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Dirty Secrets About the CLEAN Future Act

Summary:
This article is a pretty good summary of my main points on climate change econ/policy over the last several years. An excerpt: The official framework for the CLEAN Future Act repeatedly alludes to “the scientific consensus that all countries must shift to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 to avoid the most devastating consequences of climate change,” and it cites the UN’s IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C as the source for this claim. As this statement is the bedrock upon which the entire CLEAN Future Act rests, it’s worth analyzing.In the first place, even on its own terms, and even if there were nothing misleading about it, the statement does not justify a policy of moving to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. Don’t believe me? Consider this

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This article is a pretty good summary of my main points on climate change econ/policy over the last several years. An excerpt:

The official framework for the CLEAN Future Act repeatedly alludes to “the scientific consensus that all countries must shift to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 to avoid the most devastating consequences of climate change,” and it cites the UN’s IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C as the source for this claim. As this statement is the bedrock upon which the entire CLEAN Future Act rests, it’s worth analyzing.

In the first place, even on its own terms, and even if there were nothing misleading about it, the statement does not justify a policy of moving to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. Don’t believe me? Consider this analogous claim: “The medical consensus is that Americans must stop driving motorcycles to avoid the most devastating consequences of traffic accidents.”

If we play with definitions, this claim about motorcycles is true. After all, “the most devastating consequences” of traffic accidents are that people die, and apparently you are 37 times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident than a car accident. So QED, we should ban motorcycles, right?

Most readers will probably disagree, or at the very least will understand that a mere statement about the downside of an activity—in my example, motorcycle riding—is not proof that it should be eliminated.

Robert Murphy
Christian, Austrian economist, and libertarian theorist. Research Prof at Texas Tech and author of *Choice*. Paul Krugman's worst nightmare.

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