The Climate Noose: Business, Net Zero, and the IPCC's Anti-Capitalism

Summary of Study

Bottom Line: The only way to achieve the emission reduction goals put forth under the 2015 Paris Agreement is to shutdown the global economy. The COVID-19 pandemic is now showing the world just how much of a disaster that would be. While COVID-19 is a temporary calamity and the global economy will eventually recover, the decarbonization many are now demanding permits no let up; it goes on year after year, decade after decade. Further, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 1.5°C budget is an arbitrary target that would come at a huge cost to human welfare. Such a goal of “net zero” by 2050 is an attack on capitalism and the world’s poor.

The IPCC’s treatment of climate science is full of holes and is far from being a model of scientific objectivity. The IPCC says that decarbonization of the global economy is needed to prevent global temperatures rising by more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Yet, the 1.5°C target was based on a PR soundbite, not reason or analysis.

Further, the ongoing surge in non-Western emissions will doom the IPCC goal of “net zero,” especially as China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has proven itself a bad-faith actor. Developing countries have no intention of reducing economic growth in the name of reducing emissions.

In addition, business is now on the frontline of the climate wars, with the world’s financial sector being weaponized like never before. Corporations are being told their business strategies must align with the goals of the Paris Agreement. This is setting up businesses to act like charities that just happen to make a profit.

This is all a profound misunderstanding of how capitalism works. Individual businesses do not set out to raise living standards; it is the ceaseless effect of competition and the imperative to innovate that have transformed mankind’s material condition. Tying corporations in stakeholder fetters and climate shaming them to act against their shareholders’ interest threatens to drain the lifeforce out of capitalism.

The IPCC now wants to replace free-market capitalism with central planning on a global scale to bring about top-down transformations of the energy, industrial, transportation, construction, land use and agricultural sectors. The IPCC even concedes that this is likely to mean higher food and energy prices, hitting the poorest hardest.

When viewed in this light, it becomes clear that advocates of 1.5°C and net zero are behaving like fanatics, with little or no regard for the welfare of the poor and the wider interests of humanity.

 

Read the full study here. 

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Findings: 

  • The IPCC's 1.5°C budget for global temperature increase by 2050 is arbitrary and based on faulty science.
  • COVID-19 is showing that reaching such a goal is contingent on economic destruction.
  • The IPCC therefore seeks central planning on a global scale to ensure much lower emissions. 
  • Net-zero goals are an attack on capitalism and would hit the most vulnerable hardest. 

Read the full study here