California set a record for greenhouse gas reductions in 2020, but it means nothing when climate change is already disrupting the planet. As the state’s leaders scramble to reverse the effects of its policies, a different and far worse approach is at work. Climate change is a tool. It can be used to gain power, wealth, and power over your neighbors.
The United States is doing the same thing, but at a far more dangerous level.
In a new report out today, “Global Warming, Power, and Carbon Taxes,” a group of prominent scientists argues that nations could achieve far greater climate outcomes than those that would be possible in the United States without carbon taxes, cap-and trade, or other aggressive climate policies.
Their work, summarized in a set of three white papers entitled “Global Warming, Power, and Carbon Taxes,” “appear to show that a large number of climate policies are possible. The analyses suggest that it should not be surprising that many other types of policies are likely to also work,” writes Matthew C. Rynard in The Washington Post. “Many climate policies that are already underway or being considered could be expanded and improved by carbon taxes, or they could be adapted to improve.”
Here’s what we know, based on a review of the science in the three white papers published today.
1) America is using climate change as a weapon.
The global environment is changing, in large measure due to the warming of the planet. The impacts of climate change have already begun to affect the United States. Climate change is already affecting the food supply, increasing the frequency and severity of droughts, heavy precipitation, and heat waves. The changing global climate has begun to alter the course of natural disasters. Droughts are becoming more frequent. Drought damage costs are expanding. Flooding is becoming more severe. Increasingly, heat waves are becoming more frequent. The consequences of rising sea levels mean that coastal communities may be affected disproportionately.
The United States is no longer the world’s laggard on the issue of carbon emissions. It is now the largest carbon polluter on the planet. America’s carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise. According to the US Energy Information Administration, US carbon emissions rose by 11.7 percent from 2010