Carbon benefits trump costs by up to 500 to 1!

EPA “social cost of carbon” claims ignore hydrocarbon and carbon dioxide benefits

  • CityLights
This article originally appeared in Investor’s Business Daily

Investors Business Daily

Government agencies claim fossil fuels and carbon dioxide emissions cause “dangerous global warming.” Their latest strategy for advancing this thesis involves estimating the “social cost of carbon” (SCC) – monetized damages associated with alleged climate risks.

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Roger Bezdek

The agencies assume Earth’s climate is highly sensitive to CO2 and hypothesize every conceivable carbon cost, including impacts on agriculture, forestry, water resources, coastal cities, ecosystems, wildlife and human health. However, as a new Management Information Services report explains, they completely ignore even the most obvious and enormous benefits of using fossil fuels and emitting carbon dioxide.

Had they followed federal laws and basic benefit-cost (B-C) analysis rules, they would have found that hydrocarbon and carbon dioxide benefits outweigh costs by at as much as 500 to 1!

Executive Order 12866 (1993) requires that federal agencies “assess both the costs and benefits” of a proposed regulation, and adopt it “only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits … justify its costs.” The Office of Management and Budget recently said B-C calculations should help determine whether a regulation is worth implementing at all.

By addressing only the supposed costs of carbon-based fuels – while ignoring even their most significant, well-documented benefits – government analyses and regulatory proposals violate the law. Their actions are illegal, misleading, even fraudulent.

The methodology for developing SCC estimates is so flexible, so devoid of rigorous standards, that it could produce almost any estimates an agency might desire. It allowed agencies to set the cost at $22 per ton of carbon dioxide emitted in 2010, and three years later arbitrarily increase it to $36/ton. Each time, they did so with little publicity, debate or public input.

They are using the $36 formula to justify proposed standards for microwave ovens, cell phone chargers, and laptops; costly, job-killing rules for automobiles and coal-fired power plants; and ultimately standards for factories, refineries, hospitals, and apartment buildings. Each time they proclaim unacceptable damages from “carbon” and enormous benefits from their regulations.

Now environmentalists want an even higher number: $43/ton.

SCC calculations rely on computer models that supposedly analyze climate processes, economic growth, and feedbacks between the climate and global economy in a single modeling framework. However, only limited, speculative research links climate impacts to economic damages.

Even the agencies admit the exercise is subject to “simplifying assumptions and judgments, reflecting the modelers’ best attempts to synthesize the available scientific and economic research characterizing these relationships.” [emphasis added]

Each model uses a different approach to translate global warming into damages. Worse, transforming economic damages over time into a single value requires “judgments” about how to discount them, and officials have been highly selective in choosing which “available scientific and economic research” they utilize.

The process is highly detrimental to American lives, jobs, living standards, health, and welfare. It lets officials exaggerate the supposed benefits of rules, minimize their costs, and ignore the value of energy, facilities, and activities being regulated. It is being imposed in the name of preventing “dangerous manmade climate change” that thousands of scientists say is hypothetical.

Literally trillions of dollars are at stake.

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Paul Driessen

Fossil fuels facilitated industrial revolutions, launched the modern world, and ensure livelihoods, living standards, health, and longevity. Over the past 200 years, largely because of hydrocarbon energy, human populations increased eight-fold, average incomes rose eleven-fold, and global life expectancy more than doubled.

Concurrently, human CO2 emis­sions increased 2,800-fold, to 8.4 billion tons/year – and atmospheric concentrations rose to nearly 400 ppm. That too has benefits. Carbon dioxide facilitates plant growth and enhances agricultural productivity. It is the basis of all life on Earth.

Hydrocarbons currently provide 81% of world energy, and forecasts say this will continue. Most important, the positive relationship between fossil fuels, economic growth, and CO2 emissions is strong – supporting some $70 trillion per year in GDP.

Under accepted benefit-cost analyses, proposed regulations would pass muster if the rules’ benefits exceed their costs by a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio. However, employing the government’s own carbon “cost” figures demonstrates that the ratios are completely and dramatically reversed.

The benefits of using carbon-based fuels outweigh any hypothesized “social carbon costs” by orders of magnitude: 50-to-1 (using the inflated 2013 SCC of $36/ton of CO2) – and 500-to-1 (using the arbitrary 2010 $22/ton estimate). In fact, any cost estimate is lost in the “statistical noise” of carbon and CO2 benefits.

If the world is serious about increasing or maintaining economic growth, living standards and access to affordable energy, fossil fuels are essential. Restrictions on hydrocarbon energy and faulty carbon cost analyses will undermine progress in all these areas.

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About the Author: Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy adviser for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), which is sponsoring the All Pain No Gain petition against global-warming hype. He also is a senior policy adviser to the Congress of Racial Equality and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.

About the Author: Roger Bezdek

Dr. Roger Bezdek is an internationally recognized energy analyst and President of Management Information Services, Inc., in Washington, D.C.

  • http://earth-climate.com Doug Cotton

    Measurements made with the Ranque-Hilsch vortex tube now confirm the validity of the gravito-thermal effect. That is what explains the “33 degrees of warming” not GH radiative forcing.

    Would someone like to help Lindzen, Christy and Curry get into the 21st century?

    It would be nice if real science could be discussed, instead of the false fictitious fissics fantasy that is promulgated by the IPCC, Lindzen, Spencer, Curry, Christy etc.

    They all think a state of isothermal conditions could happen, despite the obvious fact that such a state is not a state of thermodynamic equilibrium with maximum entropy and does not exist in the Uranus troposphere.

    There’s nothing quite like empirically measured facts to prove the GH conjecture wrong, but Lindzen, Curry and Christy still have their heads buried in at least some carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide cools by 0.1 degree: it does not warm.

  • John Tiller

    CO2 is natural, it is the original “green
    energy”. It is responsible that we are a green planet. The earth’s boom
    in green plants directly followed the increase of CO2 in the air. That
    is science.
    It is out best free fertilizer, plants cannot
    survive without it, and greenhouses use CO2 generators to give their
    plants 10 times more CO2, it’s so beneficial. Thus it is not harmful to
    growing plants, or to greenhouse workers.
    By following US federal law
    about using basic benefit-cost (B-C) analysis rules, hydrocarbon and CO2
    benefits outweigh costs by at as much as 500 to 1.
    But Obama and
    his liberal cult imagines human breath is poison and wants to make it go
    away – by taxing people mercilessly for breathing, growing food,
    working, and staying warm.

  • allenbarclayallen

    http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/johnransom/2014/03/25/chills-down-my-spine-caused-by-global-warming-n1813993?utm_source=thdaily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl

    If we allow these liers to divert money for this foolishness instead of preparing for a natural event then there will be a famin. The Sky is falling people must go away for the world to prepare. For one all available land use must be used for winter wheat. Not doing this is a factor that lead to the black plague of Europe. they Enjoyed warm weather for years and didn’t know how to rase winter wheat as they still tried to mistakenly to keep their vineyards. From 1300 to 1850 it was to cold for those vineyards. Lack of wine (an alcoholic product) exacerbated the spread of the black plague by forcing the population to drink contaminated water. there was no whisky for the purification of the water either because they didn’t know how to make that either from grain they didn’t know how to farm. So their was no source of vitamin C from wine in the population to fight these disease when it hit. Ironically most of the Wine producers of Italy had the Neanderthal gene to prevent the disease two thirds of the population that did not have this gene died .
    Back to my point if farming prepares for this the world over their will be no famine. If we listen to these IDIOTS of history we will starve.
    Nature Climate Change recently published a paper that contends that temperate zones will see reduced crop yields by 2030, presumably plunging the world into a (man-caused famine)—-THIS IS A LIE !!!! THOSE THAT LISTEN TO IT AND DON’T PREPARE WILL STARVE !!!!!!!

    If we caused this with our Cars our Fossil fuel transportation system. Then who the hell caused the Mini ICE AGE of Europe 1300 to 1850???????? Global Warmers are ignorant of history. Their islamic influence is against the raising of grain also. They anr the Religious Catolic Church of the time were as much responsible for the black plague by not allowing grain to be raised in the first place especially for the makins of spirit whisky to decontaminate water. The making of whisky goes all the way back to Moses of Israel for the decontamination of water. The lack of the first Amendment we have was , because of this, responsible for the great black plague as any other factor. Today Supreme Court is fighting for our sanity in the First Amendment. Will we once again listen to these fanatics of anti Alcohol islam and their restrictions on freedom of speech and their White House new islamic prerequisite religion for government jobs. Are we going to allow these Bastards of history to take us kicking and screaming back to the dark age. We’ll see but Christ is coming this time islam.

  • DMA

    Is it possible for a group of citizens who are adversely effected by these EPA regulations to find standing for a class action suit? They don’t directly make me shut down my generator but by causing the coal fired generator to shut down they cost me extra for every everything I buy and the result is a deterioration of the environment and my living conditions.

  • Mike Cline

    Even worse, transforming economic damages over time into a single value requires “judgments” about how to discount them, and oil company executives have been highly selective in choosing which “available scientific and economic research” they utilize. See what I did there? I just switched out “officials” with “oil company executives” and it means the same thing. Fossil fuel companies also love making “judgments” on how to value future environmental damage; they judge that current profits are worth current and future damage. No worry though, as long as oil executives and their lobbyists have “American lives, jobs, living standards, health, and welfare” as the driving force in their decision making, and not profit, we’ll be fine.