Many environmental activists are no doubt trumpeting the fact that more and more energy companies are jumping on the CO2 emissions reduction bandwagon. What they don’t know or just won’t tell you is that these companies are doing it for rent-seeking, not principled, reasons.
Not all energy CEOs are selling out though. At least one, Robert Murray, chairman and CEO of Murray Energy, a coal company, is taking a stand and chastising his fellow CEOs. He generally avoids discussing the science of climate change, preferring to address the calamitous environmental policies being advocated by the largely leftist environmentalist movement. He sensibly points out the negative consequences such policies will have for the American economy and workers, even if fears about global warming are accurate.
He says: “Even if the politicians believe 100% that man is causing global warming, they still have an obligation to discuss honestly just what damage they want to inflict on American jobs and workers and people on fixed incomes, in the here and now, with their programs.”
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I’m sure watermelon environmentalists will be rapier-quick to dismiss the man as being self-interested and deceitful about his true motives, but I think such an ad hominem attack, in addition to being a logical fallacy, would just be a plain wrong interpretation of him. If environmentalists are concerned about human life and not just about nature and other animals, then they have a responsibility to seriously examine the economic ramifications of their proposed policies. Simply dismissing this man’s concerns because of his job is the height of irresponsibility. As it stands, there is a dearth of understanding of economic theory and history and the policies currently being proposed will have certain and severe negative consequences now and long into the future, consequences that will likely be worse than the negative effects of global warming, and will be ineffective at best, counterproductive at worst. On top of that, some of the policies (as the article points out) will serve to enrich the very energy industry that the environmentalists hate, at the expense not only of everyone else but also of the environment.