A recent article in the Washington Post exposes once again what climate change skeptics already know: the green movement is designed to lower living standards, not just make living more carbon efficient.
“One of President Obama’s goals in his State of the Union address was to make American homes twice as energy-efficient by 2030,” writes Brad Plumer for the Washington Post today. “But would that actually curtail overall energy use and reduce U.S. carbon emissions? That’s a trickier question.”
“A second way to look at this is that as Americans get richer, we’re inevitably going to want bigger homes and purchase more gadgets, no matter what,” reports Plumer. “Improvements in energy efficiency can ensure that our energy needs don’t explode as we get wealthier. That seems to be happening in the United States.”
“Americans today have larger homes and more appliances while using roughly the same amount of energy as they used to” (emphasis added). Another aspect is the “rebound effect,” Plumer explains: “As televisions and refrigerators become more energy-efficient — thanks in part to government standards — they become cheaper to operate, and Americans use more of them. If it doesn’t cost much to run an air conditioner, why not install two of them? Or three?”
Thus, he concludes, to fight climate change one must do more than be efficient. After all, if we are more energy efficient, then we can buy more stuff, right? “Long story short: Higher energy efficiency is a boon for consumer welfare,” writes Plumer. “[…] What’s more, boosting energy productivity will almost certainly be necessary for the United States to cut its carbon emissions and tackle climate change. But efficiency by itself likely won’t be sufficient” (emphasis added).
Instead, we should be able to buy less stuff in the name of climate change; this is why people often argue that climate change regulation is a method contrived to decrease wealth. Or, as Florida Senator Marco Rubio said today, climate change regulation will “devastate” the economy.