Bloomberg: Government can Fix the Food Insecurity Side Effects of Climate Policies

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Back in July WUWT posted a study by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis which suggested that climate policies cause more harm than climate change. But apparently the IIASA’s concerns are misplaced – according to Bloomberg author Mike Buchanan’s critique of the study, the magic of government can fix any harmful side effects of climate policies.

Climate Change’s Long-Term Fix Has a Short-Term Cost

A carbon tax will have consequences for food security that need mitigating.

By Mark Buchanan
19 August 2018, 19:00 GMT+10

But hope for a simple fix — such as a carbon tax, the preferred option of most economists — is naive, even setting aside the formidable political challenges. Among other things, a new study suggests, a meaningful carbon tax could trigger food shortages by 2050 for many of the poorest people in the world, and even be worse than climate change continuing completely unabated.

Policies designed to avoid climate disaster a century into the future and beyond might be expected to have some negative consequences over times as short as 30 years. By analogy, fire extinguishers have negative short-term consequences for the interiors of houses, but we generally think that using them is a good idea, because we can do other things to deal with those consequences and avoid having to rebuild the whole house.

Likewise, if governments implement a carbon tax — or take other serious actions on climate — they can also take further steps to handle adverse consequences stirred up as a result. Revenue from the tax could be used for food aid, for example, or to transfer more efficient production methods to food insecure regions, which might also further reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The real message of the paper is that a useful carbon tax could cause serious problems, if put in place in the absence of any other policies to make agriculture more resilient or to come to the aid of those most at risk.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-08-19/carbon-tax-long-term-solution-with-a-short-term-cost

I hope you are now all feeling reassured. The solution to food insecurity caused by a carbon tax is to provide more aid to the needy, and have faith in the ability of government to get things right.

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53 thoughts on “Bloomberg: Government can Fix the Food Insecurity Side Effects of Climate Policies

  1. Was that “MORE MONEY DEMANDED” I heard?

    Was that “MORE FOREIGN AID” I heard ? (Despite 120,000,000 people predicted to die from smoke inhalation by 2050 [32 years away] because they are forced to cook with dung and timber [WHO]).

    Was that “MORE NGO’s NEEDED” I heard?

    Was that “HIGHER TAXATION” I heard?

    Was that “GREATER GLOBAL GOVERNMENTAL OVERSIGHT BY THE UN REQUIRED” I heard?

    • HotScot, this article depicts another fine example of way too many TAXPAYING citizens willingly being separated from their money — through the immoral potion of taxation — because such citizens, in insufficient numbers, fail to understand and appreciate that such politicians and their willing accomplices do so because political motivations are most often diametrically opposed to that of the otherwise freeborn citizenry.

      It has been demonstrated, time and again, that citizens which are able to pursue their self-designated fulfillment — to pursue their own happiness, as the phrase is turned — are interested primarily in growing their families and building their communities. Self-serving politicians, OTOH, and their corrupted sycophant minions [read: massive bureaucracies, crony profiteers, crony NGO’s and etc], are motivated primarily by building their personal fiefdoms, wealth and power … and the freeborn citizens be damned.

      Until sufficient numbers of citizens come to understand and appreciate such distinct differences, and, act to change such, the “beatings” will continue … because that’s what “command and control” type bullies and tyrants do.

    • More money, gimme your money, gimme all yer money – yeah, that’s the ticket!

      Meantime, does the genius behind this brilliant idea (called ripping off taxpayers, where I come from) have even the faintest idea where food ACTUALLY comes from?

      I’m sure he thinks it comes from that entity known as “The Store”.

      OK, OK, I know – I’m not supposed to end sentences with a preposition or a dangling participle, but sometimes, it just doesn’t matter!

      • Sara

        “I’m not supposed to end sentences with a preposition or a dangling participle…………”

        Who says? Do what you want.

        The English language is only constrained by it devotees, Shakespeare didn’t give a monkeys. It was a communication medium to him.

    • Government has repeatedly shown the ability to solve the problem of thousands of starving people by turning it into millions of starving people.

    • I’m from the government. I’m here to help… myself to a free ride with perks and benefits, a pension and anything else I acn articulate.

    • Here’s a tip to the governmental agencies:
      “The easiest problems to solve are the ones you DON’T create.”

      • Actually the problems created by government are often the easiest to solve. All you have to do is get government to stop doing the things that created the problem.

        Note: Easy solution does not imply an easy implementation. Especially against entrenched interests.

        • True, pulling your finger out of your eye will cause your eye to stop hurting, but not poking yourself in the eye avoids any needed corrective action.

  2. “…fire extinguishers have negative short-term consequences for the interiors of houses, but we generally think that using them is a good idea…”
    — You don’t turn on the sprinkler system unless you know there is a fire. And even then, you don’t flood the entire house because a candle tipped over on the back patio.

    The idea that ALL actions are justified because there is some level of risk violates basic principles of decision-making under uncertainty.

    • Steve O

      That good old precautionary principle in action. We should be walking the streets in air bag suits in case we bump into one another.

  3. “A carbon tax will have consequences for food security that need mitigating.”
    – There is no problem that liberals can’t solve with a combination of :

    1) Higher taxes.
    2) More government power.
    3) Wealth transfers.

    That wealth transfers need to accompany the other two is not a surprise. It completes the universal solution to all things.

    • Amazingly enough, those who benefit the most from the wealth transfers are almost always the same ones calling for more government.

      • The ones who benefit from the wealth transfer are the ones who skim their take during the transfer under the auspices of facilitating the transfer.

        • Not quite sure skimming would be the correct terminology when the intended source of the transfer is showered with Nickles and Dimes. It is no secret that Politicians and Bureaucrats enter DC with average net worth and leave years later as Mulit-millionaires with power, influence and position at K Street legal firms masquerading as Think Tanks, Lobbyists and advocacy groups. If they were not operating in plain sight of the federal government they would be called money launderers.

  4. Just one question: when has any government when provided with new revenue ever done the proper and practical thing with it?

    I thought so.

    • Government is the type of institution that breaks your leg. Then it gives you crutches and takes credit for your being able to get around with them.

  5. Was actually thinking this would be some legitimate study, then saw it is some drivel written by Mark Buchanan. Never mind. Funny how economists, people who know nothing about economics are operating businesses, constantly want to tax things.

  6. I notice they are using “food insecurity”. That’s a term that means “however many people we need to be food insecure, we word the question accordingly”. It in NO way indicates hunger or lack of food. It can be 100% imaginary, as it is in the US where the figures are often quoted. How many people are actually going to be eating one or fewer inadequate meals per day. I care nothing about someone’s fear they MAY run out of food. That’s a stupid statistic and good example of how to lie to the very, very, very naive about what is really going on. Note those pushing this imaginary number are the ignorant, groupthink Hollywood types.

    Oh, and governments are usually the reason why people have one or fewer inadequate meals per day. I don’t see how the cause can be the solution.

    • It is interesting that a shortage of food, somehow can be fixed by wealth redistribution. Money doesn’t make more food. The real answer is more food needs to be grown – not that all of use should be calorie starved for the benefit of Gaia.

      • Sheri/marque2

        But when one of the principle drivers for wealth distribution is “ending poverty” they hit on a cracker for the liberals to flock round. I mean, who can resist the sight of emaciated babies in Africa on the TV whilst an indoctrinated celebrity pleads for yet more money for UNICEF to administer aid?

        What they don’t tell you is that probably 50% (I truly hope the figure is much lower now than when my late father in law was in the UN) of aid at least, goes straight into the pockets of corrupt government officials for redistribution to their local Mafia (and even that’s grossly unfair to the Mafia, I don’t believe they turned entire countries into totalitarian ghetto’s).

        The idea of foreign aid is theoretically good, but providing thousands of villages with a stand pipe to draw clean water from is hardly a substitute for centralised, cheap power production with a grid supplying clean water and sanitation, at the very least, to everyone in their homes.

        But no. The west is sitting idly by, terrified of minority groups whilst the Chinese build more than 1,000 coal fired power stations at home and abroad.

        China itself will become industrially, financially, socially and militarily independent and the countries it help to do so themselves, will be financially indebted to China for offering them the same opportunity.

        Climate change and it’s political machinations will see the western world gradually disintegrate in the face of a country with modern power production whilst we limp along with ageing technology.

        • The fatal flaw of Big Charity is that instead of solving the problem it was founded to address, it starts to exploit the problem to perpetuate its own existence (and keep the bureaucrats paid). So at best, they pursue half-solutions that always leave the original problem with a starter crop.

        • “HotScot

          What they don’t tell you is that probably 50% (I truly hope the figure is much lower now than when my late father in law was in the UN) of aid at least, goes straight into the pockets of corrupt government officials for redistribution to their local Mafia (and even that’s grossly unfair to the Mafia, I don’t believe they turned entire countries into totalitarian ghetto’s).”

          Having known people who worked for the UN in Ethiopia, and they resigned in disgust about it when they found out, it’s more like 75% – 80%. What does get through still does good, but the crooks have had away with the cream. It’s one reason I have not donated to ANY African appeal since Live Aid.

          • Of all the money raised for Haitian earthquake relief, about 0.6% got to the actual homeless victims on the ground.

      • And if enough food is being grown, the real answer is development of modern transportation and storage systems, without which harvests are lost to spoilage long before they can reach anyone’s plate.

  7. The government will nest unintended consequences like Russian Marushka dolls, with the difference that the nested consequences are often bigger than the original dolls. It’s like stacking bad decisions until the numbers work out.

    • Two wrongs don’t make a right, but maybe after two hundred wrongs, we’ll have enough pieces to put one together? 🙂

  8. What is the short term problem of a fire extinguisher?
    The non-rational nonsense of the climate obsessed wears thin.

  9. What’s everyone complaining about. This plan was already tested in Venezuela and it worked great!

  10. The primary purpose of government is to take money from those you don’t like, and give it to those you do.

    BTW, when someone who doesn’t wear a badge does this, we call it stealing.

  11. At least now they are admitting there his a high economic cost to their policy preferences. A few years ago they were claiming they would actually lead to economic growth.

  12. There is no such thing as man-made climate change. Carbondioxide is a harmless atmospheric trace gas.

    Bloomberg proposes mitigation for problems arising from an unnecessary solution to a non-existent problem.

  13. In order to affect carbon emissions you’ll have to kill off a large number of human beings and de-industrialize the entire food production system. Anyone who says otherwise is ignorant or lying.

  14. Apparently Mr. Buchanan is unaware of the law of unintended consequences which follows all government action as night follows day

  15. Gee – ‘solutions’ go immediately to government control – blow me over with a feather.

    Over a problem that doesn’t exist – although, it potentially could with sufficient ‘solutions’ of the Bloomberg-type.

  16. “But hope for a simple fix — such as a carbon tax, the preferred option of most economists — is naive, even setting aside the formidable political challenges. Among other things, a new study suggests, a meaningful carbon tax could trigger food shortages by 2050 for many of the poorest people in the world, and even be worse than climate change continuing completely unabated.

    Policies designed to avoid climate disaster a century into the future and beyond might be expected to have some negative consequences over times as short as 30 years. By analogy, fire extinguishers have negative short-term consequences for the interiors of houses”

    Say what!?
    “Most economists”?
    “By analogy, fire extinguishers”?

    Economists may estimate the effects of taxes; most economists know darn well that most, if not all, effects of a new tax are negative.

    Then there is Buchanan’s extreme stretch where he constructs a false analogy. According to Buchanan, fire extinguishers have “short term” negative consequences.
    Really? Negative consequences against society that last generations?

    Completely bogus.

    Economists understand that taxes are near impossible to eliminate, reduce or control; along with the massive government clerical departments that arise to collect, handle, process and if necessary prosecute taxes and taxpayers.

    A minor fact that eliminates the vast majority of economists from preferring simple fix carbon taxes, unless they’re avowed activists or plan to get rich from the tax.

    Buchanan’s contrived argument for a carbon tax is falsehoods and red surströmming herrings.

    Please accept my apologies for comparing Sweden’s excellent surströmming to something as foul as a Bloomberg author.

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