During a recent Facebook Live Q &A session, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) told viewers that she so feared a future of climate change that she woke up at “like 3:30am” worrying about the fate of the planet.
There are several problems here. First, even if we agreed that government (as opposed to private) payments for tree-planting made sense, it doesn’t at all follow that the revenue should come from a carbon tax. In general, raising a dollar of revenue from a tax on carbon content hurts the economy more than raising a dollar from taxing labor or consumption. (My article on the “tax interaction effect” gives the economic intuition behind this point.)
Former Defense Department Secretary James Mattis called on those who disagree with the threat of climate change to reconsider their position to protect future generations. The former defense secretary has been making the rounds publicizing the recent release of his book, giving more insight into political views after his exit from the Trump administration early this year.
As hurricanes become more intense, flooding more common and wildfires more deadly, Americans — regardless of their party affiliation — are dying from extreme weather events and are seeing their livelihoods damaged. The searing experience of Hurricane Harvey in Texas in 2017 might not have prompted Republican politicians to fight “climate change," but perhaps they can have a rational conversation about “rising ocean levels.”
In 15th-century Peru, we learned last week, children were sacrificed to propitiate to the Chimú gods, in an attempt to end natural disasters caused by the climatic phenomenon we now call, appropriately enough, El Niño.
The Amazon is on fire. Is this a catastrophe? Of course it is. Who is to blame? It’s complicated. Global warming certainly seems to have to do with it. As such, there have been desperate attempts to speed up and strengthen the Paris Agreement.