Climate change blame

Professor of Economics John Miller calls out the editors of The Wall Street Journal for overlooking the United States’ role in affecting climate change in an article published in the November/December 2014 issue of Dollars & Sense.

Professor John Miller
Miller points to an opinion piece published by the WSJ on September 22 in which the editors question the value of a climate change summit when some of the world’s biggest carbon emitters—such as China and India—fail to attend.

“[Over the last decade, China’s carbon emissions have] jumped by more than the rest of the world combined and [China] is responsible for 24.8 percent of emissions over the last five years. Over the same period, developing nations accounted for 57.5 percent,” WSJ editors wrote in the piece. “[…] No matter U.S. exertions to save the planet from atmospheric carbon, the international result will be more or less the same.”

Miller argues that the editors all but ignored historical data, choosing to focus on emission trends in 2013 rather than look at the way industrialized countries have been contributing to the problem for well over a century—and reaping the economic rewards in the process.

“Without a dramatic slowing of global economic growth—made possible by massive redistribution that addresses the unequal distribution of benefits from carbon emissions—or a fundamental transformation of technology far beyond the reductions that we have witnessed to date, we will surely soon hit up against the limited capacity of the earth to absorb our waste,” Miller writes.

Miller, whose research interests include sweatshops, labor standards and poverty alleviation, has been a previous contributor to Dollars & Sense.