The bearer of this news is Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, who just last week had informed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that it was unfair for the United States to expect a developing nation such as India to curtail its CO2 emissions. Yet, while balking at such expectations is common, overtly rejecting the actual science behind them is not. MacedoniaOnline.eu reports on the environment minister's position, writing, "Jairam Ramesh ... accused the developed world of needlessly raising alarm over melting Himalayan glaciers. He dismissed scientists’ predictions that Himalayan glaciers might disappear within 40 years as a result of global warming. 'We have to get out of the preconceived notion, which is based on western media, and invest our scientific research and other capacities to study Himalayan atmosphere,' he said."
It has long been obvious that India and China had no intention of reducing CO2 emissions, but nevertheless, they often seemed to pay lip service to the cause. They didn't take pains to emphasize that global-warming science might be invalid; they merely insisted they had no obligation to be part of the "solution." The reason for this seems obvious. If you want to achieve economic dominance and your competitors are bent on destroying themselves, why get in their way?
And while CO2 restrictions are folly regardless, to institute them unilaterally would be economic suicide — especially in a free-trade environment. After all, as with every extra burden placed on businesses, cap and trade, what I'll call "cap-and-sap," would provide even more incentive for them to shift their operations overseas. And who can blame them? There is no level playing field if we refuse to place the burden known as tariffs on foreign manufacturers but saddle domestic ones with the burden known as higher taxes and more regulation.
Yet there are still those who would forge on ahead with cap-and-sap, perhaps with the reasoning that it's better to snuff out a candle than curse the hotness. They accept global-warming dogma unquestioningly, despite credible science and analyses that contradict it. As to this, not only is CO2 neither a pollutant nor harmful, there is also good reason to believe it is merely a result of warming, not its cause. On top of this, some scientists not only believe the Earth has ceased warming but that we're actually on the cusp of another ice age (although it's anecdotal, I'll point out that New York City just had its coldest June since 1958, and 3,000 low temperature records have already been set this month alone).
Yet many will disagree. They will cite this study or that research, this or that chart, Al Gore, or an ice core. And I won't try to hash it out here. All I will say is that, strong though your faith may be, you had better hope we climate-change skeptics are right. This is for a simple reason: no matter what you say, no matter how hard you try, no matter how much you cajole, cry, plead or pray, cap and trade will not yield a worldwide reduction in CO2 emissions.
In fact, they are poised to increase like Al Gore's net worth after a carbon-credit bender.
In part, I am of course referring to those naked economic ambitions of China and India. But to really understand the magnitude of the problem — insofar as it is a problem — a bit more perspective is needed.
We've all been accosted with the narrative of America as chief polluter to the point where, it seems, the only ones who shouldn't feel guilty are the Amish in their quaint little carriages. Yet the truth is that we're not the Smog Monster we're painted as, and in the not-too-distant future we will become, relatively speaking, a blip on the haze-obscured radar screen.
Not only are China and India shooting for the stars — whether or not they can see them through the dense atmospheric particulates — they are also unabashed in their energy use. For example, they have no compunction about using coal — and dirty coal at that. As I pointed out in 2007, "[China] is opening another huge coal-burning power plant every week to 10 days. That's right, one about every week. And India, with the world's second largest population, is right behind China in the production of coal-fired plants."
Moreover, lest you think we're simply talking about future projections, know that China already burns more coal than the United States, the European Union, and Japan combined.
If that isn't enough to make an eco-end times devotee curl up in the nearest meat locker, see how this grabs you: it's said that Russia actually wants global warming.
While this article in TheNational.ae provides many substantive reasons for this, it really boils down to one simple fact.
Russia is cold.
In case this sounds too much like something you'd read in The Onion, here are some excerpts from the above-referenced piece:
All across Russia, the prospect of global warming appears to present new opportunities: exploration of oil and gas fields in Siberia and construction of pipelines linking those fields with Europe and China would be cheaper; agriculture would pick up from Karelia, north of St Petersburg, to Chukotka, in the far east; more tourists would come; more timber would be harvested; deaths from exposure to cold would fall; and the quality of life of vast swathes of the country – 60 per cent of Russia is covered in permafrost – would (quite possibly) rise.
It might seem impolitic to embrace what many regard as a looming global catastrophe. But this has not stopped the Russians. In September 2003, none other than Vladimir Putin signalled his approval, noting that global warming would help Russians “save on fur coats and other warm things.” More recently, Rinat Gizatullin, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Ministry, told the BBC: “We are not panicking. Global warming is not as catastrophic for us as it might be for some other countries. If anything, we’ll be even better off.
. . . Enthusiasm for global warming in Russia, if that’s the right way to put it, goes beyond simple household concerns or national economic interests. For the Russians, who regard the Arctic as essentially their rightful territory, shrinking ice floes will ease access to the bounty of natural resources around the polar ice cap, including large reserves of oil, gas, gold, diamonds, nickel and tungsten.
If this isn't perspective, I don't know what is. China and India together have almost eight times our population and are inexorably marching toward economic empire. Russia already uses twice as much energy, figured as a percentage of GDP, as we do and is so giddy at the prospect of rising temperatures that it could actually produce cheerful poetry. Add to this the fact that Brazil and most of the rest of the Third World and Asia will follow suit, and, well, do the math. What do you think the chances are that the lilliputians on this blue orb will be cutting CO2 emissions?
For people on my side, this is only good news. With major players Russia and China, burgeoning India, and the Czech Republic all happily committing climate-change heresy, there is perhaps a chance that Al Gore and his acolytes will run out of hot air. As for our opponents, someday soon their alarm may be displaced by disappointment, for it's not easy when your god dies. But they should look at the positive. If my side is correct, the climate will be as God intended, the world will not be ended, and they may be able to craft a new brand of detente, commiserating with some very crestfallen, and cold, Russians.