The Idea That the U.S. Should Pay Climate Reparations Is Absurd

The Idea That the U.S. Should Pay Climate Reparations Is Absurd

By Dr. Thomas Patterson |

Last month U.N. members met once again to live the good life for a few days and push for the unlikely elimination of climate change. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change convened COP27 in the impressive Egyptian coastal city of Shark El-Sheik. 100 heads of state and 25,000 attendees (carbon footprint alert!) met to advocate for a “giant leap on climate ambition.”

To win “this battle for our lives,” round tables galore were held, coalitions were formed, roles for youth and even children in the crusade were created. Curiously, no actions were taken that would directly limit greenhouse gas emissions, possibly because the much-ballyhooed Paris Agreement had proved worthless, with almost no nations honoring their commitments.

The signal achievement of the meeting was instead a comprehensive agreement on “loss and damage,” which is essentially code for reparations. Rich nations are to pay trillions to poor nations to atone for the doleful effects of industrialization.

China and India, the world’s foremost polluters, took a powder. The U.S., the nation that has reduced pollution the most since 1990, was at the front of the line volunteering to bankroll the effort.

Americans have traditionally contributed generously to international aid efforts. Yet the notion of climate reparations is problematic.

It’s not clear, in spite of the persistent claims in the media, that weather events are related to emission-caused climate change. But we do know that the human cost of disasters is much smaller today than in years past.

In his book Unsettled, Stephen Koonin, formally in the Obama Energy Department, points out that weather related deaths were actually 80 times more frequent a century ago, before the technological improvements in infrastructure and mitigation provided by industrialization.

Much of the insistence on reparations is rooted in resentment over the colonial past. But take Pakistan, a leader in the reparations movement. Pakistan claims its devastating floods are the direct result of climate change.

North America and Europe have seen significant recent reforestation. But since Pakistan left colonial status in 1947, its forests have shrunk from 1/3 to 1/20 of its total area. Water and silt run straight off the mountains causing the massive flooding.

Britain, the former colonizer of Pakistan, has cut its carbon emissions in half since 1990, mostly by closing coal mines at great expense. Meanwhile Pakistan has over 100 operating coal mines and can still afford to develop nuclear weapons. But you can’t go wrong blaming the colonialists.

U.N. climate change proposals in the past were more modest. They mostly financed specific infrastructure programs in poor countries, often bypassing local governments. But COP27 was written in a U.N. now dominated by aggressive socialist dictatorships with appalling human rights records.

As a result, the COP27 plan would call for $1.3 trillion in annual retribution payments that would go not to the practical needs of poor countries, but to the kleptocratic governments which plague foreign aid efforts. The effect would be to further strengthen the petty tyrants and save them from forces of reform.

The notion that the West should pay damages for the Industrial Revolution is poppycock. It was the capitalist democracies that produced the ideas, the economic system, and the innovations that have produced previously unimaginable income growth around the world.

Deadly diseases have been eliminated, infant mortality reduced, and life expectancy extended. Hundreds of millions have been lifted out of hunger and poverty, and for this we should pay?

There’s one more problem with paying reparations: we don’t have the money. The U.S. is the deeply indebted con man living on borrowed funds who continues to make extravagant gifts to adoring friends. And why not? It’s not really his money anyway.

If the socialist autocrats demanding compensation were the least sincere about creating more prosperous nations on their own, the guiding principles are well known: free markets, secure property rights, low and fair taxes, independent courts, and reasonable regulation. But don’t expect the dictators to sacrifice their power and privileges any time soon.

“Loss and damage,” is based on feel-good morality, false history, and imaginary economics. It would do nothing to improve the environment of our planet. We can in good conscience just say no.

Dr. Thomas Patterson, former Chairman of the Goldwater Institute, is a retired emergency physician. He served as an Arizona State senator for 10 years in the 1990s, and as Majority Leader from 93-96. He is the author of Arizona’s original charter schools bill.

The Success of Props 129 and 132 Is a Positive Step for the Future of Arizona

The Success of Props 129 and 132 Is a Positive Step for the Future of Arizona

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

Not every outcome of November’s frustrating and poorly run election was a disaster. While Maricopa County certainly dropped the ball, and we await the results of any lawsuits and investigations, voters passed some important initiative reforms.

One of those came from Proposition 129, which earned 55 percent of the vote. This measure amends the Arizona Constitution to limit ballot initiatives to a single subject. It also requires the subject to be included in the title of the measure.

The passing of Prop 129 is critical because for years, out-of-state special interest groups have made it a habit to shove multiple provisions on many different subjects into their ballot initiatives. That would often lead to confusion for voters who didn’t always understand what exactly they were voting for or against. And it would put voters in the difficult position to vote on the entirety of an initiative even though they may support some parts of it and oppose others. Now, with the single subject rule, ballot initiatives will have the same requirement for bills to pass the state legislature. And voters will gain some much-needed clarity when they cast their vote.

But Prop 129 wasn’t the only important initiative reform to pass in this November’s election…


Maricopa County’s Only ‘Remarkable Effort’ Was to Disenfranchise Voters

Maricopa County’s Only ‘Remarkable Effort’ Was to Disenfranchise Voters

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

Maricopa County dropped the ball. They botched the election, and there is simply no way for politicians to gaslight their way out of it. After years of fearmongering from the media and the left that election integrity measures would suppress and disenfranchise voters, it turns out no one suppresses and disenfranchises voters quite like politicians and bureaucrats in Maricopa County.

Rather than taking accountability for their failures, they have rubbed their incompetence in the faces of frustrated voters, smugly downplaying their failure and patting themselves on the back, asserting that they made a “remarkable effort.”

All eyes were on this election. Everyone knew it would be contentious, that key races would be close, and that record levels of Republican voters would show up to vote in-person on election day. Given this, one would think election officials would go above and beyond to ensure every minute detail was ironed out so that the election process was beyond reproach.

Instead, within minutes of polls opening at 6 am, reports were coming in that tabulators were not accepting ballots… 


ESG Investing Is a Nonstarter, But We Keep Getting Pushed Into It

ESG Investing Is a Nonstarter, But We Keep Getting Pushed Into It

By Dr. Thomas Patterson |

The world of finance is turning bullish on ESG, an investment strategy directing funds to corporations with woke environmental, social, and governance policies. Trillions of dollars have already flowed into ESG funds, projected to hit $50 trillion in two years.

ESG boosters claim the funds enable investors to do well by doing good. You can make good money while simultaneously bettering the world.

Wish it were so. In fact, ESG funds do neither.

Investing goals that compete with shareholder profitability have predictable results. A recent NYU study compared investment results created by firms with high versus low ESG scores, which are generated by professional ratings agencies. Over the past five years, high ESG funds have returned 6.3% compared with 8.9% for others. Over time, that’s a chunk of change.

Thus, Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron warned his state’s pension fund managers to avoid funds that “put ancillary interests before investment returns,” which would “violate statutory and contractual fiduciary duties” to the pensioners depending on them. Seniors deserve better than to have their retirements hijacked by an ideology they might not share.

The basic tenants of ESG are radical environmental policy (primarily the elimination of fossil fuels), woke social policies promoted by the company, and corporate governance that replaces merit with preferences based on race or gender.

The driving forces behind the growth of ESG are three very powerful financial firms. BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street are, between them, the largest shareholders in 80% of the companies in the S&P 500. Their financial heft gives them the ability to force companies to implement ESG, making them, in effect, upstream controllers of these companies.

ESG is based on the foundational principle of progressivism—the notion that the most beneficial governance comes from giving experts, the best and the brightest, control over our lives. Personal freedoms and democratic processes must yield to a governing elite that knows best.

No goal is pursued more tenaciously than the elimination of carbon-based fuels. Consumers must be pushed into using renewables, principally by regulating fossil fuels into being scarce and expensive.

Green New Dealers may be thrilled to have the backing of the ESG behemoths, but the problem is that Europe is already experiencing a full-blown energy crisis, with America not far behind. For a year now, a post-COVID demand surge, combined with nuclear plant closures worldwide, long-standing over-investment in impractical renewables, and a global drop of over 50% in oil and gas investment since 2014, have combined to put serious pressure on economies worldwide.

Aluminum smelters, glass factories, and other EU manufacturers have had to shutter plants for lack of affordable energy. In the UK, the number of people behind on their energy bills ballooned from 3 million to 11 million earlier this year. Even in relatively secure Germany, there is deep concern over looming shortages of heating oil this winter after being shut off by Russia.

The hard fact is that, in our current state of technology, fossil fuels are the mainstay economic resource, whether we like it or not. We need more oil, natural gas, and nuclear energy, not less.

The hard-core environmental left, now joined by ESG interests, has worked itself into a lather insisting we can only avoid global catastrophe by achieving zero carbon emissions by 2050. Environmental alarmists achieve about the same accuracy with their predictions as the apocalyptic preachers of yesteryear. But even in the early stages of the project, it’s becoming obvious that it simply can’t be done.

Even if eliminating all emissions of carbon would significantly reduce atmospheric temperatures, and even if humans are the main villains of global warming, and even if we could somehow convince China and India to not sabotage the effort, it doesn’t matter. It’s neither economically nor politically possible to deprive humankind of the benefits of carbon fuels.

The financial titans pushing ESG are blowing an opportunity to do some real good. We need respected leaders who can stand up to the hysteria and exaggerations to propose practical, feasible solutions that would protect humanity from the worst effects of atmospheric warming.

Instead, the self-appointed experts are using other peoples’ trillions to push us down the road to dystopian government and perpetual poverty.

Dr. Thomas Patterson, former Chairman of the Goldwater Institute, is a retired emergency physician. He served as an Arizona State senator for 10 years in the 1990s, and as Majority Leader from 93-96. He is the author of Arizona’s original charter schools bill.

Schools Need to Define Clear Boundaries for Presenting Social and Political Ideologies in Classrooms

Schools Need to Define Clear Boundaries for Presenting Social and Political Ideologies in Classrooms

By Kurt Rohrs |

Recently, Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) released an initiative entitled “Portrait of a Learner.” Not only does it seem to be focused primarily on social values that the district wants to promote to its students, but it’s similar to ones adopted by several other local school districts.

Through “Portrait of a Learner,” CUSD appears to be moving beyond the more traditional and universally accepted “Character Counts,”  which emphasized the social values of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. While this new initiative contains some overlap with what has been promoted in the past, it seeks to advance more progressive values of adaptability, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, empathy, and global citizenship.

Clearly these are social values, but did you notice something? There is little reference to academic achievement or job skills training. In addition, there is no significant emphasis on practical hard skills for students to obtain, which would be far more useful for them in their careers after they leave school.

Most of all, “Portrait of a Learner” does not appear to recognize or acknowledge that the upbringing of children is reserved to parents in the home and is protected by Arizona state law (ARS 1-601 and ARS 1-602). Let’s look at one of the values from this new initiative as an example.

Globalism as a Political Ideology

The concept of “Global Citizenship” or “Globalism” has more far-reaching implications than what has been advanced in the CUSD initiative. It typically stands opposed to “American Idealism,” “American Exceptionalism,” or similar more nation-centered ideologies.

American Idealism is the belief that American ideals are inherently superior to those of other societies and states. It is sometimes referred to as “America First” policy in response to challenges from other global competitors in their efforts to dominate the world.

Globalism denies this and fosters an “open borders” policy that allows people, information, and goods to cross national borders unrestricted. It also promotes international organizations such as the European Union, the United Nations, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be the primary ruling bodies for policy instead of our own government.

Is this really what we should be teaching in American schools?

Controversial political issues like this should not be presented in classrooms as established doctrine, especially without clearly defined boundaries. But CUSD moved forward with it anyway.

When “Education” Becomes “Dogma”

Dogma is a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true and not to be denied or disputed. When schools teach ideas like “Globalism” as dogma, it very easily leads to “indoctrination” where students are taught to accept a set of beliefs uncritically. This should be of great concern to parents and the rest of the community.

That’s why several questions about “Portrait of a Learner” and similar programs need to be examined more closely.

  • If controversial ideologies are being presented in schools, is it done so in a fair and balanced way that examines multiple sides of a particular issue? Is equal weight given to differing positions?
  • How does the “critical thinking” part of the “Portrait of a Learner” initiative get applied?
  • Are any dissenting or opposing positions encouraged or even allowed?
  • What is age appropriate for younger students?
  • Do parents get to review and approve the social and political lessons presented to their children?
  • What happens when parents object to controversial social and political positions being advanced in classrooms?

District policy needs to be more cognizant of the ideological controversies being presented in curriculum and seek to avoid taking positions on particular issues. There also needs to well-defined boundaries as to what is presented and how it is presented in classrooms. Finally, all lessons should be objective and unbiased. That’s the only way to ensure that students get a proper education founded on critical analysis and a better understanding of the sources, factual history, and future implications of certain social and political ideologies.

Kurt Rohrs is currently the leading the race for the Chandler Unified School District Governing Board. You can find out more about his campaign here.