With their undying preferences for problem-solving via top-down, forcibly collectivized “expert” action that reliably leads to mutual impoverishment — rather than the bottom-up innovations and efficiencies that can both conserve and enrich — the ultra-progressive and self-proclaimed “green” international bureaucratic set is getting pretty excited about their chances to finally get everyone to come together for their ever-elusive endgame, The Global Climate Treaty. The United Nations has been pushing for a gigantically redistributive and economically self-flagellating treaty on behalf of global warming for eons, and now they have their sights specifically set on a big meeting that’s happening in Paris in 2015 — and a report that was released to much fanfare on Thursday has them all heartily slapping themselves on the back. Via Reuters:
An explosion in the number of laws passed around the world aimed at confronting climate change in the last 20 years was hailed on Thursday as a step toward building support for a United Nations climate treaty to be negotiated in 2015.
Countries that together account for most global greenhouse gas emissions have passed nearly 500 laws since the Kyoto Protocol climate treaty was signed in 1992, with emerging economies leading many of the recent efforts, according to a report released by the Global Legislators Organisation (GLOBE) and the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics. …
The U.N. climate treaty to be negotiated next year is expected to consist of pledges of specific actions, or “contributions,” from nearly 200 countries, aimed at reducing greenhouse gases. …
Others at the report’s launch, including House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, said that with the U.S. House now controlled by Republicans and the Senate run by Democrats, efforts at legislation are likely to be stymied by policy gridlock.
An excellent point, Leader Pelosi, if disingenuously made: Our divided Congress does essentially mean that Americans are unwilling to go merrily along with whatever cockamamie scheme the powers that be at the United Nations can come up with — but hey, there’s an executive action for that! In keeping with their feeble go-it-alone strategy, the Obama administration is reportedly looking at ways to abide by the potential terms of the hoped-for treaty without the requisite Senate ratification. Via the NJ:
It’s possible that 2015 United Nations climate talks in Paris could produce a global agreement structured in a manner that does not need Senate ratification. …
“We don’t know yet what governments are going to decide, but it is very clear that they will have to find some way to have a draft in Paris that will be robust, that will give certainty, and that will be politically digestible in all countries,” Figueres, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, told reporters on the sidelines of a Capitol Hill event on this study.
— Christiana Figueres (@CFigueres) February 28, 2014
I think we probably need to step back and get a few things straight here. First of all, I don’t know that there’s much that President Obama could or would do via executive action that would accomplish the kind of sweeping, ahem, “reform” that the United Nations is looking for, on the level of carbon taxes and giant mandated renewable portfolios or making climate reparations or what have you. More importantly, however — whether it is via executive action or Senate ratification — what exactly is to stop the United States or any country from reneging on the terms of this lofty agreement when they inevitably figure out that it’s a costly, inefficient, and ineffective boondoggle? What is going to prevent a new U.S. president, Republican or Democrat, from immediately nixing the whole thing, especially if it was done via the executive branch? I might also add that Canada withdrew from the Kyoto protocol when they realized it was getting in the way of their prosperity; Germany was among the first to reach their Kyoto targets, and now their Energiewende is spinning out of control from overly pricey electricity, impractical renewables, and the coal plants currently coming online to fill the gap; and meanwhile, the United States didn’t even sign the Kyoto treaty, but has been achieving cleaner skies through the very same fracking technologies that so many self-styled environmentalists unconditionally abhor.
What I’m ultimately getting at here is the utter futility of trying to scaremonger everyone on the globe into agreeing to act against their economic and financial best interests as your main policy strategy, and I’m going to point you to two pieces for some further Saturday reading: First, to Ed Rogers at the Washington Post on the conundrum of “The Prudent Rational.” Few things get my goat more than liberals who lump all people who don’t automatically prescribe to the 98 PERCENT OF CLIMATE EXPERTS AGREE WE MUST IMMEDIATELY STOP USING FOSSIL FUELS OR WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE BECAUSE THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED way of thinking into the category of knuckle-dragging, flat-earther “climate deniers.” It’s frustrating, considering that most people are not in fact “deniers” but will readily acknowledge that of course climate change is a thing. Planet earth is not and never has been a stable environment, and yes, the climate may very well be getting warmer at the moment — but is this cause for quite so much hysteria? The entire green movement is so thoroughly based off of reactionary emotionalism and bureaucratic control that they actually alienate would-be listeners and discredit themselves in the process, getting in the way of real-world solutions and causing the gridlock they claim to loathe so much.
Second, to Holman Jenkins at the WSJ, because the state of the green movement that he describes is an almost exquisitely painful facepalm for the ages. Oof.