“…climate change ‘solutions’ proposed thus far are part of a political game aimed primarily at bringing the U.S. and the world’s other large industrialized economies down to a level more closely approximating those of other, less fortunate nations.”
Those words appeared in this space just over a year ago (“Climate Change Craziness,” March 2008). That column generated a lot of reader response, with a near 50-50 split between those calling me a fool and those in agreement.
We love to hear from readers, regardless of the nature of your comments. But passions on both sides of the issue of anthropogenic global warming run high, so it’s not without some trepidation that I once again attempt to tackle the topic of the politics of anthropogenic global warming.
Skeptics should be encouraged that the notion of anthropogenic global warming as an urgent problem requiring immediate attention has been dealt some setbacks recently. A steady stream of empirical data and scientific analyses are casting doubt on many of the global warming claims.
Princeton University physicist Dr. Robert H. Austin, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, summed up the argument of many skeptics quite nicely in recent testimony to staff of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee: “Unfortunately, climate science has become political science…It is tragic that some perhaps well-meaning but politically motivated scientists who should know better have whipped up a global frenzy about a phenomenon which is statistically questionable at best.”
Lending credence to Austin’s assertion that the climate change debate has become politicized is a document distributed to participants in a U.N environmental conclave held in late March. Essentially, the “information note” envisions a large-scale, environmentally driven reordering of the world economy.
Among the many items considered are a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions, “carbon taxes” on imported fuels and energy-intensive goods and industries, and tariffs based on whether or not goods are considered “environmentally sound.”The document largely ignores consequences of implementing such sweeping changes, noting only that some of the schemes espoused “may induce some industrial relocation” to “less regulated host countries.” Such industrial relocation “would involve negative consequences for the implementing country, which loses employment and investment.”
I think we can all make a guess as to which country or countries would take the biggest hit employment-wise in the event these schemes were to be implemented. At a time when many manufacturers in the U.S. are struggling just to stay afloat, environmentally driven protectionism and “industrial relocation” are the last things we need.
A better starting point might be for all countries involved to agree up-front that whatever programs are implemented must encourage free trade and minimize wholesale shifts of jobs and even entire industries from one country to another based simply on environmental considerations. I’m not holding my breath.