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Climate Change, Markets, and Marxism

The belief that climate change is a hoax is comforting to anyone who thinks that government must play no role in the economy. But combating climate change threatens neither prosperity nor private enterprise.

LONDON – Brazil’s new foreign minister, Ernesto Araújo, is on record as believing that climate change is a plot launched by “cultural Marxists” to stifle Western economies. These nefarious forces’ environmentalist “dogma has been used to justify increasing the regulatory power of states over the economy.”

Given the key role that Brazil has played in past climate-change debates, including in forging the 2015 Paris climate agreement, President-elect Jair Bolsonaro’s choice of Araújo must disturb anyone who believes that climate change threatens severe harm to human welfare. Coming on top of US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement, his appointment threatens progress toward a low-carbon economy.

Part of the response to such conspiracy theorists must be to keep making the scientific case that climate change is occurring and will cause major harm to middle-income countries such as Brazil (even more than to developed economies). But it is also important to convince people that combating climate change threatens neither prosperity nor private enterprise.

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