Thursday, January 7, 2016

Why Do So Many Americans Oppose Efforts To Reduce Carbon Emissions?

The post below is critical of the claim that well informed individuals make rational decisions about the economic impact of climate change mitigation on their household budget.  Consequently, they vote against government proposals to reduce carbon emissions. In other words, democracy works.  This article describes the methods employed by energy companies  to misinform the "rational agents" who vote against government proposals to reduce carbon emissions.  It concludes that energy companies have corrupted the democratic process.  It also elevates the issue of climate change above and beyond the narrow economic interests of poorly informed voters.  It argues that we have a moral duty to prevent the certain harms to the only planet that we have.  We owe this to ourselves and to future generations. Of course, there is no room for morality in economics.  Economic efficiency is the only objective of economic analysis.

Our founders were concerned about the dependency of a democratic government on well informed citizens.  They recognized the importance of education and a well informed public. The opponents of democracy have been doing what they can to mobilize the political activity of the information poor segment of the population.  The GOP primary debates bear witness to their success.  It is also apparent in the US House of Representatives.  One would think that our representatives would be primarily concerned with the global trouble spots that are real national threats.  Unfortunately, they have been more interested in repealing Obamacare.  They approved a bill to repeal Obamacare with the full understanding that it would be vetoed by Obama.  They did so primarily to demonstrate their hatred for the president that their base has been taught to hate.  They also showed support for armed protesters who have occupied a government facility.  The protesters are demonstrating their hatred of government and we have elected representatives to Congress who share that hatred.  Of course, they realize that their efforts will be cheered by those who voted for them.  Fox News has been turning the armed occupiers into heroes.

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