Ready for EnviroCops?
posted at 7:22 pm on July 6, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Whether the British public is ready or not, here come the EnviroCops. The Times of London reports that simply selling carbon credits hasn’t been enough to keep companies from potentially violating carbon-emissions limits. Now they will send green-jacketed police to monitor their operations:
The agency is creating a unit of about 50 auditors and inspectors, complete with warrant cards and the power to search company premises to enforce the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), which comes into effect next year.
Decked out in green jackets, the enforcers will be able to demand access to company property, view power meters, call up electricity and gas bills and examine carbon-trading records for an estimated 6,000 British businesses. Ed Mitchell, head of business performance and regulation at the Environment Agency, said the squad would help to bring emissions under control. “Climate change and CO2 are the world’s biggest issues right now. The Carbon Reduction Commitment is one of the ways in which Britain is responding.”
The formation of the green police overcomes a psychological hurdle in the battle against climate change. Ministers have long recognised the need to have new categories of taxes and criminal offences for CO2 emissions, but fear a repetition of the fuel tax protests in 2000 when lorry drivers blockaded refineries.
The central unit, based in Warrington, Cheshire, can call on the agency’s national network of hundreds of pollution inspectors, many of whom will soon be trained in CO2 monitoring.
It will also be able to demand energy bills from utilities without the companies under investigation knowing they are being watched.
Of course, the British authorities do not have a Fourth Amendment to limit them, but even this may be a bit much for Brits to swallow. Green-jacketed inspectors can descend on any business at any time and demand access to facilities. They can look up utility bills without even informing the business. Not for nothing did George Orwell set 1984 in Great Britain.
How long after we pass cap-and-trade will the US see the arrival of green-jacketed EnviroCops? Probably more quickly than the British did. The entire point of cap-and-trade is to punish those who dare release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and slapping an artificial-shortage system on an almost unmeasurable process will guarantee fraud as well as genuine lack of capability for compliance. Fines will accrue even more revenue to the federal government. The big question is whether Congress will bother adhering to our Fourth Amendment, or simply stick with the British invasion-of-privacy plan for better “efficiency”.
Michelle says now is the time to stop cap-and-tax, and she has the numbers to call in the Senate.