Koch network loves to downplay the valuable benefits of climate action (while playing up the costs)

  • Published on October 1st, 2021

A coalition of Koch and other industry-funded groups recently submitted a comment on the EPA’s proposed automotive greenhouse gas emission standards, written by CEI’s Marlow Lewis and Patrick Michaels, along with Heritage Foundation’s Kevin Dayaratna.

“KochCash.org created The Kochtopus as an interactive map of the money, structure, and scale of the Kochs’ influence network, and how Koch Cash is damaging democracy. Follow the chains of influence to learn more on how the Koch Brothers have corrupted our democratic process.”

By Climate Denier Roundup

Given the millions of dollars in fossil fuel industry funding behind the 11 groups whose logos grace the top of the comment pdf, you’d think they could afford someone to format it a little better. The FreedomWorks logo is still on the white-and-grey-grid of a “transparent” image background, and a hastily-screenshotted LifePowered logo has stray gray bars along the sides.

The quality of the content does not improve much from there, as the professional deniers do their best to “challenge the plausibility of the EPA’s climate benefit estimates” of $91 billion dollars resulting from cleaner cars.

Their first argument is one of ignorance, that any calculation of how much harm a ton of carbon dioxide does “is too speculative and assumption-driven to inform policy decisions.”

Opponents of environmental action argued back in the ‘80s that nothing could be done without a cost-benefit analysis. But now that evidence is clear that policies to address climate and other environmental problems provide far more benefits than they do costs, all of a sudden they say cost-benefit analyses can’t be trusted!

“Indeed,” the groups wrote, “[social cost of carbon] estimates are easily manipulated for political purposes.”

They then go on to illustrate exactly how, by making a bunch of ridiculous assumptions (like that EPA should ignore global benefits of emissions reductions because the costs are domestic in a transparent bid to deny the global nature of global warming).

They also claim that the “agricultural and ecological benefits of carbon dioxide” are ignored, even though they’re not. (Those benefits are just tiny compared to the costs!)

So yes, if you manipulate the calculations that go into the social cost of carbon for political purposes, like by pretending that the climate isn’t actually very sensitive to carbon dioxide, like they do, you can come up with whatever answer you want!

And the answer that a coalition of groups funded by fossil fuel polluters wants is that actually carbon pollution is a good thing, so sure enough, that’s what they claim!

Fortunately, now that the fossil fuel industry’s lobbyists aren’t in charge of the EPA any more, odds are slim this sort of stupidity will find any traction. But that’s not going to stop the Koch network from spinning its wheels!

(Originally appeared at DailyKos)

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