While sitting in a diner in Michigan last week, I happened across a Detroit News opinion piece in which Dr. Gary Wolfram of Hillsdale College asserted that the EPA’s proposed regulations on carbon dioxide pollution would be harmful because their costs would exceed any benefits.
The problem was Dr. Wolfram rejected that climate change is being caused by human activity – as shown by his dismissive qualifiers and implied by his association with the conservative Heartland Institute and Mackinac Center for Public Policy. As such, all of the projected costs of climate change were automatically given a zero value in his cost-benefit ledger. This decision deliberately ignored massive costs projected by other economists and researchers. For example, the National Conference of State Legislators estimated that agriculture in Michigan will see $11-$20 billion in annual losses due to climate change, and the shipping industry $4 billion each year.
Dr. Wolfram’s piece shows the danger of assessing a situation with a predetermined conclusion. If he had honestly considered the costs climate change will impose on Michigan residents – along with people around the world – he would be calling for aggressive action on climate change, not delivering an over-simplified defense of polluters.