Monday, July 13, 2009

"Cap & trade" as a civil war re-enactment

A reader writes that it is just another scheme to favour the rich and privileged:

Cap-and-trade, i.e., buying "carbon off-sets" (such as what Al Gore does to keep his big mansion air-conditioned), looks a lot like the old, U.S. Civil War-era practice of rich families buying their sons' way out of the draft. If you had the money and the inclination back then, you could pay someone else (a poorer person, usually, someone from the "less advantaged" classes) to take you place among the conscripts and stop the bullet with your name on it.

Buying your way out of conscription was a form of big fish eating little fish, the ultimate kick-the-cat scenario. No one mentions that.

Right now everyone is filled with the noble purpose of reducing carbon emissions, and trading green for carbon privileges, which strikes the proponents of C&T as a grand idea. It's fundamentally class- and wealth-based, just as Civil War draft avoidance was.

Gore: U.S. Climate Bill Will Help Bring About 'Global Governance'

Do you fancy giving a billion Muslims a say in your government?

Former Vice President Al Gore declared that the Congressional climate bill will help bring about “global governance.” “I bring you good news from the U.S., “Gore said on July 7, 2009 in Oxford at the Smith School World Forum on Enterprise and the Environment, sponsored by UK Times. “Just two weeks ago, the House of Representatives passed the Waxman-Markey climate bill,” Gore said, noting it was “very much a step in the right direction.”

Gore touted the climate bill, claiming it “will dramatically increase the prospects for success” in combating what he sees as the “crisis” of man-made global warming. “But it is the awareness itself that will drive the change and one of the ways it will drive the change is through global governance and global agreements.”

Gore's call for “global governance” echoes former French President Jacques Chirac's call in 2000. On November 20, 2000, then French President Chirac said during a speech at The Hague that the UN's Kyoto Protocol represented "the first component of an authentic global governance." “For the first time, humanity is instituting a genuine instrument of global governance,” Chirac explained. “From the very earliest age, we should make environmental awareness a major theme of education and a major theme of political debate, until respect for the environment comes to be as fundamental as safeguarding our rights and freedoms. By acting together, by building this unprecedented instrument, the first component of an authentic global governance, we are working for dialogue and peace,” Chirac added.

Former EU Environment Minister Margot Wallstrom said, "Kyoto is about the economy, about leveling the playing field for big businesses worldwide." Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper once dismissed UN's Kyoto Protocol as a “socialist scheme.”

In addition, calls for a global carbon tax have been urged at recent UN global warming conferences. In December 2007, the UN climate conference in Bali, urged the adoption of a global carbon tax that would represent “a global burden sharing system, fair, with solidarity, and legally binding to all nations. “Finally someone will pay for these [climate related] costs,” Othmar Schwank, a global tax advocate, said at the 2007 UN conference after a panel titled “A Global CO2 Tax.” Schwank noted that wealthy nations like the U.S. would bear the biggest burden based on the “polluters pay principle.” The U.S. and other wealthy nations need to “contribute significantly more to this global fund,” Schwank explained. He also added, “It is very essential to tax coal.” ...

The environmental group Friends of the Earth advocated the transfer of money from rich to poor nations during the 2007 UN climate conference. "A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources,” said Emma Brindal, a climate justice campaigner coordinator for Friends of the Earth.


It's Getting Cold Out There

No wonder skeptics consider the left's belief in man-made global warming as akin to a fad religion -- last week in Italy, G8 leaders pledged to not allow the Earth's temperature to rise more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. For its next act, the G8 can part the Red Sea. The worst part is: These are the brainy swells who think of themselves as -- all bow -- Men of Science.

The funny part is: G8 leaders can't even decide the year from which emissions must be reduced. 1990? 2005? "This question is a mystery for everyone," an aide to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said.

And while President Obama led the charge for the G8 nations to agree to an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in industrial nations by 2050, the same Russian aide dissed the standard as "likely unattainable."

No worries, the language was non-binding. Global-warming believers say that they are all about science, but their emphasis is not on results so much as declarations of belief. Faith. Mystery. Promises to engage in pious acts. Global warming is a religion. While Obama was in Italy preaching big cuts in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, he was losing some of his flock in Washington. The House may have passed the 1,200-page cap-and-trade bill largely unread, but Senate Democrats are combing the fine print and not liking what they see. As Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said of the bill, "We need to be a leader in the world but we don't want to be a sucker."

Republicans who oppose the legislation are positively gleeful. For some issues, it can be more fun being part of the opposition, as Democrats are discovering. During the last administration, Senate Dems could slam President George W. Bush for not supporting the 1997 Kyoto global-warming treaty, secure in the knowledge that they would never have to vote yea or nay on a treaty that they knew could be poison for the coal industry and family checkbooks. That's why the Senate in 1997 voted 95-0 against any global-warming treaty that exempted developing nations like China. Now China wants none of the G8's goal for it to halve its greenhouse gases -- and the Dems are stuck with a leader who wants to save the planet.

When the GOP was in the White House, Democrats got to play scientific martyrs. James Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, would go running to the New York Times or Washington Post with the lament that the Bushies were trying to muzzle his pro-global-warming science. No matter how many times he appeared on TV, the stories kept reporting on allegations that Bush was censoring science.

Now GOP senators have their own Hansen: Alan Carlin of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Be it noted, Carlin is not a scientist. He's an MIT-trained economist, albeit with a degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology, who has worked as an analyst at the EPA since 1974. In March, he co-wrote a 98-page paper that began, "We have become increasingly concerned that EPA and many other agencies and countries have paid too little attention to the science of global warming." He fears politics are steering what should be scientific research.

The analysis noted that global temperatures have declined over the last 11 years while carbon emissions have increased. It cited a 2009 paper that found "solar variability" may have had more to do with any warming over the last few decades than rising greenhouse gas levels. Carlin also wondered why the EPA bought into global-warming doom scenarios, when, despite increased greenhouse gas levels, U.S. crop yields are up, air quality is improved and Americans are living longer.

Did the EPA welcome a dissenting voice? Au contraire. According to e-mails released last month by Sam Kazman, general counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank, Carlin's supervisor told him not to "have any direct communication" with anyone in-house or elsewhere on the issue. And: "I don't want you to spend any additional EPA time on climate change." Only later, Carlin told me, did the EPA grant him permission to post the paper on his personal website and talk to the media.

Kazman argues that the EPA's failure to post Carlin's paper officially violates court rulings that require agencies to disclose discarded evidence when making rules. And: "The bigger irony is that this administration has been touting its commitment to scientific integrity and agency transparency."

Now, you can argue that the Obama administration simply wanted to present a clear message on a policy on which it already had settled. But why is it muzzling science when Bush did it, but not worthy of a New York Times story when Obama does it? Don't say that Obama has science on his side. As the Carlin paper noted, "We do not believe that science is writing a description of the world or the opinions of world authorities on a particular subject ... The question in our view is not what someone believes, but how what he or she believes corresponds with real world data."

The global-warming community's reaction to real-world data -- and the lack of warming in this century -- has been to remain true believers. Except now they call it "climate change."


G8 leaders - 'arrogant' arbiters of global thermostat

A leading skeptic of "manmade global warming" says Group of Eight leaders have embraced a new movement he calls "climate astrology."

President Obama and other Group of 8 leaders promised Wednesday they would keep temperatures from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 Celsius) above average levels of more than a century ago. They also agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

Marc Morano, executive editor of, says it is ridiculous for the G8 leaders to believe they have the power to turn up or down the earth's thermostat. "This is the height of arrogance," he exclaims. "This is the madness of our age that world leaders, including our own president, can go up there with a straight face and act as though they can control the earth's thermostat -- act as though they control nature."

Morano compares the G8 leaders' mindset to a Third World mentality. "In Uganda, they're blaming drought and disease on angry gods," he notes, "and people are saying, 'Oh, if only they knew. They need to be educated [and told that] it's manmade climate change.' "Well, who actually needs to be educated here?," Morano asks. "Is it the Ugandans who blame bad weather on angry gods -- or is it Western leaders who actually think they can control the climate?"

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has said that science tells him for certain what the earth will be like 100 years from now -- which leads Morano to ask: "At what point should Secretary Chu be on a boardwalk with a full deck of tarot cards dispensing this?"


BBC standards are falling - and bosses are too scared to do anything about it

Peter Sissons, the veteran newsreader who announced his retirement last month, has launched a withering attack on the BBC - claiming standards have fallen and accusing producers of being too mired in political correctness to do anything about it.

Writing in The Mail on Sunday today, he says: 'At today's BBC, a complaint I often heard from senior producers was that they dared not reprimand their subordinates for basic journalistic mistakes - such as getting ages, dates, titles and even football scores wrong - it being politically incorrect to risk offending them.'

Mr Sissons, 66, who has worked for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, says there was 'great attention' to the text of news bulletins when he joined the Corporation 20 years ago, but that now appeared to be lacking.

In a wide-ranging attack, he also claims it is now 'effectively BBC policy' to stifle critics of the consensus view on global warming. He says: 'I believe I am one of a tiny number of BBC interviewers who have so much as raised the possibility that there is another side to the debate on climate change. 'The Corporation's most famous interrogators invariably begin by accepting that "the science is settled", when there are countless reputable scientists and climatologists producing work that says it isn't. 'But it is effectively BBC policy... that those views should not be heard.'

He also takes a swipe at BBC executives for failing to defend him when he was criticised for wearing a burgundy tie on the day the Queen Mother died in 2002. He says a senior executive urged him to wear the burgundy tie, but that the BBC then said it had been his own choice.

The reaction of BBC 'top brass' to coverage of the death of Princess Diana also rankles. 'We did a lot to be proud of that day,' he says. 'Some weeks afterwards, the top brass took themselves off to a Cambridge hotel to congratulate each other. None of the footsoldiers who actually made the programmes was invited.'

Mr Sissons once accused the BBC of ageism, saying he had attended 'too many' leaving parties for people over 50.


British officialdom snipes at Prince Charles’s ‘misguided’ green thinking

Senior government figures have revealed serious concerns about the Prince of Wales’s “misguided” green philosophy, which advocates dramatic changes in lifestyle and attitudes as the key to saving the world. One senior Whitehall source dismissed Prince Charles’s green vision as “fatuous”, and others were equally dismissive. The rift illustrates just how politically charged the environmental issues on which Charles has campaigned for decades have now become.

He has long called on people and politicians to rethink their attitudes to the planet, economic growth and consumption. Recently, however, government policy has become based on the notion that problems such as climate change are best addressed through science and technology - without compromising economic growth or consumerism. This difference is becoming a source of tension, and some of Charles’s aides are planning for him to continue to make public his opinions when he eventually becomes king.

Charles, who gave the Richard Dimbleby lecture last week, took care to endorse the climate-change report of the former Downing Street adviser Lord Stern, who, he said, had “set out the case as to why, even in traditional economic terms, it is quite irrational to continue as we are”.

But he went much further, saying our consumerist society had brought the world to the brink of collapse, and warning that “nature, the biggest bank of all, could go bust”.

A senior Whitehall source, while not directly criticising the prince, said a “misconceived” ideology lay at the heart of the green position on tackling climate change, wrongly seeking to change our whole way of life. “We are aiming to cut emissions by a third in the next 10 years and then by 80% in the next four decades. These things are not happening because the population has had a green psychological transformation,” he said. “If that were true, we’d never get anywhere, we’d never have got rid of slavery or brought in seatbelts or abolished hanging. No social change is force-driven by mass psychological change. It is about government leading and people changing accordingly.

“Within its core, represented strongly in organisations such as Friends of the Earth andGreenpeace, environmentalism still has an ideological greenness that does not like the way we live and does not believe this is what creates fundamentally decent society. That continues to infect the way they think about the changes that we need, so in that sense it is fundamentally wrong.”

Charles has selected two former directors of Friends of the Earth (FoE) to advise him: Jonathon Porritt, who ran FoE from 1984-90, and Tony Juniper, who quit last year for the Prince’s Rainforest Project. Craig Bennett, a former FoE campaigner, co-directs the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change. Last year the prince also recruited Benet Northcote, former chief policy adviser for Greenpeace UK, as his deputy private secretary. Charles’s green advisers contributed to the speech, which contained pointed references to the management of the economy. He said the Earth could no longer afford consumerism, and that the “age of convenience” was over.

A senior Whitehall source sought to avoid criticising the prince personally, and said: “We would never say that Prince Charles is wrong. It all helps. I would not say that it is of no use, but that it is not enough and we are going to get on with it anyway.” However, he also said lifestyle and thinking changes - which have been advocated by Charles - were “third-order issues” in terms of the impact they have in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. They included making personal decisions, such as to cycle or walk to work rather than drive, or to take holidays within Britain, or to eat meat only once a week.


Demonstration against big Al in Australia

THE massive challenges of climate change should be viewed as opportunities, US climate campaigner Al Gore says. The former US vice president and Nobel Prize and Oscar winner was in Melbourne launching non-government organisation Safe Climate Australia at a breakfast of 1000 Australian leaders.

Mr Gore said the world, while facing the dual challenges of environmental and economic crisis, should not be afraid of the difficulties ahead. "We should respond not only to the danger but also to the opportunity," he said. "Because we face this crisis at a moment when the world is in an economic crisis as well."

Outside the function, about 30 protesters from the Climate Sceptics Party staged a peaceful demonstration bearing placards, including one that read "Stop Junk Science". Several party members also wore T-shirts splashed with the slogan "Carbon Really Ain't Pollution - CRAP".

But Mr Gore warned the crisis was gaining momentum. "The planet now has a fever," he said. "We have to act."

On Sunday, Mr Gore said the Rudd Government's carbon emission targets were not what he would have devised but stressed he was "realistic about what can be accomplished within the political system as it is".



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