It didn’t take the Pope long to bring his message about the threat of climate change back into the news. Speaking at the White House on Wednesday morning, the pontiff, who apparently views carbon dioxide as a pollutant causing runaway global warming, said:
Mr. President, I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution. Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation. When it comes to the care of our “common home,” we are living at a critical moment of history.
We still have time to make the changes needed to bring about a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.
That initiative marches under various names: “80 by 50” and “Under 2 MOU” being the current iterations of efforts to create a world environment free of pollutants, and freedom. During her run for the presidency in 2008 Hillary Clinton supported efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent by 2050, with President Obama repeating the theme in 2009. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated it in 2014 while California Governor Jerry Brown was busy this week witnessing the signing of another nation (China) to the “Under 2 MOU” (limiting climate temperature increases to under 2 degrees Celsius through a Memorandum of Understanding) international agreement working to the same end.
In reality, de Blasio’s plan was an extension of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC, a proposal, with teeth, to reduce offending greenhouse gases (GHC) by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and by 80 percent by 2050. Those teeth would, according to the New York Times which reported on the plan last year, “require change on an unprecedented scale” including huge investments in retrofitting older buildings to meet the stringent requirements being mandated for new construction along with a “wholesale transition” to low-carbon transportation (i. e., electric cars and cabs with city-funded electric charging stations to keep them running).
The Times admitted that the Bloomberg/de Blasio plan “will cost billions” of taxpayer dollars and that the change would involve mandates if owners of private buildings don’t meet the emissions reduction levels voluntarily. GreenBiz.com estimated that at least $1 billion would be required to retrofit the city’s municipal buildings such as schools, hospitals, libraries and fire and police stations.
On the left coast, California Governor Jerry Brown met with Chinese officials on Tuesday to celebrate the signing of the first Chinese province (Sichuan) to the Under 2 MOU, telling the eager press:
We at the local level have the responsibility and the power and the opportunity to take very bold and creative initiatives. In order to really get at the threat of climate change, everyone has to do whatever they can. [Emphasis added.]
I don’t want to underestimate the challenges. The world is not yet on track to deal with climate change. We have to make a turn. We have to make some very heroic decisions.
A close look at the Under 2 MOU reveals that “international efforts are necessary” to protect the planet from the supposed disastrous consequences that allegedly will occur if the average temperature is allowed to rise by 2 degrees Celsius. Those efforts would require a complete “redesign of the power supply and grid ... [and] a large scale switch to renewable energy.” Parties to the agreement “agree to take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger and freight vehicles” with the goal of reducing those emissions to zero over time.
A footnote to the MOU, however, says it is “neither a contract nor a treaty.” What it is, is a decree, an announcement from on high about decisions already made without input from citizens or taxpayers who will pay the tab and lose their freedoms in the process.
Pressure from below to force other governments to adopt the “80 by 50,” or the "Under 2 MOU," came over the weekend with 311,000 demonstrators clogging the streets of New York just prior to the United Nations’ meeting on climate change. Attending were the usual suspects, including former Vice President Al Gore, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and Mayor de Blasio. The march, orchestrated by a dozen environmental, labor and “social justice” groups, was led by Avaaz, described as a global civic organization working to “close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want.”
One problem with that claim, of course, is that most Americans don’t give a rip about climate change. A recent Gallup Poll showed the economy to be people’s greatest worry, while climate change came in at second from the bottom of 15 issues explored by the poll.
Another problem is the funding source behind Avaaz. Despite claiming that it takes no funds from foundations or corporations but “instead, relies simply on the generosity of individual members,” ABC News reported that Avaaz receives financial support from George Soros, MoveOn.org, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) which helped organize the rally.
Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong, asked rhetorically: What would this agenda cost if it were adopted worldwide? Germany has enthusiastically endorsed the “80 by 50” agenda and has already spent $100 billion in subsidies for renewables to replace conventional energy sources, and is expected to spend another $1.3 trillion over the next 20 years to complete the transition. Putting that into perspective, adopting “80 by 50” in the United States would cost taxpayers more than $5 trillion, four times the cost of implementing ObamaCare, according to Bryce.
Put another way, forcibly reducing the per capita carbon dioxide emissions from 16 tons (in 2012) to just 3.23 tons by 2050 would reduce Americans’ standard of living to the level of the average North Korean, according to Bryce.
Aside from the simple facts that wind and solar can’t replace the carbon-based energy sources currently being used in the United States in the vast amounts needed to sustain the present standard of living, it would take gargantuan amounts of real estate and the flow of energy would be incurably intermittent. Add to that that the technology doesn’t yet exist to store that electricity in adequate amounts to overcome unpredictable sunshine and wind in the amounts needed at affordable prices, and the whole façade of “80 by 50,” or "Under 2 MOU," is revealed to be the ploy to expand the power, reach and cost of government, all in the name of clean air.
Photo of Pope Francis: AP Images