Despite many improvements in air and water quality, the planetary environment on Earth remains less than perfect. Skeptics disbelieving this statement are inclined to point out the flawed and dishonest science of Michael Mann and his happy band of chic climate agonists. They then remind us all of the baronial arrogance behind such monstrous legislation as The Warmer-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act. Defending my statement against these mockers is as easy as googling “China, drinking water, dead pigs.” The Tragedy of The Commons described by Garrett Hardin has truly come to pass in much of the Modern World.
So the knee-jerk reaction to all of this is to assume the Left is right and that we have no hope of salvation without an industry-crippling carbon tax. One way to test the truth of this hypothesis would be to examine the actions of powerful, Left-leaning political figures empowered to work their will on environmental policy in the face of ineffective opposition. If they really had the answer, and the field was clear for Red Grange to run wild, then they would be off to the end zone with the latest Carbon Tax or regulatory ukase. Yet in both Europe and in America, such is not the case, and therein lies an interesting tale.
In America, President Barack Obama promised his high profile, high dollar environmentalist supporters that he would bring down the regulatory hammer on coal-fired power generation facilities. He intended to have the EPA cap all carbon emissions from electrical power plants at 1,000Lb of CO2 per megawatt hour of electrical power generated. This regulation aimed to curtail emissions from a source that emitted 2.2 Bn Tons of CO2 per year – 40% of the annual US total. Looked at from only one side of the equation, this was reasonably sound logic. As Cortez famously said, you cut off the head of the snake.
At this juncture reality raised its scarred and gnarled head atop the ramparts. The mean megawatt hour CO2 emissions from a coal fired plant equals north of 1,700 tons. The technology required to remove the carbon compounds prior to emission is immature to the point of not being mass-produced anywhere for any price. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that nearly one half of the electricity produced in America comes from plants that would be totally without a prayer of complying with the new EPA regulation. Constituents left to starve in the dark typically take a dim view of the environmental science and regulatory authority used to yank their plug clean out of the socket.
In the face of the stubborn and obtuse tides, King Canute has changed his tune. Under intense legal fire, President Obama has delayed implementing the unattainable standard. Perhaps Attorney Jeffrey Holmstead best explains the sudden reticence on the part of the President to decree the opposite of Fiat Lux.
“My sense is they realize the path that (they) started down doesn’t work,” said Holmstead, who headed EPA’s air and radiation office under George W. Bush. “This proposal is so completely different from anything they’ve done before they’ve created a problem for themselves.”
Meanwhile, over in Europe, environmentalists suffer a similar disappointment. Eurozone member states such as Spain, Italy and Cypress are suffering a version of Climate Change that has nothing to do with GHGs. When unelected bureaucrats, from a land far away, reach into your personal savings account and extract interest payments that your irresponsible, dead-beat national government doesn’t feel inclined to be bothered with, it makes a person genuinely care less about the forcing factors associated with carbonaceous organic compounds aloft in the air shed. Walter Russell Mead describes the green angst below.
The European Environmental Agency (EEA) estimates that by 2010, the latest year for which hard data is available, greenhouse gas emissions in the EU’s 27 member states were down 15.4 percent. But EU leaders are well aware that things will only get more difficult going forward. If Europe continues to tighten the lid on its emissions, it runs the risk of scaring away heavy-emitting industries. Europe could use all the growth it can get at the moment. The last thing it needs is policy that makes it less internationally competitive.
And this gets to the nub of how Liberal politicians ultimately betray the very planet they claim to fight on behalf of. Environmental protection is set in opposition to the ability of people to feed themselves and enjoy an abundant life. People are told they are steeped in sin for enjoying the fruits of their labor. A false dichotomy is set up. You can save the planet or buy your two-year old new shoes – but not both. The bureaucrats and “scientists” are invited to go audition their finger puppets and dead pigs predictably wind up in the drinking water.
This is how liberalism caused global warming. This stupid cartoon war between Captain Planet and Big Bad Daddy Warbucks does nothing to enlighten the true spirit of deep ecology that can preserve both our prosperous existence and our sacred planet for generations to enjoy in the future. Instead, it’s all just a photo-op, a fundraising brochure, an excuse for ripe-suck legal-leeches to bill multitudinous hours at $350 a pop while the common man suffers a real unemployment rate of 14%. In the end, our caring government, our Savior State, can accomplish nothing accept Ecocide in The USSR. Liberal Environmentalists thereby prove they are just another aspect of the Tragedy of the Commons