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Global Warming Mission Creep At The World Bank

Investor's Business Daily

This year’s climate change report by the World Bank is a frightening screed filled with warnings of apocalyptic doom. Doesn’t this organization have anything better to do than to needlessly scare people?

The World Bank was established in 1944 as a “facilitator of post-war reconstruction and development.” That job done, it now has a “present-day mandate of worldwide poverty alleviation.”

In taking on that burden, it has assured itself it will never fade away, because as long as there are humans, we’ll have poverty, which guarantees that World Bankers will always have jobs trying (but never succeeding) in lifting the poor through means that continuously fail.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim got it half-right when he said, “We will never end poverty if we don’t tackle climate change.” Poverty has always been, and, unfortunately, always will be part of the human condition. The World Bank will never end it.

But he’s got it 100% wrong about the importance of the World Bank tackling climate change. If it doesn’t, nothing will be lost. But if it does, lots is locked in. Policy changes to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions, which the World Bank supports, will be costly.

The Stern Review, for instance, says that taking greenhouse-gas emissions back to 75% of 2007 levels by 2050 could cost as much as 3.5% of global GDP. That review says a 1% gain is possible, but the more-likely scenario is a 1% loss in global GDP. A revised estimate says the loss will be 2%.

The argument, of course, is that those losses are small when compared to the much bigger losses that will occur due to global warming. But what those larger costs will be are, at best, a poor guess. We have yet to experience the climate change disasters that were predicted. Nor have the temperatures, which have actually been falling, reached the scorching heights we were warned about.

Yet calls for carbon taxes and cap-and-trade policies are in favor among governments.

A carbon tax, which is inexplicably supported by some on the right, is not a cost-free solution. In fact, it’s not a solution at all. Consider Australia ‘s carbon-tax regime. Greg Sheridan, foreign editor of the Australian, convincingly wrote some months back that his country’s carbon tax is “environmentally inconsequential, economically costly, administratively nightmarish.”

Meanwhile, the carbon tax in Canada’s British Columbia is “an expensive, ineffective and unpopular failure,” according to B.C.’s daily Internet independent The Tyee. And it’s the same in Great Britain.

Investor’s Business Daily, 24 November 2012