A pretextual climate change report?
This week, the Obama Administration released a National Climate Assessment that predicts dire consequences for the nation’s economy owing to global warming. Here at Pacific Legal Foundation, we take no position on the scientific side of the climate change debate, but we do strongly believe that climate change should not be used as a pretext to foist bigger government on, and to undercut the property rights of, the American people. Yet these ulterior motives seem precisely the point of this Assessment. After all, it’s basically undisputed that, even if the United States were to stop emitting carbon dioxide altogether, the impact on climate over the next several decades would be minute. As Bjorn Lomborg has convincingly argued, if climate change is happening, there are plenty of much less expensive methods for ameliorating its impacts than by reducing carbon emissions. And yet, the Obama Administration has simply assumed that the only way to address climate change is through more government regulation on productive emission activity. Climate change is not the only environmental issue subject to pretextual misuse, but it may well be the most prominent.
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