The Trump administration is dismantling limitations on climate change emissions by eliminating the clean power plan and fuel economy standards and by attacking the Paris agreement.
These actions violate the limits of freedom in a civil society expressed in the adage: "Your right to swing your fist ends where another person's nose begins."
Whose nose is bloodied by climate change? Coastal homeowners and businesses whose properties will succumb to rising sea levels, farmers and ski businesses in Colorado damaged by warming temperatures and reduced precipitation, Northeastern fisheries whose catch is moving northward, and children who catch tropical diseases moving into previously temperate areas. The list goes on and on.
The estimated cost of the resulting damage is about $31 per ton of carbon dioxide emitted, or a total for U.S. emissions of some $160 billion damage per year. Trump wants new regulations on climate to consider costs to business, but not consider damage to others (aka "social cost"). They want to re-write the adage: "Polluters have the right to swing their fists without regard to whose nose is hit."
This makes no sense. Polluters pollute because it is less costly for them. As long as they never pay for the damage to others, they have no economic incentive to stop polluting.
Climate change is real, the resulting damage is real, and the primary cause is burning fossil fuels. Denying the existence of climate change or the role of carbon dioxide emissions is not a valid excuse.
This is akin to pummeling someone while saying your fists are not landing blows, or if they are it really doesn't hurt.
— Robert E. Jones, Colorado Springs
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