Tuesday, March 4, 2014

WSJ: "Warren Buffett, Climate-Change Denier"

Warren Buffett, Climate-Change Denier

By JAMES FREEMAN Updated March 4, 2014 8:06 a.m. ET


The billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway is on some kind of roll. Yesterday we told you about his warning on public pension funds in his annual letter to shareholders. Now, he's puncturing deeply-held liberal myths about global warming. Mr. Buffett tells CNBC that extreme weather events are not becoming more common, and that climate change is not altering his company's calculations when insuring against catastrophic weather events. "The public has the impression that because there's been so much talk about climate that events of the last 10 years from an insured standpoint and climate have been unusual," he said. "The answer is they haven't."

Many people believe that President Obama's continuing refusal to allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline is the biggest impediment to building needed energy infrastructure in the U.S. But as the oil industry increasingly relies on rail shipments—benefiting Berkshire Hathaway's BNSF among other railroads—the big bottleneck is in the lack of refining capacity. Thanks in large part to federal environmental regulation, the U.S. hasn't opened a major new refinery since the 1970s. Meanwhile, the U.S. continues its misguided ban on exports of crude oil. This combination of anti-market regulations—limiting the ability either to refine or to sell crude oil—has sparked a flurry of efforts to expand capacity at existing refineries, sometimes to process the oil just enough to avoid the ban on crude exports.

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