Policies Meant to Address Climate Change Can Worsen Human Suffering

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(Real Clear Wire) – Few people today would deny the negative impacts that pollution and climate change can have on human health and well-being. The challenge lies in tackling this given that there are almost always tradeoffs that must be addressed, yet people can fail to acknowledge them when they have a singular focus on a particular outcome that favors a particular industry.

Consider this hypothetical example: Which would you prefer provide electricity to your home? A polluting coal plant or solar panels made with slave labor? The answer should obviously be to reject slave labor, but what if you had to choose? Complicating this further, how does one weigh the human suffering caused by pollution from a coal plant compared to the violation of human rights for producing solar panels?

It’s time to move beyond “save the planet no matter what the cost” to “saving the planet is about protecting the people on it in both the short and long term.” If we don’t accept this reframing, policies meant to reduce human suffering by addressing climate change can actually make that suffering worse. In the end, voters own this issue. We cannot support politicians based on slogans. We must hold them accountable for the results of their policies, taking all relevant…

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