People seem to think that adaptation to climate change is a free good. Some people tout it as a “no regrets” alternative to questionable mitigation efforts such as decarbonization. It is certainly not free and if the projected changes fail to occur it can easily be very bad.
Here are just a few examples, among many possibilities:
1. A billion dollar irrigation system where none is presently needed, based on a projected 50% drop in annual rainfall, which does not happen.
2. A billion dollar hydro power dam based on a projected 100% increase in annual rainfall, which does not happen.
3. A billion dollar dike system based on accelerating sea level rise, which does not happen.
Adaptation to projected climate change is actually a hugely expensive gamble. The climate change scare is by necessity based on horrendous projected adverse impacts. Adapting to these projections, as opposed to reality, will therefore be horrendously expensive. If these monster changes do not occur, which is extremely likely, then these monster adaptation efforts will be wasted money, effort and hardship.
Note that simply preparing for extreme events like droughts and floods is not climate change adaptation. These things occur naturally. They are not climate change.
In reality this nice sounding idea of adaptation is a yawning money pit, driven by deliberately scary computer projections. Far from being benign, adaptation is potentially disastrous. It would be better called maladaptation.
This is especially true in poorer developing countries, which desperately need real developments like clean water and electricity. Diverting funding from these real needs, in the bogus name of climate change adaptation, would be incredibly cruel.
This fallacy of maladaptation is rampant in the UN, but unfortunately it is to be found lurking big time in the Trump Administration as well. Its highest form is in something called Executive Order 13677. This is the one big Obama climate scare Executive Orders that President Trump has not rescinded.
EO 13677 is titled “Climate-Resilient International Development.” This Order basically instructs all Federal Agencies to incorporate climate change activism into all foreign activities, especially in the roughly $40 billion a year spent on foreign aid. While restriction of fossil fuel use is included, the thrust of the Order is adaptation, which is also called resilience.
The Order makes clear from the beginning that it is about scary climate change projections. Here is the basic policy:
“Section 1. Policy. The world must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to prevent the most dangerous consequences of climate change. Even with increased efforts to curb these emissions, we must prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The adverse impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise, increases in temperatures, more frequent extreme precipitation and heat events, more severe droughts, and increased wildfire activity, along with other impacts of greenhouse gas emissions, such as ocean acidification, threaten to roll back decades of progress in reducing poverty and improving economic growth in vulnerable countries, compromise the effectiveness and resilience of U.S. development assistance, degrade security, and risk intranational and international conflict over resources.”
This is the standard litany of computer projected climate change scares, which should not be endorsed or acted upon. Reportedly the Trump Administration chose not to rescind this Order because it dealt with adaptation, which “you would do regardless.” This is the fallacy of adaptation at work. It is a huge mistake.
How much maladaptive funding has been made and will continue to be made under this climate scare Order is unknown, but it could be extensive. When it comes to foreign aid we need to stop focusing on fictitious climate change projections and put our money into solving real, immediate problems. This includes preparing for droughts and floods because we know these will continue to occur naturally.
President Trump should quickly rescind EO 13677, as well as all the agency guidances that have flowed from it. Maladaptation to bogus climate change is not US foreign policy.