As a nature enthusiast, I saw Al Gore’s movie, Inconvenient Truth, on opening week with much excitement. I left the theater thoroughly convinced that global warming was indeed taking place and caused by CO2 concentrations.
What with all the graphics of flooding coast lines, hurricane damage and future temperatures that were literally off the charts, it was pretty darn compelling if not downright frightening. However, much has happened in the climate discussion since the release of the movie. First, anyone denying global warming was said to be in the pocket of the oil companies or just ill-informed. The very word “denier” propagated by the media echoed tones of holocaust deniers, and dissent in the debate was thoroughly marginalized. Next, global warming suddenly became relabeled “Climate Change” as if faxed down from high places to anyone with a microphone when warming statistics were called into question by legitimate sources.
There has been very little debate about the science of climate change, and even less public debate about the proposed solutions with the Cap and Trade system. With such dramatic legislation proposed, one would think that the answers to the following questions would be crystal clear. Is global warming really happening and backed by indisputable facts? Are man-made greenhouse gasses (GHG) the main cause of climate change? Does Cap and Trade legislation address key environmental issues like water pollution, chemical spraying, deforestation and topsoil erosion? Who benefits from the proposed solutions, and at whose expense? How does global cap and trade legislation affect individual liberties protected under the U.S. Constitution?
Make no mistake, market-based cap and trade schemes have proven to reduce air pollution and incentivize clean development. The cap and trade placed on sulfur dioxide in the 90s caused coal burning power plants to innovate sulfur brushes that reduced SO2 emissions by 50% in the United States. And the current Kyoto Protocol does indeed protect forests and spurs clean energy development in developing nations. So, there are certainly plenty of positive arguments for some form of cap and trade.
However, it now appears that the real Environmental Movement has been hijacked to primarily benefit the money interests of the ruling elite. Eyebrows have been raised since “hacked” emails exposed that the science data has been manipulated to fit the Global Warming theory, and now that 30,000 climate scientists are suing Al Gore and others just to have a real science debate. Alarm bells should go off when we learn that, as Vice President, Gore designed the proposed Cap and Trade system with Enron’s criminal CEO Ken “Kenny Boy” Lay years before the general public had even heard of Global Warming. A full blown revolt should take place knowing that the scandalous international Banksters on Wall Street have shaped Cap and Trade to line their pockets. Finally, some of the proposed provisions appear to tax personal choices when the system was supposed to focus on major corporate polluters, which seems to undermine Constitutional rights and perhaps U.S. sovereignty altogether.
Although there are compelling arguments that climate change is happening, recent evidence shows it may be mainly caused by the sun’s activity. However, it does seem plausible that GHG, with their insulating affect, do contribute to trapping heat and warming the earth. But is it catastrophically dangerous to our well being? Well, it seems that those predictions are only as good as the theory they’re derived from and now that theory is in question. Despite the lack of concrete answers, any environmental legislation should address GHG, because the large scale activities that account for the majority of the GHG are typically environmentally destructive in other ways as well.
As environmentalists, we should not just blindly support this legislation without investigating and debating all of the provisions. It is the easy way out to just let the big boys provide the solutions, especially since they were the ones who brought us globalization, unprovoked oil wars for military industrial profits, runaway deficits, predator lending, the ongoing financial crisis, and most of the environmental problems we face today. Time and time again, those in authority have not only broken our trust, but continue to break what they set out to fix. We should all recognize that authority is not truth, but that the truth is authority.
Ultimately, some form of a market-based cap and trade system may be the only way to reduce pollution in a capitalistic society, but before we jump to support this so-called environmental legislation we should continue to ask questions about it’s provisions.