Friday, March 27, 2009

The Lights Are On--And We'd Better Be Home

I've been enjoying the blogs at the UK Telegraph lately; not only does MEP Gordon Hannan of this viral video fame blog there, but they have several other interesting writers as well.

I especially liked this post today, from Milo Yiannopoulos, titled "Earth Hour is stupid and pointless. Leave the blasted lights on":

Tomorrow night, between 8.30pm and 9.30pm local time all over the world, the lights will go out. The Empire State Building will go dark. The Coca-Cola Co. will switch off its signs all over the world. Why? Climate change, of course.

"Switch off your lights for 60 minutes... and stop global warming," says the WWF. Brilliant! Done! Planet saved! Why didn't anyone think of this before?

Let me get this straight: we're being told that, in order to raise awareness about rising global temperatures, we ought to... fumble around in the dark for a bit.

"See your world in a whole new light," say the posters. Only you won't see anything with the lights off, will you? Yeah, I know it's about energy conservation, but seriously: my eyesight is dodgy even in well-lit areas. How does my blind, hopeless careering around the living room, bashing my head against the light fittings as I go, really help the planet?

It doesn't, of course. And the same people who were telling us that "energy-saving lightbulbs aren't going to cut it now" and that we need "urgent action to avert climate change disaster" are now saying "turn the lights off for 60 minutes". What am I missing here?

Read the rest; clearly, Yiannopoulos has no patience for "If it feels good, pretend it saves the planet" nonsense.

I sympathize. While I believe, as a Catholic, that we are stewards of the earth, that we need to use the world's resources responsibly and equitably, and that we have to respect the natural order, I'm not sold on the anthropogenic global warming idea. But even if I were, the "Earth Hour" concept really is stupid and pointless, as Yiannopoulos puts it. It's one of those adolescent ideas I mention in the post below this one, where the feel-good motivations of the group are supposed to offset the reality that there will be very little actual good done by this symbolic event.

But then, I think the real purpose of such things is to raise, not awareness, but alarm, to drive home the endless message that our climate and our planet are on the brink of disaster--and then to give the world's governments unprecedented power over us all.

Consider this, from Fox News today:

A United Nations document on "climate change" that will be distributed to a major environmental conclave next week envisions a huge reordering of the world economy, likely involving trillions of dollars in wealth transfer, millions of job losses and gains, new taxes, industrial relocations, new tariffs and subsidies, and complicated payments for greenhouse gas abatement schemes and carbon taxes — all under the supervision of the world body.

Those and other results are blandly discussed in a discretely worded United Nations "information note" on potential consequences of the measures that industrialized countries will likely have to take to implement the Copenhagen Accord, the successor to the Kyoto Treaty, after it is negotiated and signed by December 2009. The Obama administration has said it supports the treaty process if, in the words of a U.S. State Department spokesman, it can come up with an "effective framework" for dealing with global warming.

The 16-page note, obtained by FOX News, will be distributed to participants at a mammoth negotiating session that starts on March 29 in Bonn, Germany, the first of three sessions intended to hammer out the actual commitments involved in the new deal.

In the stultifying language that is normal for important U.N. conclaves, the negotiators are known as the "Ad Hoc Working Group On Further Commitments For Annex I Parties Under the Kyoto Protocol." Yet the consequences of their negotiations, if enacted, would be nothing short of world-changing. [...]

Among the tools that are considered are the cap-and-trade system for controlling carbon emissions that has been espoused by the Obama administration; "carbon taxes" on imported fuels and energy-intensive goods and industries, including airline transportation; and lower subsidies for those same goods, as well as new or higher subsidies for goods that are considered "environmentally sound."

Other tools are referred to only vaguely, including "energy policy reform," which the report indicates could affect "large-scale transportation infrastructure such as roads, rail and airports." When it comes to the results of such reform, the note says only that it could have "positive consequences for alternative transportation providers and producers of alternative fuels."

In the same bland manner, the note informs negotiators without going into details that cap-and-trade schemes "may induce some industrial relocation" to "less regulated host countries." Cap-and-trade functions by creating decreasing numbers of pollution-emission permits to be traded by industrial users, and thus pay more for each unit of carbon-based pollution, a market-driven system that aims to drive manufacturers toward less polluting technologies.

The note adds only that industrial relocation "would involve negative consequences for the implementing country, which loses employment and investment." But at the same time it "would involve indeterminate consequences for the countries that would host the relocated industries."

There are also entirely new kinds of tariffs and trade protectionist barriers such as those termed in the note as "border carbon adjustment"— which, the note says, can impose "a levy on imported goods equal to that which would have been imposed had they been produced domestically" under more strict environmental regimes.

Another form of "adjustment" would require exporters to "buy [carbon] offsets at the border equal to that which the producer would have been forced to purchase had the good been produced domestically."

The impact of both schemes, the note says, "would be functionally equivalent to an increased tariff: decreased market share for covered foreign producers." (There is no definition in the report of who, exactly, is "foreign.") The note adds that "If they were implemented fairly, such schemes would leave trade and investment patterns unchanged." Nothing is said about the consequences if such fairness was not achieved.

This is a serious threat to the sovereignty of the United States (and other nations, of course) under the guise of protecting the environment. And sadly, the man in charge in the White House is unlikely to oppose any of it, since he shares many of the goals outlined here.

So while environmentally minded people enthusiastically plunge themselves into darkness tomorrow night, we're preparing to exchange self-government for some carbon offsets, which we'll then use quickly considering the limits likely to be placed on American industry--all of this at a time when our country's economy is in tatters and layoffs are already widespread. We need to quit playing in the dark--the lights need to be on, and we need to be prepared to defend our national home from would-be conquerors who come not with swords or guns, but U.N. treaties governing us without our consent.


Sarah (JOT) said...

I first heard about this yesterday when some Hollywood yuckster was handing out some flashlights of some kind during a segment on the Today show with the "leader" of this program. When I heard they were promoting switching our lights out for an hour at night I was like, "That is so stupid!" What a bunch of morons. I care about the environment, but I will take common sense actions, and not grope about in the dark.

Anonymous said...

No one on our street did this . . .