Sunday, June 22, 2014

Henry "Climatologist" Paulson Hates Warm Weather

Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is out with an op-ed at NYT calling for a carbon tax. Key snippets:
There is a time for weighing evidence and a time for acting. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my work in finance, government and conservation, it is to act before problems become too big to manage.

For too many years, we failed to rein in the excesses building up in the nation’s financial markets. When the credit bubble burst in 2008, the damage was devastating. Millions suffered. Many still do.

We’re making the same mistake today with climate change. We’re staring down a climate bubble that poses enormous risks to both our environment and economy. The warning signs are clear and growing more urgent as the risks go unchecked.

This is a crisis we can’t afford to ignore. I feel as if I’m watching as we fly in slow motion on a collision course toward a giant mountain. We can see the crash coming, and yet we’re sitting on our hands rather than altering course...

I was secretary of the Treasury when the credit bubble burst, so I think it’s fair to say that I know a little bit about risk, assessing outcomes and problem-solving. Looking back at the dark days of the financial crisis in 2008, it is easy to see the similarities between the financial crisis and the climate challenge we now face....

[RW Note: Oh yeah, neither he nor his advisers saw the crisis coming, while I was able to call it in real time (SEE: The Fed Flunks) applying Austrian School Business Cycle Theory. I specifically asked the Deputy Treasury Secretary for economics, during the Paulson period at the Treasury, if he knew what happened to money supply growth in the summer of 2008 as the crisis was developing. He had no clue.]

It is true that there is uncertainty about the timing and magnitude of these risks and many others. But those who claim the science is unsettled or action is too costly are simply trying to ignore the problem. We must see the bigger picture.

The nature of a crisis is its unpredictability. And as we all witnessed during the financial crisis, a chain reaction of cascading failures ensued from one intertwined part of the system to the next. It’s easy to see a single part in motion. It’s not so easy to calculate the resulting domino effect. That sort of contagion nearly took down the global financial system.

With that experience indelibly affecting my perspective, viewing climate change in terms of risk assessment and risk management makes clear to me that taking a cautiously conservative stance — that is, waiting for more information before acting — is actually taking a very radical risk. We’ll never know enough to resolve all of the uncertainties. But we know enough to recognize that we must act now.

[RW Note 2: SEE David  Stockman's book The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America] for a detailed and important dissection of Paulson's absurd response to the 2008 financial crisis.]

Farseeing business leaders are already involved in this issue. It’s time for more to weigh in. To add reliable financial data to the science, I’ve joined with the former mayor of New York City, Michael R. Bloomberg, and the retired hedge fund manager Tom Steyer on an economic analysis of the costs of inaction across key regions and economic sectors. Our goal for the Risky Business project — starting with a new study that will be released this week — is to influence business and investor decision making worldwide...

We can debate the appropriate pricing and policy design and how to use the money generated. But a price on carbon would change the behavior of both individuals and businesses. At the same time, all fossil fuel — and renewable energy — subsidies should be phased out.


  1. I don't get it: don't he and his cronies have enough wealth? Do they really need to squeeze every last penny out of us? It's beginning to look pathological.

  2. It is definitely pathological. At best these people are mentally handicapped, at worst psychopathic. Paulson's idea of risk management is to use government to force taxpayers to take the risk while he and his crony's reap the profits. A monumental lack of concern for human life other than his own.

  3. Sick man, sick mind, sick policy.

  4. It's not enough for them to have more than they could ever use, everyone else has to have nothing.

    CO2 driven global warming/climate change may end up being the greatest fraud yet. (yes, a fraud, the data has been "corrected" to match theory)