We’ve been just waiting for the panic over coronavirus to somehow end up involving global warming. The Guardian finally delivered, courtesy of the ridiculous bureaucrats at the European Union. Here’s the March 4 headline: “Focus on coronavirus shows need for climate law, says EU official.”
The report explains:
He’s touting the new EU climate law draft unveiled on March 4, its version of the “Green New Deal,” which will have to be approved by the European Parliament. It will be a heavier-than-normal lift to obtain the parliament’s rubber stamp because the law mandates that EU carbon dioxide emissions reach net-zero by 2050, a radical goal, and it’s legally binding. As the Guardian reports:
Suppose bankrupt Greece isn’t reducing its emissions fast enough to meet the 2050 goal. Then the EU will throw “hefty” fines at it. Because Greece won’t be able to pay — being bankrupt, you know — the rest of the EU (read: Germany) effectively will have to pay. The proposed law is, therefore, a recipe for disaster that will increasingly rely on Germany to rescue other EU nations.
Back to the headline. What Timmermans is saying is that the European Parliament needs to pass its new climate law in short order so that it can be used to shape everything else. The draft legislation actually specifies that all subsequent legislation, say, on farming, labor, or coronavirus, will have to be consistent with the 2050 net-zero carbon emissions target.
Meanwhile, the new commission president, Ursula Von der Leyen, flanked by none other than teenage climate alarmist Greta Thunberg, elaborated: The new law “will be our compass for the next 30 years and it will guide us every step.”
Of course, there is no way that any developed economy will emit net-zero carbon dioxide in less than 30 years unless it turns to nuclear power, a path which European nations seem adamantly opposed to.
After all, Germany shut down its perfectly good nuclear reactors because of a one-off disaster in which a tsunami hit a Japanese nuclear plant where the emergency power generator was foolishly located. This stunning idiocy only led to increased German reliance upon coal-fired electricity, something that will be simply forbidden under the proposed law.
Alas, the EU’s mandated economic suicide still isn’t good enough for Thunberg, who calls it “a surrender” because it doesn’t ensure global temperatures will not rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above early 19th century values, a benchmark that is simply silly.
Global surface temperatures are around one degree above where they were in 1900, and it’s easy to show that a bit less than half of that rise happened before we had put enough carbon dioxide in the air to cause it. Since 1900, in the developed world, life expectancy has more than doubled. In the United States, per capita constant-dollar wealth increased drastically over that same time period. Anyone who thinks that raising the surface temperature a mere half-degree further will wipe out all of this and more is abandoning logic.
In reality, economically vibrant societies are increasingly immune to the vagaries of severe weather events. As convincingly shown by the University of Colorado’s Roger Pielke Jr., weather damages as a percent of global GDP are going down, not up. Sure, dollar-cost damages are increasing, but only because we have more and more stuff to get hit.
Make no mistake: The proposed EU climate law will reverse a lot more progress and a lot more economic and environmental resilience than any probable climate change or, for that matter, coronavirus.
Patrick Michaels is a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market public policy organization in Washington, D.C.