Tilting at Climate Windmills

Schumer-Manchin will have little effect on the world's temperature
Wall Street Journal Editorial

Nearly all of Washington—Democrats, the press, lobbyists—is taking a victory lap with Senate passage of the Schumer-Manchin tax, climate and drug price control bill. The climate lobby is especially thrilled, claiming a historic victory that will reduce temperatures, hold back the rising sea, and save the planet.

Or, maybe not. Our contributor Bjorn Lomborg looked at the Rhodium Group estimate for CO2 emissions reductions from Schumer-Manchin policies. He then plugged them into the United Nations climate model to measure the impact on global temperature by 2100. He finds the bill will reduce the estimated global temperature rise at the end of this century by all of 0.028 degrees Fahrenheit in the optimistic case. In the pessimistic case, the temperature difference will be 0.0009 degrees Fahrenheit.

In other words, the climate provisions in this ballyhooed legislation will have no notable impact on the climate.

This isn't surprising. No matter what the U.S. does to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, it will be dwarfed by what the rest of the world does. China, India and Africa aren't about to stop burning fossil fuels as they develop, and China is sprinting ahead to build huge new coal capacity despite its pledge to start reducing emissions after 2030.

Barring a breakthrough in battery or other technology, carbon emissions will continue to increase. No one knows how much the Earth’s temperature will warm, though even the U.N. model has modified its estimates from the apocalyptic predictions of some years ago.

Schumer-Manchin won't reduce inflation, won't reduce the budget deficit, and it won't reduce the world's temperature. What it will do is transfer some $369 billion from taxpayers and drug companies to the pockets of green energy businesses and investors. It will tighten the hold that politicians have on the allocation of capital, as they pick winners and losers with their grants and tax credits. Everyone will get a nice warm feeling as they pretend they are cooling the climate.