A reader recently offered the following comments...
The polar bears, glaciers, Arctic ice melt, rising water of the oceans, the [supposition] that it's getting warmer—ALL of these things are untrue, bollocks, and the result of media hype over (particularly but not exclusively) the last couple of decades.
If you dig deep enough, and I have, you'll find that even organizations like the IPCC, the UN, Enron et al, all had [sic] their fingers in this MULTI-TRILLION dollar pie. Not paid for yet, but it will be over the few decades—by the Citizens of the US of A, and eventually the rest of the world, and even us down in the south Pacific.
We get a lot of this type of mail, and for the record, we're fully onboard with the idea that conspiracies are ongoing in a number of important areas. But this email was so stuffed full of juicy tin-foil accusations that we though it was worth commenting on.
There are several broad issues at play:
- Is global warming a hoax?
- Is there a conspiracy?
- Is the current global warming solution the right one?
Let's go through the answers.
It's troubling that many still wonder whether global warming is altogether a hoax. The overwhelming majority of climate scientists are not just saying that
global warming is real, they're jumping up and down, pulling at their hair, frantically telling us we need to do something about climate disruption, and sooner rather than later. Sure, as in any profession, there are outliers who disagree, but these climate skeptics are now relegated to being a tiny minority. Global warming is not a hoax, scientifically speaking.
There is, however, a conspiracy. It's not among the thousands of scientists working on the issue; they have not colluded to falsify data and testimony so greedy politicians can tax us more. The conspiracy is among those who have worked for more than a decade to cast doubt on an issue they knew to be solidly supported by the science. This group includes Exxon-Mobil and the coal industry; "language whore" Frank Luntz; the US senate's head dunce, James Inhofe; as well as a variety of radio talkers, all the way from far-right-wingnut Rush Limbaugh to pseudo-paranoiac Alex Jones. They've all done a dandy job of confusing the public and delaying action on global warming, leaving us at a point of crisis.
Some of these folks are just misinformed, or not-so-bright, or in the pocket of an industry that stands to be hurt by any action to solve the problem. But there are other climate-change refusniks who are now turning on a dime, positioning themselves for profit. These paragons of plutocracy wanted us to be left with a choice between draconian (costly) measures and catastrophic climate disruption. Why? Because a crisis of any kind is very profitable. One of planetary proportions is maximally profitable.
The current cap-and-trade proposal appears to be set up to allow huge profits to be gained by companies participating in the process. A similar system called cap-and-dividend set emissions caps, charge for the permits, and then refund the proceeds to citizens—not to corporations and their shareholders or governments and their spending programs. Cap-and-dividend is eminently more fair than cap-and-trade.
An even more effective approach would be to shift taxes off of people's salaries and onto dirty energy sources. The change would be a wash for most people, unless they chose to reduce their fossil fuel use, in which case they would see a net increase in their disposable income. But neither the tax shift approach or the cap-and-dividend idea have any profit potential for corporations or politicians, so they have not been seriously considered.
The real twist of the knife in the current cap-and-trade proposal is that carbon-dioxide levels will be reduced too slowly to avert the worst of the predicted climate-disruption effects. So we'll be have a lot of our hard-earned money taken from us AND we will fail to solve the climate problem. Yippie! Then we can move on to "geoengineering" and "mitigation protection plans" and lots more profits for the elites!
Those who oppose the currently offered global warming solutions should draw a sharp line between right-headed science and wrong-headed approaches. Any plan that allows multinational corporations to profit while the rest of us pay is wrong.
If our elected leaders are serious about solving the CO2 problem, they will implement a revenue-neutral tax shift or a cap-and-dividend program. Such approaches would enhance the freedom to choose how to spend one's money while gradually forcing out unsustainable energies and processes.
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