The unbearable lightness of the climate change industrial complex

Article Highlights

  • The bureaucracy itself is an interest group pressing for an expansion of its workload, and is very likely to be ideologically biased toward certain classes of policy prescriptions.

    Tweet This

  • Even something seemingly as straightforward as the surface temperature record is fraught with difficulty.

    Tweet This

  • Thus do we find the global warming/climate change industrial complex clinging to anecdotes like so much flotsam in an ocean devoid of actual evidence.

    Tweet This

The scientific and policy certainties claimed by the global warming/climate change industrial complex are pervasive - and deeply misguided.

I recently wrote a brief summary critique of the Environmental Protection Agency's "analysis" of the "social cost of carbon." In a nutshell: (1) the EPA analysis fails to recognize that U.S. policies would have virtually no effect on temperatures or "climate" regardless of which climate model is assumed to be the most useful; and (2) the analysis is poor methodologically and inconsistent with analytic guidelines that have been imposed on executive agencies by the Office of Management and Budget. My observations elicited several comments, varying substantially in analytic quality, to which I respond below.

I thank the several commentators for arguments both thoughtful and collegial in response to my brief observations on the EPA analysis of the "social cost of carbon." However, many of those reactions are not persuasive. With respect to an initial aside from Wil Burns, the director of energy policy and climate at Johns Hopkins University, AEI as an institution does not take positions on policy issues; only its scholars do so, and those views do not purport to represent the views of AEI or of its officers or sponsors.

Burns's argument that "prospects for manipulation of the [cost-benefit analytic] process are reduced by insulating the process from elected officials" is curious, in that the meaning of "insulating the process" is a good deal more ambiguous than Burns seems to recognize. There is no such thing as "objective" analysis by a government bureau headed by an administrator appointed by an elected official and confirmed by the Senate. Moreover, the bureaucracy itself is an interest group pressing for an expansion of its workload, and is very likely to be ideologically biased toward certain classes of policy prescriptions. More generally, government bureaus are not peer-reviewed journals, and a self-evaluating organization is an oxymoron.

Read the full article at the American.

 

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Benjamin
Zycher

What's new on AEI

Love people, not pleasure
image Oval Office lacks resolve on Ukraine
image Middle East Morass: A public opinion rundown of Iraq, Iran, and more
image Verizon's Inspire Her Mind ad and the facts they didn't tell you
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 21
    MON
  • 22
    TUE
  • 23
    WED
  • 24
    THU
  • 25
    FRI
Monday, July 21, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Closing the gaps in health outcomes: Alternative paths forward

Please join us for a broader exploration of targeted interventions that provide real promise for reducing health disparities, limiting or delaying the onset of chronic health conditions, and improving the performance of the US health care system.

Monday, July 21, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Comprehending comprehensive universities

Join us for a panel discussion that seeks to comprehend the comprehensives and to determine the role these schools play in the nation’s college completion agenda.

Event Registration is Closed
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | 8:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Who governs the Internet? A conversation on securing the multistakeholder process

Please join AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy for a conference to address key steps we can take, as members of the global community, to maintain a free Internet.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Expanding opportunity in America: A conversation with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan

Please join us as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveils a new set of policy reforms aimed at reducing poverty and increasing upward mobility throughout America.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Is it time to end the Export-Import Bank?

We welcome you to join us at AEI as POLITICO’s Ben White moderates a lively debate between Tim Carney, one of the bank’s fiercest critics, and Tony Fratto, one of the agency’s staunchest defenders.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.