A while back, Bjorn Lomborg argued that any money we spend to address climate change will constitute a handout to the sub-Saharan millionaires of 2100:
[E]ven the UN's most pessimistic forecasts project that by 2100 the average person in developing countries will be richer than the average person in developed countries is now.In a National Review article, Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren fine-tune this argument:
Not to be flip about it, but why should the relatively poor (us) sacrifice for the relatively rich (our children and grandchildren)?Yeah, who ever heard of parents sacrificing anything for the sake of their children?
Cheap sarcasm aside, the idea behind both arguments is that the unstoppable march of GDP will make our descendents fantastically rich. I'm no economist, so I'll simply have to assume that Taylor and Van Doren have factored pesky details like inflation into their calculations. Even so, I notice a problem. Our Heroes argue that GDP per capita is currently $44,403, but will rise to $321,684 by 2106. Here's their conclusion:
Would anyone, let alone liberals, ever propose a one-percent tax on those who make $44,000 to create benefits for those who make $289,000? In short, paying now to head off warming is a regressive intergenerational tax that takes from the poor and gives to the rich.One hardly knows what to say. First off, they're pretending that per-capita GDP is the same thing as household income, which isn't the case (to put it mildly). They've sped past the comparatively respectable tactic of reification, and proceeded directly to lying their asses off.
There are various ways of allocating the cost of addressing climate change. But let's pretend - as Taylor and Van Doren seem to - that we're talking about a one-percent flat tax on income. That would cost someone who makes $44,000 per year a modest $440. It'd cost ExxonMobil $360,000,000. Conservatarian hacks tend to shed crocodile tears over "the little guy" in their op-ed pieces, but I think we know whose prospective losses are actually haunting their dreams.
I don't have the heart to address the other logical problems here. I'll merely mention that the CBC has a documentary called The Denial Machine available for online viewing.