Sunday, September 3, 2017

Hypocrisy alert: Don't make us pay for Harvey floods sez Eric Worrall at WUWT. We paid for his, though.

Sou | 3:30 PM Go to the first of 9 comments. Add a comment
Credit: Trudy Lampson
I made a comment the other day about paying for floods. I was remarking about how Roger Pielke Jr likes to view the cost of disasters as a function of GDP. He says that GDP is going up faster worldwide than the big spike in the cost of weather disasters and implies that therefore the world can afford to pay for them.

There are flaws in Roger's GDP argument. One I didn't mention was that the cost of the clean up and restoration is part of GDP. The other is that I think a lot of wealthy people will object to their money being paid to recover from disasters unless they themselves are the victims. Remember how many Republicans voted against aid after Sandy.

The chart from Munich Re below is a bit old now, but you get the general direction. Weather related loss events are increasing.

Number of loss events 1980-2014. Source: TOPICS GEO Natural catastrophes 2014, Munich Re (2015)

More hypocrisy at WUWT - don't make us pay for recovery and restoration

Well, here's more proof of hypocrisy. Today Eric Worrall objects to funds raised through a carbon tax being used to help out when disaster strikes (archived here). He was responding to an op ed by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times, which was about the reluctance of US political leaders to accept the reality of climate change. It has a one-line suggestion about introducing a carbon tax, which Eric pounced on. The idea was that a carbon tax could also be used to help fund the cost of recovery from disasters.

Eric framed his objection as victims of Harvey won't like that. That's not a reason against the suggestion, though. If a carbon tax is structured properly, people on lower incomes will be compensated at least as much if not more than any increase in the cost of fuel and electricity - by tax deductions and social security increases. (That's how it was set up in Australia.)

Australian taxpayers paid for restoration after the Queensland flood

The other point, and this shows Eric up as  the worst hypocrite, is that I don't recall Eric complaining when Australians paid a flood levy to pay for for the 2010-11 Queensland floods. That's right. We all paid to clean up after the floods in Eric's home state of Queensland, even though every single state in Australia was hit with huge floods that season. It was just that Queensland didn't have flood insurance while the other states did. Queensland couldn't afford the flood insurance. The other states took it out.

So - who is going to pay for the clean up after Harvey? Who does Eric want to pay? Is it all taxpayers in the USA without any recompense? Is it just the States of Texas and Louisiana, where people will be least able to pay the extra tax?

He doesn't say. Nor does anyone else at WUWT that I can see. Americans are very generous people and respond very well in an immediate crisis. Some of them are probably not so smart when it comes to slower growing crises such as climate change.

Maybe the USA will introduce a one-off flood levy as was done across all of Australia, however, I think the US political system would make that difficult. Whatever way it's done, somehow the funds will be raised and those funds will come from taxpayers in the USA through increased tax or reduced services or greater debt.

I guess as long as they can't see where the money comes from they are okay with all that. Who knows how the mind of a right wing science denier works. What will they do next time, and the time after that? What will they want when the cost of worldwide weather disasters becomes so high that countries around the world cannot afford to pay for the cleanup? Think Sierra Leone, Mumbai, Bangladesh, Nepal - all happening at the same time as Harvey.

From the WUWT comments

Tom Halla wants more guns, less taxes and more freedom to rant. Anything as long as he doesn't have to contribute to cleaning up Houston.
September 2, 2017 at 4:57 pm
The New York Times reaction to almost anything is more taxes, more gun control, and restrictions on everyone’s speech but the legacy media.

Robert Sandor can't conceive that a carbon tax can be offset with tax cuts. That's how it was in Australia until Tony Abbott wrecked it. Polluters pay, to encourage the shift to renewables.
September 2, 2017 at 5:03 pm
A second step would be to put a price on carbon, perhaps through a carbon tax to pay for tax cuts
Ahh, a tax to pay for tax cuts. Brilliant! 

sean2829 needs to think more deeply about this comment of his:
September 2, 2017 at 5:44 pm
Demonized something then demand higher taxes to constrain the demon. That’s what it means to be progressive. 

noaaprogrammer is a bit thick, I'd say, and I doubt she works at NOAA:
September 2, 2017 at 5:45 pm
Climate change increases risks of war, instability, disease and hunger…
Climate Change for the Catastrophists’ religion is analogous to the Christians’ concept of sin — anything that’s bad is the result of Climate Change. 

Leo Smith just doesn't like paying taxes for what he uses. Is he really that wealthy, I wonder?
September 2, 2017 at 6:09 pm
Liberalism is a form of indentured slavery/ the mafia takes all your wages and uses them to cover the debts you owe them that never get less.
Giving you back about 30% of what you paid in taxes for ‘public services’ 


  1. Eliminate the $13.5 billion green subsidies Salon helpfully identified in 2016. The savings should make a good start towards the cleanup fund.

    1. Eric, your link pointed to an article about proposed cuts to climate research and weather watch, not to green subsidies. That included cuts to satellite monitoring.

      I guess some people think that if they can't see a hurricane coming then it won't hurt them.

    2. Why not eliminate all those fossil fuel industry subsidies? Oh sorry Eric, I forgot who you work for.

    3. $13.5 billion is less than a fortnight's subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. Eric Worral must surely be right now penning his righteous umbrage at how two weeks of free public money given to the oil and coal barons could be usefully diverted to the Hrvey victims.

    4. Sou I think Eric linked to proposed cuts to climate research and weather watch because he really does view them as green subsidies.

    5. Do you think Eric is that deluded, PG?

      (Rhetorical question.)

    6. Perhaps Mr Worrall should advocate taking funds from the pre-tax ($541bn*), or post tax ($4.9tn*), subsidies given to fossil fuels? *2013 figures

      I hope he responds so I can provide him with some educational reading material. :)

  2. "Who knows how the mind of a right wing science denier works."

    Plenty of nuts with a screw loose ...

  3. I think one of the stunning things about the comments is the incredible provincialism we see in from the US posters. It's as if it does not happen in the USA it does not exist. Most seem to have missed the monsoon floods in the Indian sub-continent and Sri Lanka.

    Of course, given the obsessive coverage of the Huston flood and almost silence about the massive floods, the deaths, and economic devastation in the Indian sub-continent in our media, perhaps I should not be too critical.


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