Selecting an Objective, Determines Priorities

The UNFCCC COP 21 meeting taking place in Paris, deserves greater scrutiny by Americans, and a discussion among Americans about the objectives being established by President Obama.

A critical component of any strategy is to establish an objective.

Once the objective is established, priorities will follow.

For example:

If the objective is to win a baseball game, the priorities would be to select players:

  1. Who have strong batting averages
  2. Who can field the ball flawlessly
  3. Who are good base runners

The objective of winning a baseball game would automatically preclude some attributes from being a priority.

For example, a good manager of a baseball team would not establish the following as priorities.

  • Speaking english
  • Being right handed

Establishing an environmental objective also determines priorities.

If the objective is to eliminate CO2 emissions, the priorities would be:

  1. Stop the use of fuels that emit CO2
  2. Use alternatives such as wind and solar
  3. Reduce the amount of energy that’s consumed

Items precluded from being a priority, include:

  • Cost of energy
  • Availability of energy
  • Standard of living

An objective to cut CO2 emissions results in policies that ignore or discount other factors, such as cost, availability of energy or any negative effects on people.

But, an objective to cut CO2 emissions has consequences.

If cost is not a priority, it results in inefficient use of resources. When resources are used inefficiently, it results in reduced economic output and a lower standard of living, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP).

COP 21 CMP 11 Emblem
COP 21 CMP 11 Emblem

For example, when the government uses taxes to take money from families, where the taxes are used to subsidize inefficient wind and solar installations, it deprives families the ability to buy goods or services, or save for their retirement.

It lowers the families standard of living.

  • Families with less money will have less to spend on staying healthy, such as joining a health club.
  • Families may have wanted to send their son or daughter to an expensive highly rated university, but their wish is of no importance if the objective is to cut CO2 emissions.

Individual preferences are ignored for the good of the people, a mantra used all too frequently during the twentieth century, and policies are established to discourage certain activities. For example:

  • To discourage using SUVs for commuting, preferences are given to mass transit and providing subsidies for small hybrids. Instead of using highway taxes for maintaining roads, they are used for building mass transit. Hybrids and BEVs are given preference by allowing them to use HOV lanes.
  • The use of air conditioning is penalized during mid-afternoon peak periods by establishing extremely high time-of-use pricing for electricity.
  • Driving for pleasure is discouraged by establishing high gasoline taxes.

While the above comments merely illustrate instances where people are ignored, they lead to an important question.

Shouldn’t we know, with some degree of certainty, that CO2 emissions are a threat before establishing an objective that has many negative consequences for Americans?

While some say the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has established that a threat exists, i.e., the science is settled, the fact is:

The IPCC has never investigated whether there are other alternatives for the cause of global warming.

There is mounting evidence that CO2 emissions are only a small, perhaps tiny, factor in global warming. Over 31,000 scientists and engineers have signed a petition saying that CO2 is not the primary cause of global warming. Scientists who have been involved with the IPCC have refuted the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers, which is largely written by politicians, and not scientists.

Those who believe CO2 is the culprit behind global warming should be glad to enter into a debate. If they are certain they are right, and that the facts are on their side, why would they not enter into a debate?

Before Americans commit to policies that have a profound affect on their lives, shouldn’t they be entitled to a debate, as well as fair and balanced coverage by the media?


Watch for my new book, which will be available in January.


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2 Replies to “Selecting an Objective, Determines Priorities”

  1. In my youth I enjoyed playing ball. I ended up being a catcher for most of my playing days. I loved being able to work with the pitcher(s) in real time to find the best pitch to get the best hitters out.

    Your discussion on priorities is SPOT ON!