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Thursday, 02 December 2010 11:40

Eco-rationing and the War against the West

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Several weeks ago, one of the central figures associated with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — Ottmar Edenhofer — admitted what critics of the IPCC’s approach to addressing purported climate change have suspected for some time now: Economic redistribution, not science, is driving the agenda. As reported for The New American on November 19, Edenhofer told Germany’s NZZ Online Sunday:

Basically it’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War. ...
First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with the environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole.

Now the political theater of the COP 16 Climate Conference unfolds in Cancun — a locale more photogenic for discussions of global warming than Copenhagen proved to be last December. Last year’s COP 15 ended in failure primarily because the greed of developing nations led to an interminable squabble over how much of the wealth of the First World would be redistributed, and to whom. Edenhofer’s admission that the process of negotiation is now primarily ‘de facto redistribution’ would apply as easily to last year’s conference as to that which is presently taking place.

Edenhofer’s invocation of the Second World War touches on a theme which is emerging as redistributionists attempt to justify their plans to transfer the wealth of the West to the Third World. Suddenly, 1940s-era rationing is being evoked as a vital element of addressing the "threat" of manmade climate change. An article for The Telegraph (“Cancun climate change summit: scientists call for rationing in developed world”) Environment Correspondent Louise Gray offers up an example of rationing histrionics:

In a series of papers published by the Royal Society, physicists and chemists from some of world’s most respected scientific institutions, including Oxford University and the Met Office, agreed that current plans to tackle global warming are not enough. ...
In one paper Professor Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said the only way to reduce global emissions enough, while allowing the poor nations to continue to grow, is to halt economic growth in the rich world over the next twenty years.

That’s right: “...halt economic growth in the rich world over the next twenty years.” For a full generation, such a scheme would not permit any economic growth, no matter how productive those economies proved themselves to be. At the same time, it would not mean that economic growth would halt globally — the mechanism for halting economic growth in the First World is the redistribution of wealth to the Third World. An entire generation would watch the fruit of their labors simply transferred to those who had not earned it, to ostensibly offset damage from the fictitious plight of manmade climate change.

What would it mean for the economic growth of the First World to be brought to an end? Rationing, for starters. Again, in Gray’s words:

This would mean a drastic change in lifestyles for many people in countries like Britain as everyone will have to buy less "carbon intensive" goods and services such as long haul flights and fuel hungry cars.
Prof Anderson admitted it “would not be easy” to persuade people to reduce their consumption of goods
He said politicians should consider a rationing system similar to the one introduced during the last “time of crisis” in the 1930s and 40s.
This could mean a limit on electricity so people are forced to turn the heating down, turn off the lights and replace old electrical goods like huge fridges with more efficient models. Food that has travelled from abroad may be limited and goods that require a lot of energy to manufacture.
“The Second World War and the concept of rationing is something we need to seriously consider if we are to address the scale of the problem we face,” he said.
Prof Anderson insisted that halting growth in the rich world does not necessarily mean a recession or a worse lifestyle, it just means making adjustments in everyday life such as using public transport and wearing a sweater rather than turning on the heating.

But halting economic growth is no more a matter of simply wearing a sweater now, than it was when Jimmy Carter told America to “Put on a sweater.” The implications of the required course of action — buying new "efficient" cars, fridges, etc. — while redistributing wealth by means of “cap and trade”-style programs while the First World remains mired in profound economic troubles, could means far more grief than a mere recession. Twenty years of rationing would most certainly mean a declining lifestyle: it could easily mean desperation as goods manufactured before the onset of rationing are exhausted, or simply wear out.

But wartime rationing also means something else: an increase in the size and scale of the black market:

Rationing resulted in one serious side effect: the black market, where people could buy rationed items on the sly, but at higher prices. The practice provoked mixed reactions from those who banded together to conserve as instructed, as opposed to those who fed the black market's subversion and profiteering. For the most part, black marketeers dealt in clothing and liquor in Britain, and meat, sugar and gasoline in the United States.

Americans were willing to endure wartime rationing because they could see a direct connection between their sacrifice and that which was being endured by their nation’s soldiers fighting in a declared war against a defined enemy. None of those elements are present in the current situation. In fact, a growing number of Americans no longer believe the global warming hype; they are certainly not prepared to sacrifice the wellbeing of the next generation to solve a problem they do not believe exists.

Rationing is not a means of waging war on global warming; rather, as proposed it would be a form of economic warfare waged against the nations of the First World. The notion that citizens and corporations should be exploited in an economic war against their own prosperity is reprehensible.

Photo: Gasoline ration stamps printed as a result of the 1973 fuel crisis: U.S. Bureau of Engraving & Printing

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