By Rob Roper
Bjorn Lomborg of the Copenhagen Consensus Center recently brought to our attention a study done by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) on what a global carbon tax would do to those suffering from hunger around the world. Their conclusion, in a nutshell:
A single climate mitigation scheme applied to all sectors, such as a global carbon tax, could have a serious impact on agriculture and result in far more widespread hunger and food insecurity than the direct impacts of climate change.
Specifically, they note that the additional cost a worldwide carbon tax would add to agricultural products would put between 70 million and 170 million more people at risk for hunger, especially those living in sub Saharan Africa and India. This is roughly three times more than the 24 to 50 million people who might benefit from any mitigation of climate change because of the tax.
Lomberg points out that under the Paris agreement the European Union alone would have to spend about $600 billion each year for the rest of the century to comply with the regulations, and the net result would be a reduction of just 0.09°F by the end of the century. Not just compensation for 170 million starving people.
The authors of the study are not climate change “deniers,” and do stress the need to reduce emissions. However, they rightly advise, “When designing climate mitigation policies, policymakers need to scrutinize other factors and development goals more closely, rather than focusing only on the goal of reducing emissions.” Like not starving millions of people with your “solutions.”
Vermont policy makers and carbon tax activists should take heed. They are constantly saying, “We must do something! Are you suggesting we do nothing?” But, if that something does more harm than good to the people of our state — like a carbon tax certainly would — you are, in fact, better off not doing anything.