“I’m in New Orleans at a conference on Preparing the Gulf Coast for Extreme Weather. Its lead sponsor is a reinsurer, the Institute for Building and Home Safety is here, and there are lots of insurance people around. The preponderance of the audience, however, consists of environmentalists.“
Looks like one’s writing this piece too Eli.
None of the people I know here self-identify as conservatives. In this setting, a lot of what gets discussed–wetlands preservation, insurance, disaster resilience, building codes—makes a lot of sense to me. But one of the major top of discussion rubs me the wrong way: consistent talk by a vocal minority of the environmentalists here about carbon taxes/cap-and trade as a solution to unpleasantly high insurance rates or some sort of cure-all for coastal disasters.
Given that my colleagues and I founded R Street in response to what we felt were overheated climate-change related billboard campaign that our former employer ran, it’s probably sensible that I clarify my own stance on these issues. Here it is: I have no doubt that climate change is real, human-caused to a significant degree, and likely to have a number of negative consequences. As such, it’s worthwhile for insurers and reinsurers to incorporate climate change models into their ratemaking and for communities near coasts to plan in advance for climate change. That said, I’m against big government, high-tax, central-planning-oriented schemes to deal with climate change for the same reason I’m against using them to deal with almost any other significant problem. If there is to be a carbon tax, it should be narrowly focused on pollution rather than an excuse to expand government control over the economy or hand money to politically favored groups.