Update: After I posted this today I found a relevant post: Does the IPCC say we have until 2030 to avoid catastrophic global warming? I encourage readers to check it out because provides extensive documentation that Kaufmann’s rationale for a carbon bubble is at best weak.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s energy czar Richard Kauffman wrote a recent column for The Hill (https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/424784-will-a-market-crash-get-the-action-we-need-on-climate-change) about a “carbon bubble”. He claims that the imminent and inevitable climate catastrophe could force markets to acknowledge it and force society to act: “The end of denial by financial markets and government leaders is nearly at hand. For most investors, the risks of climate change loom beyond their investment horizon. It’s been easy for investors to operate in a speculative carbon bubble, acting as though there are no impending costs to earnings-per-share or to liabilities in their portfolios from the buildup of carbon in the atmosphere. But these costs may increasingly look real, and when investors start taking these costs into account, markets will revalue: not just oil and gas stock, but all stocks.”
I find it frightening that a New York State official like Kauffman warns that government intervention will be necessary if the market response is delayed too long. He states “If the bubble bursts late, governments will need to take on war and national emergency footing. This could mean government control over industry, restrictions of individual consumption, even military mobilization to protect and seize resources. Economic inefficiency. Less freedom. Lost asset value.”
It is astounding that there is such a disconnect between the science and a policy maker’s vision. Kaufmann repeats the mantra “Climate change is more severe and happening sooner than scientists had originally predicted. Droughts. Sea level rise. Floods. Fires.” All those impacts have happened before and will happen whether or not government takes control over industry, restricts individual consumption, and protects and seizes resources. Intuitively the majority of the public gets that and suspects that human impacts on the weather will more likely be a tweak than the control knob. The science says that we expect a range of possible impacts and outside of the media circus, politicians catering to their base, crony capitalists eying the trough and environmental activists crying “Wolf” everyone else gets that their vision of climate catastrophe is very unlikely.
Even if Kaufmann’s Administration goes ahead with their Reforming the Energy Vision plan to combat climate change it will fail simply because of the Iron Law of Climate. Roger Pielke’s law states that “While people are often willing to pay some price for achieving climate objectives, that willingness has its limits.” One has to look no farther than the “yellow vest” protests against French President Macron’s fuel tax to see the likely result of just increased prices much less government control over industry, restrictions of individual consumption, or military mobilization to protect and seize resources
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