A Message for the Unconvinced
Global warming is center stage, whether we like the play or not. Even if the scientific storyline makes sense, some want to give Al Gore the hook and they think the Green Chorus is too shrill. Fortunately, there is a way to adapt this outlook and ignore the science if we want to.
Carbon cap-and-trade, emissions limits and the other inconveniences act as a proxy for the real cost of using fossil fuels. Those costs include possible environmental damage, competing economies bidding up the price of energy, and acts of piracy and war. And I would add one more: Exporting wealth from energy consuming countries. Money sent across the border is unavailable for re-investment at home. It can’t buy goods from that nice family down the street and it can’t be taxed to provide services.
For little luxuries like Afghan rugs or Belgian chocolate, a few bucks overseas is good policy. But $250 billion for a year’s worth of petroleum imports can put a crimp in our standard of living. Not least that the money goes out for others to spend, but also that it demonstrates a lack of self-reliance and industry. And this is one we can’t blame on the welfare Moms. This failure is negotiated in the boardrooms.