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There are few editorialists that many of us enjoy more than Holman W. Jenkins Jr. His twice-weekly “Business World” columns in the Wall Street Journal speak truth to power, including on the top-tier issue of energy and climate.
His March 16, 2019, piece, Is There a Green Rational Deal?, presents a government-activist alternative to the Green New Deal’s “fantastically expensive plan to fix precisely nothing.” But Jenkins errs in reaching for a silver bullet where, indeed, the fix is unnecessary, speculative, expensive, and not doable. And he defaults on the clear policy winner: free-market, wealth-is-health adaptation.
Scenarios - Jenkins - Government - Program - Emissions
Assuming model-driven, high-warming scenarios, Jenkins offers a multi-part government program to mitigate emissions and reverse manmade global warming.
Jenkins’s out-of-the-box proposal is a geoengineering fix whereby particles are injected in the air to reduce the sunlight reaching the earth, estimated to cost billions of dollars annually.
Part - Saner - Approach - Green - New
The second part of his “saner, no-regrets approach” to the Green New Deal (GND) starts with greater battery research (to help renewables overcome intermittency) and ending “irrational obstacles to nuclear power.” But the main intervention is a carbon tax. In Jenkins’s words:
Adopt a carbon tax as a pro-growth tax reform and hope the example catches on. Even if it doesn’t, any low-carbon energy technologies that emerge, if they are efficient and competitive, would be adopted by other countries.
Jenkins - Effect - GND-lite - Twist - Table
Jenkins is proposing, in effect, GND-lite with a geoengineering twist. While arguably better than what is on the table from the Progressive Left, his alternative suffers from a raft of problems that make it a clear loser to the real alternative of less government and market adaptation.
The wide range of predicted anthropogenic warming is proof enough that the alleged problem is ill-defined and speculative. There are distinct positives from increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, and climate economists such as Robert Mendelsohn have calculated net...
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