While most of us are concerned that climate change will lead to biblical flooding, war, food shortages and death, House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) is considering the benefits of irreversible climate change.
“The benefits of a changing climate are often ignored and under-researched. Our climate is too complex and the consequences of misguided policies too harsh to discount the positive effects of carbon enrichment,” Smith wrote in an op-ed for The Daily Signal, a website run by the conservative Heritage Foundation. [...]
“The use of fossil fuels and the byproducts of carbon enrichment play a large role in advancing the quality of human life by increasing food production to feed our growing population, stimulating the economy, and alleviating poverty,” he wrote. “Bad deals like the Paris Agreement would cost the U.S. billions of dollars, a loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, and have no discernible impact on global temperatures.”
Fossil fuels did play a large role in advancing the quality of human life by increasing food production, but we're now nearly 200 years removed from the industrial revolution. This is 2017, not 1820.
The "benefits" of climate change are often ignored because they either don't really exist or they're accompanied by far more enormous consequences that could kill a lot of people.
Yes, climate change is going to open up new pathways for arctic shipping and possibly even enable farming in the far northern hemisphere, but at what cost?
Will Lamar Smith be as amused by the "benefits of a changing climate" when Galveston is under water? What about when the entire southern half of Florida sinks beneath the sea? What benefit will there be when New Orleans is finally swallowed? Will the quality of human life improve when it's literally too hot to survive in the southwest?
Smith says the Paris agreement would have cost us billions and "hundreds of thousands of jobs." It wouldn't, and there are now far more Americans employed in the solar industry than the coal industry, but even if that were true it sounds preferable to the alternative.
The Climate Change Bailout of 2050 will dwarf the cost of acting today.