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Climate change alarmism in Kansas is expensive

Today’s Wichita Eagle reports on the high cost of climate change mitigation. (Climate cleanup costs could trickle down) Before Kansans commit to expensive courses of action that will be ineffective, we need to consider the wisdom of this action.

As reported in the article, “there is the worry that regulation will drive up costs and push industry and jobs to other places.” Climate change alarmists treat these yet-to-be-passed regulations as a given, and are sure that they’ll be implemented. These regulations, however, are bad public policy, and there’s no reason why we should base current decisions on the threat of bad regulations being passed in the future. In fact, to do so would be highly irresponsible.

Reported as a counterbalance to the huge costs of complying with bad regulation is “But others argue that regulations will spur innovation, creating more jobs.” It’s true that a forced move to a “green” economy would necessitate the need for workers to do things. What’s really important, however, is whether these jobs would increase the wealth of our country. That depends partly on the validity of the threat that climate change presents, and that threat is disputed. If the threat is not real, or if the effect would be minor, then these “green” jobs have all the characteristics of “make-work” jobs. They put people to work, but produce nothing of value.

Furthermore, we might find ourselves spending huge sums to reduce greenhouse gases when other countries are increasing their emissions rapidly. Melissa Cohlmia of Koch Industries got this exactly right when she mentioned countries that “will not participate in efforts to limit greenhouse gases.” I’ve written about this before in relation to efforts in Kansas to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. A little arithmetic tells us that anything we as Kansans do is just a drop in the ocean. In fact, as I report in KEEP’s Goal is Predetermined and Ineffectual, “even if Kansas stopped producing all carbon emissions, the effect would be overcome in about 16 months of just the growth in China’s emissions.”

Rate increases in utility bills are burdensome to customers. When the local electric utility proposed raising monthly bills by $10 for the average consumer, ratepayers protested vigorously. When the City of Wichita proposed adding perhaps $3 or $4 to monthly residential water bills, council member Lavonta Williams expressed concern that this would be a hardship for many of the residents in her district. Whenever forecasts call for higher natural gas prices, we’re warned that some people will not be able to heat their homes.

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