spend in low-carbon infrastructure programs over the next 15 years, as part of the Obama-UN-FSB-Climate Crisis, Inc. plan to de-carbonize and de-industrialize the planet.

Taxpayers, consumers and families would be hammered if the Climate Cabal got even more power over energy policies, economic growth, livelihoods and living standards. Thankfully, eliminating the social cost of carbon and programs implemented under it requires little more than applying the same rules and standards that government regulators have imposed on Volkswagen, Fiat and Wall Street dishonesty.

That is why the Trump Administration is challenging the SCC, climate cataclysm deception, and the bloated EPA budget behind so much of it. It’s why the House Science Committee’s Environment and Oversight Subcommittees held a hearing on the SCC, and why we and other experts will eviscerate it during the upcoming Heartland Institute 12th International Climate Conference in Washington, DC.

It’s time to rescind and defund the SCC – and replace it with honest, objective cost-benefit analyses.

Roger Bezdek is an internationally recognized energy analyst and president of Management Information Services, Inc. Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of articles on energy, climate change and human rights.

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96 thoughts on “The social cost of carbon regulations hurt the poor, and ignore benefits

  1. The social cost of carbon

    Here are a few they don’t talk about:
    Food
    Transportation
    Health
    Improved life span and reduced working hours for sustenance.
    Improved creativity

    • @Richard: Right on. And although the pollsters and the media are blind (or blindsided.. doesn’t really matter)to that part of the political the conversation, it’s really a big part of why the Democrats crashed and burned when it was touted as a sure win. They are all so busy arm waving, they have no time for introspection, it seems. The people actually weren’t buying the SCC sale, thanks in part to sites like this.

      Indirect thoughts on the above in a post:
      https://notonmywatch.com/?p=1121

    • No, like so many you are making a fundamental error. I am not saying the figure for the SCC is right, but as with this article, you misunderstand what is being done. The calculation is essentially on INCREMENTAL cash flows (as all PVs or NPVs should be done) – the difference in cashflow between two alternatives. Thus the benefits of “energy use” can be ignored if you assume you get the same benefits in both scenarios.

      That is a very big question but if you assume that moving to a carbon-free economy can provide the same benefits in terms of energy usage as we would have with a carbon based economy, then you can simply ignore the figure as it isthe same in both scenarios.

      You have to include the additional cost of moving to and using carbon-free energy (which they do) and then the assumed costs of climate change. So the incremental cash flow is the negative upfront costs for switching then positive avoided costs of climate change later. That is why the discount rate used is so important.

      If you want to attack the SCC, the grounds are:

      1. Can non-carbon energy actually provide the same benefits.
      2. The cost of that non-carbon energy.
      3. The costs of climate change.
      4. The discount rates used.
      5. Whether all incremental costs and benefits have been included, e.g. Greening from higher CO2.

      A reasonable series of tweaks to the current SCC calculation based on these arguments can easily yield a negative SCC, i.e. Carbon is beneficial.

      • Tim Hammond:

        You say

        No, like so many you are making a fundamental error. I am not saying the figure for the SCC is right, but as with this article, you misunderstand what is being done. The calculation is essentially on INCREMENTAL cash flows (as all PVs or NPVs should be done) – the difference in cashflow between two alternatives. Thus the benefits of “energy use” can be ignored if you assume you get the same benefits in both scenarios.

        NO! The “fundamental error” is yours.
        The social benefits of fossil fuel usage are so great that they outweigh the social costs. Therefore, it is idiotic to waste time money and effort calculating the social costs unless you can identify any individual who has net social costs (it is hard to imagine how such an individual could exist).

        And you add to that error by writing

        If you want to attack the SCC, the grounds are:

        1. Can non-carbon energy actually provide the same benefits.
        2. The cost of that non-carbon energy.
        3. The costs of climate change.
        4. The discount rates used.
        5. Whether all incremental costs and benefits have been included, e.g. Greening from higher CO2.

        NO!
        That is accepting the idiocy of calculating SCC should be given respect and not ridicule.

        I repeatedly refuted adoption of SCC calculation in a previous WUWT page where I first refuted it in this post. To save you needing to find it, I copy it to here.

        Tim Hammond:

        You say;

        The point is to try to value externalities, that is, costs borne by others when we use or consume things. It is a serious concept in economics and the vast majority of economists agree with it. The point is simple: think about say noise from an aircraft. I get value from flying in that aircraft and I pay for that value. But the noise the aircraft creates is a cost to people under the flight path. The price of my ticket should include a value for that externality. That might include the cost of double-glazing for example, or the reduction in the value of a house if you have more flights.

        Sorry, but that is misguided because it assumes the costs and the benefits of fossil fuel usage are applied to different people when, in reality, those costs and benefits are obtained by everybody although not in the same amounts.

        The use of fossil fuels has done more to benefit humanity than anything else since the invention of agriculture. Almost everybody has net benefit because the use of fossil fuels has increased life expectancy, health and wealth while reducing poverty and starvation. Therefore, almost everybody has a net social benefit from the use of fossil fuels. If there are any people who suffer a net social cost then they need to be identified before any consideration of the social costs is warranted.

        But, as the above article by Driessen and Bezdek explains, calculations of “social costs of carbon” (SCC) ignore the ‘social benefits of carbon’. Such calculations of SCC are pure pseudoscience and are conducted for blatant political reasons.

        Richard

        Nobody refuted that post in part or in whole. seaice1 tried to dispute it using his usual ‘BS baffles brains’ but – also as usual – seaice1 only succeeded in demonstrating his/her/their/its lack of brains. Anyone wanting to laugh at the attempt by seaioce1 can find the start of it here.

        Richard

  2. we estimate that carbon benefits exceed costs by orders of magnitude: at least 50 to 1 and as much as 500 to 1!

    That is such a large multiple that 50 or 500 is irrelevant.
    Just spell them out. Heating and air con, sanitation, infrastructure and agriculture… Medicine, communication and education.

    That’s just the start of the goodness of cheap energy.

    And the feared downside?
    A slightly taller seawall.
    Pah!
    I estimate that ‘CO2 emissions benefits’ exceed costs by an order of magnitude that makes accurate numbers meaningless.

    • I figure the number is somewhere around 97.837563. Precision is important if you want to be believed, because #Science!

      • People are impressed by precision but easily ignore accuracy. I have worked on official government products that did this and my boss, the professional, could never understand why I was so adamant about the utter waste of producing products with such high precision. Yet, we spent a lot of money verifying the data quality by going to 5 decimal places, then publishing the results. I would say we were about 10 decimals off. Yeah, that means accurate to 10,000 not .00001

  3. The SCC needs to be carefully analyzed and the bogus conclusions reached under the Obama regime need to be logically and plainly eviscerated so everyone can understand. That would be the stake through the heart of the CO2 climate catastrophe alarm vampire.

  4. “…that means even eliminating their use in America would have no effect on atmospheric CO2 levels…”

    This was known since the time of Kyoto. But it has never been about reducing atmospheric CO2. It has been about climate reparations.

      • FYI, about $100 billion per year is supposed to go to developing countries from developed countries, via the UN, to help them move to green energy. The developing countries are supposed to have the right not to reduce their CO2 emissions, because the developed world did so first and shouldn’t be allowed to pull up the gangplank after it’s got aboard. One EU bigshot from Germany has been widely quoted for his comment that those transfer payments were not to fight climate change, but to pay for the developed world’s past sins in building up the CO2 level to its present height. IOW, to pay reparations.

  5. Since all of the Oxygen we breathe and all of the caloric Food we eat comes from CO2, a net negative SCC really doesn’t exist.

    • No, that’s a total misconception of what is being done. The SCC (as with all externalities) tries to captures the differences between two scenarios. Food and oxygen don’t change between a no-carbon energy economy and our current energy economy so the figures net to zero and can be ignored.

      There are lots if reasonable grounds for criticism of the SCC figure but far too many people are criticising it on totally false grounds,
      .

      • Tim Hammond March 19, 2017 at 4:29 am

        Food and oxygen don’t change between a no-carbon energy economy and our current energy economy so the figures net to zero and can be ignored.

        Huh? Food [and potentially Oxygen] do change under a no-carbon energy economy since the object is to lower CO2 concentrations or keep them at the same relatively low level, thus either outright starving Plants or relatively starving them, and us.

        I posted my version of the SCC to emphasize two big Facts about CO2-Climate Change that Believers either don’t know or don’t want the Public to know. These produce a “no-contest” situation on the SCC vs the Social Benefits of CO2 at current and even vastly elevated Atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

        The abject failure alone, of CO2-Climate Change to produce even one correct Prediction makes CO2 neither a “pollutant”, nor a “toxin” – when you also find out that your own body’s normal CO2 concentration is ~56,000ppm!

      • But food, at least its cost and quantity, does change if 40% of the corn crop is used for biofuel. Assuming that the same energy benefits will be available to everyone at “skyrocketing” prices is also faulty. The SCC figure should be criticized for those bad assumptions.

  6. Health is a big factor on the positive side of the SCC ledger. Can you imagine if you had to have (and recover from) major surgery at a hospital powered solely by rooftop solar panels and a windmill in the parking lot? What’s next from these people, beads and rattles?
    /snark

  7. Any tax on a product is a regressive tax on the poor. Whether a petrol tax, utility tax, food tax or carbon tax; they all unfairly target the poor. Rules and regulations with little purpose are a tax. Any government decree that unnecessarily adds cost to a company is a tax and unfairly targets the poor.

    This is a simple idea that all progressives fail to grasp; companies do not pay taxes. Companies pass on taxes to their customers. Only the individual pays taxes. When governments institute a tax for a product we all use, that tax is paid by rich and poor in equal proportions yet these taxes are disproportionate to our incomes. The poor will pay a higher percentage of their income for gas, carbon and food taxes than someone who has a high income.

    Progressives are happy to propose and institute a Carbon Tax, but like all taxes, it puts an unfair burden on the poor. And who gets the votes of the poor? Those who hurt them the most. Sounds like the Stockholm Syndrom.

    Thomas Sowell should be mandatory reading for all students.

    • taxes on private jets do not unfairly impact the poor.

      Your argument is flawed: it supposes that the poor are compelled to buy all products.

      • If the poor were forced to buy private jets they would be impacted. This is simple economics. If someone making $10000 a year pays $1000 in product taxes and someone making $100000 pays the same product taxes. There is a 10:1 more detrimental impact to the lower income. Gasoline, electricity (carbon taxes) and food are essential purchases for the working man. Private jets are not. Step back and see the bigger picture. Don’t act like a progressive and find the one in a million exception and use it as a basis for terminating the argument.

      • Of course they do, if the private jet is used by a company. That’s the point being made. And how do you tax private jets used only by companies that don’t make stuff the poor buy? Ever heard of supply chains?

      • Most private jets are owned by corporations.
        They buy such jets because when their executives have to fly, it’s cheaper for them to fly at their convenience and not have to wait on the schedules of the major carriers.
        If a tax on such jets would require the companies to either pay more for their use, or to give up on the jets and as a result have their top officers waste a lot of time waiting in airports.
        If companies are paying more, or are less efficient, the price of what they make goes up. Since the poor buy the products of corporations …

    • That’s not true. A regressive tax is one that has regressive rates ( though there are heated debates about this). Taxes on energy consumption are entirely “fair” – you pay based on what you use. There is no “targeting”.

      I see nothing wrong with paying for what you use. The problem with the poor is that they are poor.

      But yes, corporation tax, regulation etc is paid for by customers and staff – and usually the lowest paid staff as they have less bargaining power and fewer alternative job opportunities.

      • A tax need not have regressive rates to be regressive. When in history has a purely regressive rate tax ever been enacted? The closest thing to it seems to be when there are income caps beyond which the tax goes away.

        Taxes on energy consumption tend to be higher as a share of income for poor people than rich. Energy isn’t a luxury item. Even if someone with wealth has lots of houses and pays a higher percentage of income towards energy costs than a poor person, the effect on disposable income is recessive.

  8. A good argument, but in the end, the greens don’t care. They are sure that industrial, capitalist society is evil, and will seek to destroy it.

    • “and will seek to destroy it.”

      Even though they are a part of it. !

      That is the really bizarre thing about all this anti-CO2 mumbo-jumbo.

      • It is weird, but there is an element of nihilism in both green and communist ideology. The adherents are dissatisfied with the current situation, and want to destroy the current order. What comes after the destruction is sure to be something better for them, or so they believe. Killing off all the capitalists or most of the people period is no bar to that ambition.

      • “It is weird, but there is an element of nihilism in both green and communist ideology. The adherents are dissatisfied with the current situation, and want to destroy the current order. What comes after the destruction is sure to be something better for them, or so they believe. Killing off all the capitalists or most of the people period is no bar to that ambition.”

        This is largely true Tom, however it’s not just the far left who sign up to such daft ideas. In the UK we are currently in the throes of trying to leave the EU. This is mainly driven by the right wing ( though there are a few far lefties who have joined in for the reasons you outline) We may not get an agreement on trade. In that case we will have to then abide by WTO rules. This would be a disaster for the UK economically, but our Brexit Minister, David Davies, openly admits he has not considered how to address this impact and that he is sure something will come along and all will be well. Constructive destruction can work, but only if the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.
        It seems possible that the carbon control measures in place at the moment may have missed that principle along with Brexit and a few other issues.

      • To clarify one point, I define fascists as socialists–bearing the same relationship to socialists as Satanists to Catholics.They make all the same assumptions, and denounce each other, but they are nevertheless a heresy of the same faith. Conservatives in general are defined by liking their current situation, and trying to preserve it. If one gets very loose in terminology, the Soviet Union post Kruschev was a conservative government claiming to be communist, as is the current Chinese government.

      • It seems that most extreme political viewpoints end up agreeing at the opposite end of the circle. The Far left and far right have much more in common than what separates them. The thing which influences our views of politics in my opinion is culture. The same political stance can be viewed as Conservative/centre right by Europeans and as Socialist / centre left in the US. But extreme views are seen in the same way by pretty much everyone.

      • Tom Halla:

        You say,

        To clarify one point, I define fascists as socialists–bearing the same relationship to socialists as Satanists to Catholics.They make all the same assumptions, and denounce each other, but they are nevertheless a heresy of the same faith.

        Brilliant! A clear statement of faulty logic which is deeply offensive to both socialists and Catholics but adds nothing useful to any possible discussion.

        Socialism and Catholicism is each a coherent philosophy capable of debate, but neither is a “heresy” of anything.

        Richard

      • Richard==> i think you are being deliberately thick. I defined fascism as a heresy of socialism, and separately analogized Satanism as a heresy of Catholicism. I did not call either socialism or Catholicism a heresy then, although Catholicism is a derivation of Second Temple Judaism.
        Mussolini was a socialist once, and used socialist assumptions as the basis of his political and economic practices.

  9. The “social cost” of carbon is actually a benefit.

    In fact the evidence is emerging that at each glacial cycle the amount of CO2 is dropping lower and lower (CO2 is being extracted by sea-shelled creatures and not being replenished fully by volcanic activity that has diminished because of a cooling earth interior). 20,000 years ago CO2 was 180ppm. 120,000 years ago it was ~ 200ppm, and before that it was higher still. We’re trending steadily down, and that’s NOT good.

    The real threat is not three inches of sea level rise over the next century. It’s apocalyptic extinction across the board in perhaps less than a million years, ie nearly all plants and animals, as CO2 drops to 150ppm:

  10. More good news from the Administration — thanks WUWT!

    Meanwhile, in Canada…

    The Carbon Tax Cover-up:

    In which the social cost of carbon is advanced as a metric to get a price on carbon,
    but the social cost of the carbon tax is covered up.


    What’s the cost of the carbon tax? Liberals still won’t say, duration 2:36

  11. Scratch a scary global warmy and you will often hear … “well there are just too many people in the world “.
    Now that the UN has pivoted to a much nobler “clean water ” for all objective (scary global warming funding is over ) , the scary global warmies and population alarmists are going to have a fit or get on board to not miss out on the money that will help millions of people .
    G 20 finance ministers were probably t5hrilled to close the books on the largest unscientific fraud in history . At least water and affordable energy will help the environment .

  12. The article isn’t exactly accurate when it says, “However, [the SCC] utterly fails to mention, much less analyze, tremendous and obvious carbon benefits.” I wish this were true, but it isn’t quite true.

    The Obama administration’s SCC is made of three individual assessment models (IAM) models–the Dice, Fund, and Page models. The Fund model by Richard Tol includes impacts of co2 fertilization. See http://www.globalwarming.org/2015/07/26/hearing-shines-light-on-social-cost-of-carbon-sophistry/ It arguably doesn’t include enough impact from the co2 fertilization, but it includes some co2 fertilization.

  13. From a previous post: how to get from $7.00 to $46.00 per ton…creative, speculative rational to say the least.

    “When discussing a Carbon Tax, the Elephant in the Room becomes “what is the basis for establishing the value of a Ton of CO2 / CH4 that should be used in order to establish a basis (The Social Cost of Carbon (SCC)) for a Carbon Tax and to ask the question: is levying a Carbon Tax actually justified?

    In order to establish the basis of the SCC the various USG agencies ran various models. Obviously there were wide discrepancies between the various agency models and their results given the wide range of assumptions made when populating the models. As the “The National Academy of Science (2009) points out that there is tension between the goal of producing quantified estimates of the economic damages from an incremental ton of carbon and the limits of existing efforts to model these effects.”

    The 2010 paper notes: “It is recognized that these values are approximate, provisional, and highly speculative.”

    It also notes that “A 2008 regulation proposed by DOT assumed a domestic SCC value of $7 per ton CO2 (in 2006 dollars)”

    But a $$ number has to be established in order to comply with Executive Order 12866 for the required Regulatory Impact Analysis (1993). But a DOT $7.00 per ton number would not cut it in support of an Obama driven (Kill Coal) political agenda. This led to the EPA widening the scope from “Domestic” to include “Global” into the equation. Their argument is that emissions know no border – let’s just forget the volume (China / India etc) quantification issue. But they note that the impact on the US will be in the order of 7% to 20% of the Global number. From what I can ascertain it is the Global number being used for establishing the US SCC.

    Where does this take us? The current estimated SCC for use within the Regulatory Impact Analysis for 2025 is $46.00. For 2050, it is $69.00 (Table 1). And rest assured as those model assumptions are tweaked as they have between 2008 and today, you can have any price your political agenda needs.
    Are we screwed or what?

    https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-12/documents/sc_co2_tsd_august_2016.pdf

  14. OK, but apart from:
    Better food yields
    Better health care
    Better transport
    Reduced working hours
    Better houses & buildings
    Better domestic appliances to reduce drudgery
    Better technology
    Better production materials (plastics)
    Electric lighting
    Getting to the moon
    Sending robots to Mars
    Sending probes all over the solar system
    Better science (most of it, anyway)
    Computers in general
    Mobile phones

    What has carbon (aka fossil fuels) ever done for us?

    • What has burning fossil fuels done for us?
      Apart from your list, add in any of the differences between this scene and the way we live now

  15. “If you could pick just one thing to reduce poverty, by far you would pick energy”, a wrong notion. We are producing more than needed to feed the population but wasting more than 30% of what is produced and thus wasting to that extent the natural resources used in production.

    The richest person in the World, Bill Gates. He acquired this through IT sector that is used less than 10% of the population but IT consuming more than 50% of the energy produced. The IT Gaints are not bothered on developing less energy consuming IT technologies but only interested in developing profit driven IT technology production.

    Because of this tendency only, 64 people have more than 54% of the global wealth.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    • “Dr.” J, Your assertion that IT is only used by 10% of the people is false. Nearly 100% of the world’s people are dependent on IT. Worldwide transportation, distribution, communications of all sorts are completely dependent on IT.

    • Fascinating. In your world, spending less on energy doesn’t result in greater profits?
      PS: Every company in the world is only interested in profits. No profits means no company. And by the way, no company also means nobody is employed as well.
      I challenge your claim that 64 people own 54% of the world’s wealth.

  16. Pretending that the use of carbon is hurting us when we use it as energy, feed stock for fertilizer, feed stock for plastics, drugs, packaging, tires, clothing, construction material, transportation fuel and more is delusional

  17. TY for the fine article

    For reference here is the link for FSB http://www.fsb.org/about/history
    Here is the link for BIS of which FSB is a part https://www.bis.org/about/

    So here we are part of the G20. As long as we play in the G20 were are obliged to play by BIS and FSB rules. Both btw are located in fabulously neutral Switzerland and beholden to the will of the masters’ central banks.

    They make the rules. While I get the part about debating the specifics of how they come up with their magic numbers this war will come down to whether we decide to stay in the G20 or not.

    Remember THEY make the rules.

    If we leave the G20 we piss off the private owners who own the central banks (create our money). With over 90T on the table for this scam I’d bet my favorite moccasins that they hold the proverbial knife to our throats.

    I’m ready. How about you lads ?

  18. Here is a Social Benefit of Carbon – Ironbridge.

    .

    The Industrial Revolution started here, at Ironbridge in Shropshire, when Abraham Darby built the first ever bridge made of iron. And it is still there today. And how did he manage such a unique feat? Because Abraham Darby senior had developed a method of smelting iron ore using coke from coal.

    Every technology you see around you stems from that discovery (and a few others), made during the Industrial Revolution. And the key to all of these new technologies and industries, was a concentrated form of energy – coal. Without coal there would have been no Industrial Revolution; and therefore no technology; and therefore no modern world; and therefore no easy life for you and me.

    To ban concentrated energy, before we have a viable alternative to replace it, is akin to civilisational suicide. I would equate such an act with Stilicho, the half Vandal Roman army commander and neo-emperor who negotiated the Pact of Servitude with his fellow invading Vandals in AD 406. Instead of repelling them or subduing them, he gave them a huge amount of gold on the understanding that they would be ‘nice’. Perhaps you see the parallels here, with modern politics:

    The U.S. Sent Another $1.3 Billion to Iran
    http://fortune.com/2016/09/07/us-iran-billion-hostages-arms-deal

    The predictable result of Stilicho’s treachery was a decline in the power and influence of Rome, until the whole of the Western Empire imploded just 75 years later. (And 70% of the population died during that implosion.) The cry against Stilicho’s absurd foreign policy was “non est ista pax, sed pactio servitutis” (this is not peace, but servitude). Perhaps the cry against Obama’s many similarly absurd policies should have been “non est ista oeconomicis, sed pactio mors voluntaria” (this is not economics, but suicide).

    (I hope my Latin makes sense.)

    Ralph

    • “ralfellis March 19, 2017 at 1:20 am

      2016/09/07/us-iran-billion-hostages-arms-deal”

      Didn’t you guys learn anything from the 80’s under Reagan and a certain Mr. North?

    • Ralph, thanks for writing about Abraham Darby.

      Do yourself a favor — get a copy of (the late) Terry Jones book, The Barbarians. It would be fun to hear your thoughts on the Roman empire after that.

      And thank God the Founders totally rejected the Roman republic model, outlawing titles and titled aristocracy in the Constitution.

      • You have to remember that Terry Jones is an uber limp-wristed liberal, who is not writing history, but pushing a multicultural immigration agenda.

        The truth is that Alaric l, the primary architect of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, did nothing but plunder from beginning to end. And the Visigoth conquest of Italy, Spain and Mauretania (North Africa) was a conquest of destruction. None of the Roman infrastructure was ever repaired or used again. Aqueducts ran until they broke, and were abandoned. Sewage systems silted up, and disease flourished. Grand amphitheaters in southern France became elliptical shanty towns, littered with tennaments buildings and the detritus of life. Highly productive villa-farms reverted to strip farming from mud huts, and the people starved. There was no security, no army, no rule of law, no central administration, no security. And the end result was 70% of the population died.

        Terry Jones is peddling dangerous One-World propaganda, which is exactly what his BBC patrons want.

        R

      • Fine, ralfellis, then do yourself a favor and read Frederic Bastiat’s address entitled
        “Baccalaureates and Socialism”; it is much shorter and far better than Terry Jones’ book.
        http://www.econlib.org/library/Bastiat/basEss9.html

        He is making the case for educational freedom in France in the mid-1800s. He begins, “Honorable Representatives:
        I have submitted to the Assembly an amendment that has as its object the abolition of university degrees.”

        This is not just an clever interest catcher. His main objection to the baccalaureates of his day is that they amounted to nothing more than stuffing young people’s heads with Latin and Roman works in order to get their degrees, without which one was barred from many professions.

        He discusses the true nature of Roman power: “To acquire an idea of Roman morality, imagine in the heart of Paris an organization of men who hate to work, determined to satisfy their wants by deceit and force, and consequently at war with society.” He shows that their idea of freedom was piracy and slavery of surrounding nations, and the dividing of the spoil. This does not prepare young French people to live in a free society, engaging in labor and legitimate economic activity; it teaches nothing about private property, but undermines it. It is one of Bastiat’s finest works. I would not waste your time; it is worth reading.
        ~~~~~~~~~~
        By the way, when you say that without the Romans “There was no security, no army, no rule of law, no central administration, no security. And the end result was 70% of the population died.

        &

        Terry Jones is peddling dangerous One-World propaganda

        I think these are plainly contradictory statements. You claim that there is no security without central administration. The nation states of the ancient world did not need to be invaded, looted, deported, and made slaves by the Romans in order for there to be security and rule of law. That is the “one-world propaganda” taught in history books; the idea that the ancient states needed central administration by Romans prepares people to accept that there must be central administration of harmonized law and a powerful world-occupying force, or all will be chaos and mud huts.

  19. I sometimes get the impression from many here that the concern for the poor, the disadvantaged, for bird life, the environment etc is generally only an issue when related to climate change scepticism. For instance the Bill for Trumps weekly golfing holidays would have been really useful in minimising the impact of his decision to remove funding from after hours school programmes and social housing , but many here will not see that as an issue.
    I do understand and sympathise that carbon taxes etc can disproportionally affect the poor in society which is unacceptable. But I wish that that concern for the disenfranchised in society was a steady moral compass, as opposed to an outrage when related to climate change issues.
    By the way, can I suggest when responding to my outrageous and unacceptable observation, that posters try and address the points, as opposed to immediately targeting getting myself or my ethnicity?

    • “Gareth Phillips March 19, 2017 at 2:56 am

      I do understand and sympathise that carbon taxes etc can disproportionally affect the poor in society which is unacceptable.”

      No you DO NOT! You have no idea what you are talking about.

      • And the first poster off the mark with the Ad Hominem attack is Patrick. Tell me Patrick, do you have the evidence to demonstrate that I have no idea what I am talking about ? Or is it just an angry shot from the hip without thinking anything through?

      • It really is funny how the poster who does nothing but insult those who disagree with him, gets his panties in a wad when someone throws an insult back.

    • Gareth Phillips – March 19, 2017 at 2:56 am

      For instance the Bill for Trumps weekly golfing holidays would have been really useful in minimising the impact of his decision to remove funding from after hours school programmes ………….

      So, Gareth P, are you claiming that the funding of “midnight basketball” and other such similar programs ….. is/was a super-duper really great after-hours school program that resulted in an immediate decrease in the number of robberies/shootings/murders in Chicago and other large US cities? To wit:

      In 1994, Bill Clinton pushed for an anti-crime bill that would lead to 100,000 more police officers as well as a number of programs intended to “deter crime where it starts” by providing “community activities like midnight basketball.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midnight_basketball

      Good thinking, Gareth P, …… good thinking, …….. your approved programs are really making a “deadly” difference.

      • I think the mistake made by Trump and his follows in divesting funds for school children suffering poverty, was that feeding them was not producing improved academic results.
        Think about that.
        Do we ensure children get a decent diet to ensure they do well in school, or do we do it because children need a nutritious diets and it is a humanitarian action to do so?
        If we look at it another way, would we withdraw food from a child because their school results were not up to scratch?
        It must admit, I think the sight of Trump taking weekly golfing holidays which is costing the US tax payer millions each week, while withdrawing funds for organisations which try to ensure people are adequately fed is pretty sick. What do you reckon on meals on wheels? Not worth the effort?

      • Samuel Cogar says “…the funding of “midnight basketball” and other such similar programs ….. is/was a super-duper really great after-hours school program”

        Thank you Samuel Cogar, I had completely forgotten about the origins of Midnight basketball.

        Since the topic is social costs, “What about the homeowners and taxpayers who have to fund after school programs?” The truth is, stay-at-home moms are attempting the admirable feat of providing a good home (good books, good food, nice clothes) on a single income. And why should she be on the hook to pay for all of the moms who do not take care of their children? It really is hard for single income families.

        Plus the infinite taxation device on our homes through funding public schools. Those who do not use them pay double for education. That is a high social cost.

      • Gareth Phillips – March 19, 2017 at 10:13 am

        I think the mistake made by Trump and his follows in divesting funds for school children suffering poverty, was that feeding them was not producing improved academic results.

        Think about that.

        I think you have a serious problem ……. and I would tell you to “think about it” ….. but that would be wasted advise simply because your lack of “thinking ability” is the root cause of your problem.

        First you were “badmouthing” President Trump for …… “remove(ing) funding from after hours school programmes” ……. which was/is ONLY supported by “troughfeeding” liberal moochers, ……. then your “thinking” got befuddled and you quickly forgot what you were “badmouthing” and began bitching about Trump et el “divesting funds for school lunch programs” that directly affects children suffering poverty,

        Gareth, it is obvious that you are totally ignorant about the “School Lunch Programs in the public schools”, which is primarily funded by the USDA and conducted according to their Rules and Regulations.

        The USDA’s “price support programs” pays the farmers for the produce they grow …. and the USDA then gives all that produce “free-of-charge” to all of the Public School Lunch Programs in the US as well to various Food Banks and other “food distributing” organizations.

        Do we ensure children get a decent diet to ensure they do well in school, or do we do it because children need a nutritious diets and it is a humanitarian action to do so?

        Shur nuff, we ensure children get a decent diet by giving the parents “Food Stamps” …… but the parents sale or trade those “Food Stamps” to support their “drug” habit and their kids go hungry.

        Gareth, either get the “illegal drugs” or the “children” out of the homes they are living in ….. and that alone will ensure that a majority of them will do well in school.

        And here, Gareth P, …… I fixed your mistake, …… to wit:

        It must admit, I think the sight of Trump Obama taking weekly golfing holidays which is costing the US tax payer millions each week, while withdrawing funds for organisations which try to ensure people are adequately fed is pretty sick.

    • Concluding you don’t know what you’re talking about is not ad hom. It is just that your post has no there there. Do Pres.Trump’s golf outings cost more than did Pres. Obama’s? You accuse skeptics of caring for the poor only irt carbon. Yet the evidence is that energy poverty hurts the poor is overwhelming.So best wishes and tata for now.

      • President Trump has spent 7 vacation in seven weeks as President. It has cost over $10 million so far. In comparison, Obama’s vacations for the whole of his eight years in office cost $97 million. A cost which outraged Trump who severely criticised Obama for his golfing holidays.
        Now if Trump has cost $10 million in 7 weeks, and Obama cost $97 million in eight years, how long will it take at current trends for Trump to over take Obama, work it out so that you can come to your own conclusion.

        Stating that someone does not know what they are talking abut without offering any evidence is a classic Ad Hom tactic. It is essentially an accusation of ignorance with no supporting evidence and no attempt to add anything to the debate. You may think it is a clever and dynamic tactic, but it has no moral or intellectual standing. To be honest, it is just sad.

    • “I sometimes get the impression from many here that the concern for the poor … is generally only an issue when related to climate change scepticism. For instance the Bill for Trumps weekly golfing holidays … but many here will not see that as an issue.”

      When confronted with catastrophic man made climate change claims, heads of governments elsewhere, such as Egyptian president and CAHOSCC coordinator H.E. Abdelfattah Al Sisi and Indian PM Narendra Modi, have openly expressed concerns about the wellbeing of the poor. Unless Trump’s golfing ground becomes centre of US policies, I fail to see the relevancy in this discussion, let alone how you extracted the thoughts of many about it over here.

      “I do understand and sympathise that carbon taxes etc can disproportionally affect the poor in society which is unacceptable. But I wish that that concern for the disenfranchised in society was a steady moral compass, as opposed to an outrage when related to climate change issues.”

      This owner of this website defines the scope of the discussion. If you disagree with it, feel free to choose a different website.

      “By the way, can I suggest when responding to my outrageous and unacceptable observation, that posters try and address the points, as opposed to immediately targeting getting myself or my ethnicity?”

      In my opinion the qualifiers you have chosen for your observation are accurate irrespective of your person or ethnic background. Hoping this mets your expectations, have a nice day.

    • Gareth, do you realize that the President’s budget submittal is not the budget? What Trump has submitted may have very little to do with what the final budget will look like. The budget will also have nothing to do with the cost of Trump’s or Obama’s golf outings or vacations.

      Most of the budgets that Obama submitted to Congress were so ludicrous that they were voted down unanimously or near unanimous (google -Obama budget defeated- for some interesting reading). And the Democrats under Reid and Pelosi often took the step of not passing a budget (sometimes not even proposing a budget in violation of the Constitution). They passed one massive pork laden budget at the beginning of Obama’s tenure and then kept rolling that budget over using continuing resolutions. This allowed them to squirrel away money for special interests rather than fund projects discretely.

      One query; could you point me to the section of the Constitution that indicates it is the Federal governments purview to fund after hours school programs or social housing?

    • One thing I notice with most socialists. They really do get upset at the idea that people are permitted to have more than they do.
      For example, Gareth here is upset that Trump is allowed to spend money on himself rather than have it seized by the government so that it can be given to people that he believes are more deserving. Such as himself.

      I also love the way socialists assume that the only way to help people is for government to steal from those who work in order to give it to people who vote for the socialists.

  20. Malthusian and other misanthropes are free to use terms like “social cost of carbon” and “fossil fuel”, but what prevents discussion about “social cost of life” and “hydrocarbons”?

  21. When considered as a whole, carbon based life forms consume carbon dioxide.

    All of the carbon in all organic matter came from carbon dioxide.

  22. “Social cost of carbon” – another fabricated term invented to milk the taxpayer for all they’re worth; a revenue generating scheme. There is no such thing as a social cost of carbon.

  23. I think Jonathan Swift would have found great inspiration from the term “Social Cost of Carbon”. Instead of merely lampooning the attitude of the wealthy English elites towards the Irish, he could have lampooned the attitude of the wealthy elites of the entire world towards the rest of us:
    https://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Texts/modest.html
    “A Modest Proposal
    For Preventing the Children of Poor People
    in Ireland, from Being a Burden on Their Parents
    or Country, and for Making Them
    Beneficial to the Publick”

    Could so easily today become:
    “A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Blight of Carbon Pollution
    by Limiting Carbon Based Life Forms by Xenocide and Other Necessary Means of Limitation”

  24. the whole idea of SCC is just one of the negative externalities of the social cost of stupid.
    obviously, the pigovian solution is to tax stupidity.
    97% of global economists project the market for stupid derivatives could exceed the entire world gdp by 2020.
    who wants to lose a seat at that table?

  25. I have no doubt that it is possible to construct a social cost of the burning of fossil fuels, but the problem with the people who do so, is that they don’t construct a figure for its social benefits. What reasoning person would not list both the pros and cons? I have no doubt that the pros would outweigh the cons by at least a hundredfold.

  26. Thanks. but “pick one thing” is wrong – individual freedom protected by defense and justice systems is the one thing that would most help the poor, as it lets people produce for human life. It lets our means of survival – our minds – take the action needed for life.

    There has never been a famine in a society with a relatively free press.

    In contrast, climate alarmists want to enslave people – look at their proposed actions of many types, including suppression of speech.

  27. Excellent analysis. However, the only point actually relevant is the last paragraph of Point #1: “…That made it easier to justify the Clean Power Plan, Paris climate agreement, and countless Obama Era actions on electricity generation, fracking, methane, pipelines, vehicle mileage and appliance efficiency standards, livestock operations, carbon taxes, and wind, solar and biofuel mandates and subsidies…” Thus, the initial production of a $25/ton number, later raised to $40/ton, it had become apparent the first figure wasn’t adequate to justify everything 0bummer wanted to do. That is ALL the SCC was about, ever and henceforward! Everything else around it, the “Three Programs™” (delving into theology a little bit, and the Three Wise Men?), the modules, the discount rate, the various “sources” of their costs, were all irrelevant as long as the final product was a number sufficiently large to justify totalitarianism. Why, I believe the Three Programs™ can be named individually: 1) Smoke. 2) And. 3) Mirrors.

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