Apparently, the Koch Brothers believe in climate change when the market accepts it. To explain, Reason.com’s Hit & Run blog ran an article accepting climate change’s validity on 5 March 2019.
Importantly, the blog post’s headline states “The Market Says Climate Change Is Happening.” Moreover, a subhead states: “When money is on the line, it is hard to find parties willing to bet against the scientific consensus on climate change.”
Notably, the Reason Foundation finances Reason.com and Reason Magazine, SourceWatch claims. Specifically, the Koch Family Foundations partially finance the Reason Foundation. In addition, David Koch serves as a trustee at the Reason Foundation.
Hence, a Koch-funded entity is publicly admitting climate change is real. The blog entry marks an about-face because the Koch brothers have been funding climate change denial for many years, The New Yorker claims.
Why the Koch Brothers believe in climate change
The Koch Brothers now believe in climate change because their ideology tells them to.
To explain, the Koch Brothers are free-market fundamentalists. Thus, they believe the market is the most efficient and accurate means of testing information and determining facts. Hence, the Koch Brothers must accept climate change when Mr. Market says it is real.
Notably, the Hit & Run blog refers to an academic paper called Market Expectations about Climate Change. In the paper, authors Wolfram Schlenker and Charles Taylor conclude expectations about climate change are influencing the trading of futures contracts at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Mr. Market Believes in Climate Change
In fact, Schlenker and Taylor write, “when money is at stake, agents are accurately anticipating warming trends in line with the scientific consensus of climate models.” In detail, Schlenker is an agricultural and resource economist at Columbia University. Meanwhile, Taylor is a sustainable development researcher.
Nor is the paper the only evidence, Mr. Market believes in climate change. For example, stock in Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) which manufactures battery packs, solar panels, and electric vehicles traded at $280.45 a share on 8 March 2018. Tesla could be a bet on climate change’s reality because it manufactures infrastructure products that can operate without fossil fuels.
In addition, climate change is destroying some publicly-traded insurance companies. In fact, one insurer: Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited (NYSE: AHL) sold itself to Apollo Global Management (NYSE: APO) to avoid bankruptcy last year. Importantly, observers think property insurance claims from climate change caused California fires nearly bankrupted Aspen.
Mr. Market likes Climate Change
Moreover, oil-giant Exxon-Mobil (NYSE: XOM) is trying to cash in on climate change by promoting a carbon tax, Vox reports. To explain, a carbon tax is a high-tax on oil and other fossil fuels.
The idea is a high-tax will discourage fossil fuel use; however, such a tax could help Exxon-Mobil make more money. To clarify, governments will make more money from oil with a carbon tax which will encourage them to promote oil use. Hence, Exxon-Mobil gets a larger market for its oil.
Thus, the market accepts the validity of climate change and is acting accordingly. Under those circumstances, the Koch Brothers and their minions at Reason must accept climate change.
The Koch Brothers believe in Climate Change will Conservatives join them?
Don’t expect conservatives to change their mind on global warming because the Koch Brothers believe in climate change.
For all their faults, the Charles and David Koch are reasonable, ethical, thoughtful, and intelligent men. Moreover, the Koch Brothers are libertarians who accept science.
Many conservatives, however, are religious and ideological fundamentalists who reject anything that runs counter to their beliefs. For example, many Evangelicals reject evolution and the Big Bang despite all the evidence supporting those hypotheses.
Thus, my prediction is conservative ideologues who reject scientific evidence will reject market evidence. Instead, of changing their minds, many climate change deniers will abandon capitalism to preserve their comfortable world view.
Therefore, free market fundamentalists could view climate change deniers as a threat to their beliefs. In particular, the Kochs could see climate change deniers as ignorant anti-market fanatics and a threat to capitalism.
Will Conservatives Go to war with each other over climate change?
Therefore, the next big battle in conservatism and libertarianism is between educated conservatives; like the Koch Brothers who accept modern science and economics, and fundamentalists who reject all modernity.
I wonder what side, pragmatic political opportunists like President Donald J. Trump (R-New York) will take in that battle. Tellingly, Trump admits he believes in climate change but refuses to do anything about it. Hence, the President is hedging his bets by refusing to take sides.
In addition, expect Big Business and the economic elite to turn on climate change deniers because Mr. Market believes in global warming. Notably, many wealthy climate change deniers will become the fiercest advocates of the oppression of poor global warming naysayers.
Hence, climate change could be the issue that blows what is left of America’s conservative coalition apart. Therefore, modern-American conservatism could be among the first casualties of climate change.