A roadmap to build a climate-resilient economy
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“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” is a classic line from the infamous “Wizard of Oz.” In fact, that line was once voted as number 24 of “The 100 Greatest Movie Lines” of all time.
This phrase is often used in regard to politics, when the deceit is more obvious than usual. The great comedian George Carlin once stated that he could always tell when a politician was lying, because his lips were moving. And thus, I’d like to point out that when the politicians in Washington, D.C., name a bill they intend to burden the people with, it almost universally does not do what it is named to do.
The Affordable Care Act did not make health care affordable, and the Patriot Act was not patriotic, as it stripped away constitutionally guarantied civil liberties of every American, of every stripe. And so, we now have Joe Biden’s executive order for “A Roadmap to Build a Climate-Resilient Economy.” I can guarantee you one thing, the last thing that this actually concerns is to build a climate-resilient economy.
President Joe Biden issued Executive Order 14030 on Climate-Related Financial Risk on the twentieth of May. The plain and dirty of that order is that the Biden administration believes that private companies and markets are not pricing into their calculations the effects of man-made climate change on housing, stocks and bonds, physical assets, crop yields, etc.
In response to E.O. 14030, Biden’s National Economic Council published “A Roadmap to Build a Climate-Resilient Economy.” The council asserts that the roadmap is necessary because “Wall Street financial models and investment portfolios continue to rely on the basic assumption that climate will be stable.”
What Biden and his National Economic Council have failed to recognize is that there is ample evidence that portfolio managers, bond markets, businesses, farmers, and shareholders are already taking the effects of climate change into account when planning their investments. On the other hand, as many of you are currently experiencing personally, government interference in the markets tend to actually slow things down, which then inflates the final costs to the end consumer.
If investors and fund managers demand information, companies will supply it. Earlier this year, Bloomberg Law reported that 342 of the companies in the S&P 500 already mentioned greenhouse gases and climate change in their 2020 annual reports, and 220 of them specifically addressed the risks that climate change poses to their businesses. Even the fossil fuel giant ExxonMobil began listing climate change as a risk factor to its businesses starting with its 2006 annual report.
Private entities are already adjusting their investment strategies to a changing climate, and government programs are actually hindering the market signals that could spur people and businesses to adapt faster and more wisely to climate change. This is particularly true of government insurance programs like the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation.
The roadmap mistakenly notes that the federal government will likely have to pay out billions more in crop insurance subsidies to American farmers each year by late-century due to the effects of climate change. The roadmap suggests that increasingly severe heatwaves and droughts are already harming agricultural production.
While heatwave intensity and duration in the United States has been increasing over the past 50 years, it is still well below the elevated levels experienced in the 1930s. With respect to droughts in the lower 48 states, the last 50 years have been a bit wetter than the 120-year average.
The roadmap does offer some useful directions to federal agencies with respect to climate-proofing federal infrastructure and procuring climate-friendly products and technologies, but it is largely superfluous with respect to investors and businesses as they are already adapting to climate change well ahead of this exercise in federal guidance.
In the end, was any of this really necessary? This Climate Resilient Economy idea was originally pushed to Biden by Amalgamated Bank. Amalgamated’s own home page online includes the logos of the Democratic Party, as well as the Democratic Governors Association, and then states: “Amalgamated supports sustainable organizations, progressive causes, and social justice. We are committed to environmental and social responsibility. We’re net-zero and powered by 100% renewable energy, and we have a long, proud history of providing affordable access to the banking system, supporting immigrants and affordable housing, and being a champion of workers’ rights,” and that they “work side-by-side with over 1,000 unions.”
So, “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain,” and ignore that Amalgamated Bank is pulling the strings of Joe Biden, who has just pushed their agenda onto all of “we the people,” …and we will in the end all pay for this charade equally.