June 17, 2009

the danger of climate change regulation

By Damien M. Schiff Senior Attorney

Legal Planet has had several posts on climate change and possible legislation over the past week, with the latest being "An Open Letter to Climate Change Denialists." We do not have the expertise to confirm or deny climate change. We do, however, stand for the protection of private property rights and economic liberties, and that is why one post in particular jumped out to us.

On Sunday, Professor Farber asked "Is EVERYTHING Related to Climate Change?" His conclusion:

I don’t want to seem obsessed with a single issue, so I keep trying to come up with topics that have absolutely no relationship with climate change. But I can’t seem to find any.

The fact is that energy is such an integral part of our economy that almost all activities connect one way or another with energy use and hence (in a carbon-based economy) with climate change.

Professor Farber's commentary may not have been meant to be taken as a serious and complex analysis, but it does highlight the danger of climate change regulation: it provides a means by which lawyers and bureaucrats can regulate each and every aspect of our lives, economic and otherwise. For instance, according to Professor Farber, even divorce is somehow related to climate change.

Those who desire climate change legislation and cap and trade schemes must be aware that such regulation has the potential to impact all human activity. Unfortunately, we're not convinced that politicians are aware of the ramifications of climate change legislation — or perhaps they don't care.

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