UN climate chief declares communism best for fighting global warming

posted at 8:01 am on January 16, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Anyone familiar with the disastrous environmental impact of the communist grip on eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union knows what happens when unaccountable totalitarians hold power. If nothing else, the Chernobyl disaster should give one a clue, a legacy Ukrainians will have to endure for decades more, if not centuries. Apparently, though, one does not become the United Nation’s climate chief by collecting such clues.  This week, Christiana Figueres offered a prescription for solving global warming — communism!

United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres said that democracy is a poor political system for fighting global warming. Communist China, she says, is the best model.

China may be the world’s top emitter of carbon dioxide and struggling with major pollution problems of their own, but the country is “doing it right” when it comes to fighting global warming says Figueres.

“They actually want to breathe air that they don’t have to look at,” she said. “They’re not doing this because they want to save the planet. They’re doing it because it’s in their national interest.”

Doing it right? We’ll get back to that in a moment. Anyone offering communism as an environmental solution has to be either ignorant or deliberately obtuse. The Federalist’s Colin Grabow offered a primer on Monday to all those with short memories of what the fall of the Soviet empire exposed:

Not only a blight on the human condition, communism’s impact on the planet’s ecology has proven consistently ghastly.

When the Berlin Wall came down and the Iron Curtain was finally lifted to expose the inner workings of communism to Western eyes, one of the more shocking discoveries was the nightmarish scale of environmental destruction. The statistics for East Germany alone tell a horrific tale: at the time of its reunification with West Germany an estimated 42 percent of moving water and 24 percent of still waters were so polluted that they could not be used to process drinking water, almost half of the country’s lakes were considered dead or dying and unable to sustain fish or other forms of life, and only one-third of industrial sewage along with half of domestic sewage received treatment.

The “central planning” of communism turned a massive inland sea into a desert:

In the early 1960, the Soviet government decided the two rivers that fed the Aral Sea, the Amu Darya in the south and the Syr Darya in the northeast, would be diverted to irrigate the desert, in an attempt to grow rice, melons, cereals, and cotton. This was part of the Soviet plan for cotton, or “white gold”, to become a major export.

…From 1960 to 1998, the [Aral Sea]’s surface area shrank by approximately 60%, and its volume by 80%…The amount of water it had lost is the equivalent of completely draining Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

Colin gives a number of examples of communist “environmentalism,” and then aptly diagnoses the essential problem with totalitarianism and the environment:

Perhaps most obviously, communism invariably means authoritarianism (how else would a New Soviet Man emerge to work towards the bright, shiny future prophesied by Marx and Engels without re-education camps and control over the levers of societal machinery?), with little tolerance for dissent or concerns about hazardous waste in the worker’s paradise. To voice the opinion that perhaps not quite all was well, or that the air smelled funny, was to invite suspicions being a saboteur, kulak or harboring bourgeois tendencies.

Second, communism means an absence of property rights, having all been surrendered to “the people,” which is to say the state. As that which belongs to everyone in fact belongs to no one, who is to be confronted over the factory sending toxic plumes into the sky which then descends on the cornfield, or the dumping of waste into the river plied by tourists on cruise boats? And who really owns the cornfield or the boats?

Lastly, communism also simply cannot compete with capitalism in the production of wealth and technology, both of which greatly assist in addressing environmental problems. Why should anyone be surprised that only one East German power station had the necessary equipment to scrub sulphur from its emissions? This, after all, was a country whose answer to Western automobiles — the Trabant launched in the late 1950s — did not even include a fuel gauge in its early versions, something first introduced decades prior (unsurprisingly the Trabant was also bad for the environment, emitting nine times the hydrocarbons and five times the carbon monoxide emissions of the average European car of 2007).

As if on cue, the very communist nation hailed by the UN climate chief as “doing it right”on air quality is at the moment engulfed in a gigantic smog cloud that has residents running for cover:

Air pollution readings spiked across China’s capital Beijing on Thursday, prompting residents to don air masks and offices and homes to put electric air purifiers on overdrive.

Commuters across Beijing found themselves cloaked in a thick, gray haze as air pollution monitors across the city registered readings over 20 times the recommended exposure levels suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau readings Thursday for PM 2.5 – air particulate smaller than 2.5 microns blamed for a range of severe respiratory ailments – registered over 500 micrograms per cubic meter. The WHO recommends no more than 25 micrograms per cubic meter.

Officials in Beijing issued a severe air warning and urged residents to wear protective masks while outdoors, and said the elderly and schoolchildren should stay indoors until conditions improved.

This is not a new problem for Beijing. It was a huge concern for the 2008 Summer Olympics, and almost exactly a year ago the air quality was upgraded to “hazardous” after another of these smog clouds began to dissipate.

I know that those who forget history are bound to repeat it, but that’s usually in the context of history outside of one’s lifetime. This is a great example of just how much credibility we can put in the UN’s climate science, and what its ultimate purpose really is.

Update: Be sure to check out my Green Room piece on the way China “does climate change right” by selling smog as a benefit.


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Considering the European Greens were pretty much started by the Soviets to hamstring the West (even as the Soviets and the Warsaw Pact was destroying their environment at an astonishing rate), I’m not surprised today’s proto-Communists would say that.

Steve Eggleston on January 16, 2014 at 8:07 AM

The Associated Press ‏@AP 1h

AP PHOTO: Tourists wear masks to protect themselves from dense, gray smog in Beijing http://apne.ws/1ctujlu
==================================

http://bigstory.ap.org/photo/china-air-pollution-16#overlay-context=article/flap-artists-birds-sync-wing-beats-v-formation

canopfor on January 16, 2014 at 8:07 AM

Finally. Communism … available in original red or new fashionable green.

Lost in Jersey on January 16, 2014 at 8:07 AM

Watermelons. Green on the outside, Red on the inside.

JimK on January 16, 2014 at 8:08 AM

Beijing, Beijing, CN
10h
Beijing air pollution at dangerously high levels; authorities say severe pollution likely to continue through Friday – @AP
read more on bigstory.ap.org
=============================

canopfor on January 16, 2014 at 8:11 AM

China
6s
Northern region with the worst air in China shut down 8,347 small high-polluting firms in the past year, new data shows – @XHNews
read more on xinhuanet.com
===========================

http://www.breakingnews.com/topic/pollution/?lastid=ahZzfmJyZWFraW5nbmV3cy13d3ctaHJkcg0LEgRTZWVkGPH3_g8M&level=0&limit=10&media=None&order=date&published=None&start_date=None&submitted=false&submitter0=editor&submitter1=partner&submitter2=feed&tag0=pollution

canopfor on January 16, 2014 at 8:12 AM

…pretty soon…they will have to ‘cut’ the air…with a sickle!

KOOLAID2 on January 16, 2014 at 8:13 AM

Finally. Communism … available in original red or new fashionable green.

Lost in Jersey on January 16, 2014 at 8:07 AM

No fair having a thread closer within the first ten minutes!

Happy Nomad on January 16, 2014 at 8:14 AM

Seriously guys. We can do it RIGHT this time!

Mord on January 16, 2014 at 8:15 AM

I bet Commies have alot of regulations and oversight,
with a EPA Enforcement!!

canopfor on January 16, 2014 at 8:17 AM

The mask was finally and irrevocably taken off as was this woman’s stupidity. She is a gift.

rlwo2008 on January 16, 2014 at 8:17 AM

…pretty soon…they will have to ‘cut’ the air…with a sickle!

KOOLAID2 on January 16, 2014 at 8:13 AM

KOOLAID2:Lol, and hammer the h*ll out of it!:0

canopfor on January 16, 2014 at 8:19 AM

Bureaucrats, they all want to be Dictators!

tim c on January 16, 2014 at 8:21 AM

Anyone offering communism as an environmental solution a solution for *anything* has to be either ignorant or deliberately obtuse.

The same applies to liberalism/progressivism/statism as currently practiced by the left in the US, as well.

Trying to think of an issue in which facts, evidence, and history support their methods – little help here?

Midas on January 16, 2014 at 8:22 AM

The Green tree has Red roots!

thebrokenrattle on January 16, 2014 at 8:22 AM

It’s getting close to time to call the UN a terrorist organization.

sadatoni on January 16, 2014 at 8:26 AM

Why are we still in this stupid organization? Why are we paying for it? Why are we hosting it, for gods sake???

Valkyriepundit on January 16, 2014 at 8:26 AM

One world govt – you will learn to love it!

OldEnglish on January 16, 2014 at 8:28 AM

At least they are finally coming out of the closet.

Dr. Frank Enstine on January 16, 2014 at 8:29 AM

Watermelons. Green on the outside, Red on the inside.

JimK on January 16, 2014 at 8:08 AM

If I recall correctly it was the founder of “Green Peace” that coined that term.

Dr. Frank Enstine on January 16, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Makes perfect sense. Communism kills a boat ton of its people, which means less people to pollute.

Gatsu on January 16, 2014 at 8:31 AM

Why are we still in this stupid organization? Why are we paying for it? Why are we hosting it, for gods sake???

Valkyriepundit on January 16, 2014 at 8:26 AM

Because it represents hope and change.

Dr. Frank Enstine on January 16, 2014 at 8:31 AM

The mask was finally and irrevocably taken off as was this woman’s stupidity. She is a gift.

rlwo2008 on January 16, 2014 at 8:17 AM

True — I actually appreciate Figueres’ honesty at trying to spin ecological night into day via her blind loyalty to communism without using any euphemisms for the c-word, though I’m sure in the end she’s likely a ‘red green’ in the Al Gore tradition, in that enriching her job status and bank account likely take precedent over being a fanatically focused environmentalist.

jon1979 on January 16, 2014 at 8:33 AM

There is a plague upon New York, and it is centered in Turtle Bay.

Time to scrub it clean, and I don’t know if Lysol is powerful enough…

JohnGalt23 on January 16, 2014 at 8:33 AM

Marxists aren’t interested in an honest debate. They’ll flat out lie to you and tell you that the sun is the moon if they think it will advance their agenda.

Any and every variation in climate is simply another weapon for them to advance marxism.

rbj on January 16, 2014 at 8:37 AM

Her beauty makes up for her lack of intelligence:

Figures, eh?

justltl on January 16, 2014 at 8:38 AM

It’s shameful we are still a member state of the UN.

NotCoach on January 16, 2014 at 8:39 AM

The same applies to liberalism/progressivism/statism as currently practiced by the left in the US, as well.

Trying to think of an issue in which facts, evidence, and history support their methods – little help here?

Midas on January 16, 2014 at 8:22 AM

Facts and evidence?
Well they study an ant mound or termite mound and see a society where every individual is equal and collectively strives to make the society greater. They see those insects as the perfect society will everyone working for the common good of all and desperately want the same for humans.
Of course they are wrong because there is neither fact or evidence to support that these insects are even aware of the collective. In my opinion they are just little bio-robots programmed to a single task and it just looks like they are cooperating for the greater good. It’s also like bird flocks and schools of fish. Each bird or fish is only following the one next to it without interest or concern for the others in the formation.

Dr. Frank Enstine on January 16, 2014 at 8:40 AM

justltl on January 16, 2014 at 8:38 AM

Shame on you for making me click!

OldEnglish on January 16, 2014 at 8:42 AM

Anyone offering communism as an environmental solution has to be either ignorant or deliberately obtuse.

But it will be different this time because this time, we’ll have the right people in charge.

CJ on January 16, 2014 at 8:43 AM

Unaccountable tyrants lie. Moreover, people under the tyrants are afraid to tell them any problematic truths. In turn, the tyrants pass to the globalists numbers they seem to want to hear.

Sekhmet on January 16, 2014 at 8:49 AM

Maybe there should have been a third plane on 9-11.Since we were getting hit anyway they could have done the world a favor.

docflash on January 16, 2014 at 8:51 AM

Shame on you for making me click!

OldEnglish on January 16, 2014 at 8:42 AM

My apologies.
I’m reminded of this expression:
“If I had a dog as ugly as that, I’d shave its arse and teach it to walk backwards.”

justltl on January 16, 2014 at 8:52 AM

Lefties love them some tasty totalitarianism!

MTF on January 16, 2014 at 8:57 AM

justltl on January 16, 2014 at 8:52 AM

LOL!

OldEnglish on January 16, 2014 at 8:58 AM

Most of us knew that this was what AGW was all about from the beginning. So I say again, get the U.S. out of the UN and the UN out of the U.S.!

Christian Conservative on January 16, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Reviving communism has always been the only true goal of the so-called “environmentalist” movement. Everything else, including and especially the promotion of the “global warming” scam, has simply been a means to an end.

Ever stop to wonder why “environmentalists” couldn’t care less about the fact that Wind Turbines kill more endangered species than every other type of energy production in the world put together?

Tom Servo on January 16, 2014 at 9:00 AM

The oil fields of Azerbaijan. Yeah, commies know how to take care of the environment.

Kafir on January 16, 2014 at 9:02 AM

What a buffoon.
Or autocratic sh*ll.

So hard to tell the difference, these days. But I suppose, given that it’s the UN, the difference is nil.

orangemtl on January 16, 2014 at 9:04 AM

Why do I imagine ol’ Christine has delusions of grandeur, wearing a little gold-braided uniform and carrying a baton while passing out edicts from her Global Warming office.

Bishop on January 16, 2014 at 9:08 AM

lol

Murphy9 on January 16, 2014 at 9:09 AM

justltl on January 16, 2014 at 8:38 AM

Ben Gazzara in drag.

Bishop on January 16, 2014 at 9:09 AM

Why do I imagine ol’ Christine has delusions of grandeur, wearing a little gold-braided uniform and carrying a baton while passing out edicts from her Global Warming office.

Bishop on January 16, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Why? Sounds like something you should ask your therapist! ;0

Besides, it is the United Nations. The closest thing in real life to that bar in Star Wars. EVERYBODY runs around in gold-braided uniforms.

Happy Nomad on January 16, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Time to scrub it clean, and I don’t know if Lysol is powerful enough…

JohnGalt23 on January 16, 2014 at 8:33 AM

Time for a second look at that weapons program that Jimmy Carter killed?

GWB on January 16, 2014 at 9:14 AM

A fascinating paragraph from the Wiki article Ed linked. This should be forwarded to Ms. Figueres. I doubt she’ll understand her own stupidity, but her nose still needs to be rubbed in it.

The disappearance of the lake was no surprise to the Soviets; they expected it to happen long before. As early as in 1964, Aleksandr Asarin at the Hydroproject Institute pointed out that the lake was doomed, explaining “It was part of the five-year plans, approved by the council of ministers and the Politburo. Nobody on a lower level would dare to say a word contradicting those plans, even if it was the fate of the Aral Sea.”

NotCoach on January 16, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Happy Nomad on January 16, 2014 at 9:13 AM

My therapist quit after I told her of my dreams; she got this horrified look on her face, crossed herself, called security to remove me, and locked herself in the bathroom until I was gone.

Bishop on January 16, 2014 at 9:26 AM

I dunno … just spitballin’ here … whaddya say we paint “WORLD TRADE CENTER” on the UN building in NYC? You know, big enough to be visible from a plane.

/jk/really/jk

M240H on January 16, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Happy Nomad on January 16, 2014 at 9:13 AM

My therapist quit after I told her of my dreams; she got this horrified look on her face, crossed herself, called security to remove me, and locked herself in the bathroom until I was gone.

Bishop on January 16, 2014 at 9:26 AM

And this differs from the relationships you have with other women how?

M240H on January 16, 2014 at 9:35 AM

You can’t have pollution at these levels without manufacturing productivity!

You know what I’m sayin’?

You feelin’ me?

Murphy9 on January 16, 2014 at 9:47 AM

The same applies to liberalism/progressivism/statism as currently practiced by the left in the US, as well.

Trying to think of an issue in which facts, evidence, and history support their methods – little help here?

Midas on January 16, 2014 at 8:22 AM

Millenials aren’t ready for a new Reagan revolution, they are ready for Elizabeth Warren. Be happy about this all you want, but the failure of the financial market and the bailout of the banks has driven a whole generation to the left.

libfreeordie on December 4, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Why? What does Elizabeth Warren and the left have to offer them?

questionmark on December 4, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Still waiting for an answer to that .

questionmark on January 16, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Environmental activists in China should call her on that shameful remark. They are all considered “reactionaries” there.

StubbleSpark on January 16, 2014 at 10:15 AM

Translation:
.

“We must expedite the destruction and assimilation of the United States.”

listens2glenn on January 16, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Sounds about right…

Galtian on January 16, 2014 at 10:22 AM

UN climate chief declares communism best for fighting global warming

Who didn’t see THAT coming?

UltimateBob on January 16, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Goebbels orgasmed all over his grave, again.

Schadenfreude on January 16, 2014 at 11:27 AM

Must be due to all that arsenic in Washington geoducks.

Christien on January 16, 2014 at 11:38 AM

And what is the $ amount of tax dollars allocated to this nonsense? Unbelievable!!!

mel23059 on January 16, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Maybe the UN should move to Beijing so they know what they can sample pollution first hand.

I hear the Chinese govt has a special way of handling protesters — the give the free all expense paid vacations in special vacation factories.

KenInIL on January 16, 2014 at 12:05 PM

I think I’d have to agree.

Pol Pot reduced his country’s CO2 emissions by 25-40%

WryTrvllr on January 16, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Dark Current around? . . .
Is his respirator working?

Bubba Redneck on January 16, 2014 at 12:53 PM

The UN needs to move.
Let them experience 3rd world commie life for awhile.
Heh, New York is paradise compared to where most these yahoos come from.

They want to f-up the Mew World just as they did the Old.

Slice me a piece of Bejing air, I’m feeling a bit peckish.

Bubba Redneck on January 16, 2014 at 12:59 PM

All that smog is stopping sunlight from reaching the ground. So in a way they are fighting global warming.

agmartin on January 16, 2014 at 1:19 PM

The worst nuclear plant accident EVER occurred at Chernobyl, in the Communist USSR. No democracy has had anything close to that–basically because voters demand that the population be protected from such accidents, and governments write regulations to make nuclear plants safer.

Steve Z on January 16, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Probably without knowing, this woman just showed her hand. Communism as a means to an end? No sane person who actually cares about environmental issues would ever point to China as a model. Using her unbelievably contorted logic, we should all become drug addicts so we’ll start caring and finally rid the world of drugs for good. What she really means is that communism, or authoritarianism, is the end itself, and the way to get there is through, in part, environmental regulations. I bet she thinks she’s clever.

Erich66 on January 16, 2014 at 1:52 PM

“This is a great example of just how much credibility we can put in the UN’s climate science, and what its ultimate purpose really is.”

We’ve stopped sending the UN any money…

right?

Seven Percent Solution on January 16, 2014 at 2:28 PM

…if only this story would receive some traction…because it is the “bingo” at the end of the sentence, that sentence being “What is at the soul of the climate change movement?”

It’s never been about the climate. Most of these pencil pushing totalitarians couldn’t care less about polar bears any more than the “social justice” champions of Stalin’s Russia cared about collective farmers. They want the power to re-make the world in their own image.

Clue: communist Van Jones is a greeny. Do you think that he’s worried about the plight of the rainforests and the little hummingbirds who live therein?

They skew the science, thump their chests in the press, blame hurricanes on carbon emissions…and then are silent as statues when we have the coldest winter in the span of their miserable, stunted lives…or, hilariously, get iced-in on “scientific” expeditions to the Antarctic to study the effects of WARMING.

The air has gone out on the tire they hope runs over their opposition, but they keep driving forward. They don’t want clean air…they want what every totalitarian wants: unquestioned obedience…and, it would appear that they admire authoritarian regimes which, despite decades of lung-busting pollution on their home turf, know how to REALLY push people around.

Hell…I’m not sure, but I’d bet that Hitler was a greeny.

Puritan1648 on January 16, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Watermelon – green on the outside, red on the inside

jclittlep on January 16, 2014 at 2:44 PM

You can’t have pollution at these levels without manufacturing productivity!

You know what I’m sayin’?

You feelin’ me?

Murphy9 on January 16, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Exactly! When you’re the world’s most populated country and fastest growing major economy and largest manufacturing nation and largest automobile market there’s likely going to be some notable pollution.

DarkCurrent on January 16, 2014 at 2:55 PM

And apparently that Marxist/Communist shared misery is exactly what the Pope wants for his flock.

No Thanks!

RJL on January 16, 2014 at 4:29 PM

Communism can f-up your country so communism can clean your country.
Too much benzene? No problem! Dump it in the river and light it on fire.

Anyone care for a slice of Bejing air?

Bubba Redneck on January 16, 2014 at 6:42 PM

I think the Indians beat the Chinese in the population department.
If not then soon.

Bubba Redneck on January 16, 2014 at 6:46 PM

If this is indeed the case then why is the place still a sh!t hole?

Bubba Redneck on January 16, 2014 at 7:05 PM

I think the Indians beat the Chinese in the population department.

Bubba Redneck on January 16, 2014 at 6:46 PM

India is still down by 140 million or so population-wise. Also a slower growing economy with about 1/2 the GDP, if that. But don’t give up the thinking. You’re getting better at it.

DarkCurrent on January 16, 2014 at 7:09 PM

How uncharacteristically honest of them.

Cylor on January 16, 2014 at 7:36 PM

Why are we still in this stupid organization? Why are we paying for it? Why are we hosting it, for gods sake???

Valkyriepundit on January 16, 2014 at 8:26 AM

Clearly we should withdraw from the UN and they can relocate their headquarters to Beijing.

talkingpoints on January 16, 2014 at 7:45 PM

Not surprising. The keynote speaker at the ’92 Rio Summit was Fidel Castro.

As one of the only people on this blog who accept global warming, this sort of thing drives me nuts. If you want to fight AGW, collectivist twaddle is just about the worst thing you could possibly do.

Hal_10000 on January 16, 2014 at 10:02 PM

As seen on TV!

Shy Guy on January 17, 2014 at 4:58 AM

Anyone really surprised by this?

farsighted on January 17, 2014 at 6:21 AM