This post on Climate Etc. got me thinking about one of the most-oft repeated mantras of the more paranoid part of the denialist crowd — that global warming is just a big hoax by statists hoping to enlarge social control, create one world government, increase taxes and other scary things. Punkster is an example of this group as anyone familiar with his posts on this blog can attest.
According to this group of
fantasists hysterics skeptics/contrarians, global warming is a hoax perpetrated by socialists hoping to beggar the developed world and enrich the developing world by creating one world order OMG!!!112.
Here’s the post at Climate Etc. by Douglas Chang, which excerpts Noel Sheppard’s article in NZZ:
Douglas Chang | November 18, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Reply
“BREAKING: UN IPCC Official Admits ‘We Redistribute World’s Wealth By Climate Policy’
By Noel Sheppard | November 18, 2010 | 11:27
If you needed any more evidence that the entire theory of man-made global warming was a scheme to redistribute wealth you got it Sunday when a leading member of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change told a German news outlet, “[W]e redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.”
Such was originally published by Germany’s NZZ Online Sunday, and reprinted in English by the Global Warming Policy Foundation moments ago:
(NZZ AM SONNTAG): The new thing about your proposal for a Global Deal is the stress on the importance of development policy for climate policy. Until now, many think of aid when they hear development policies.
(OTTMAR EDENHOFER, UN IPCC OFFICIAL): That will change immediately if global emission rights are distributed. If this happens, on a per capita basis, then Africa will be the big winner, and huge amounts of money will flow there. This will have enormous implications for development policy. And it will raise the question if these countries can deal responsibly with so much money at all.
(NZZ): That does not sound anymore like the climate policy that we know.
(EDENHOFER): 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. Why? Because we have 11,000 gigatons of carbon in the coal reserves in the soil under our feet – and we must emit only 400 gigatons in the atmosphere if we want to keep the 2-degree target. 11 000 to 400 – there is no getting around the fact that most of the fossil reserves must remain in the soil.
(NZZ): De facto, this means an expropriation of the countries with natural resources. This leads to a very different development from that which has been triggered by development policy.
(EDENHOFER): 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 environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole.
For the record, Edenhofer was co-chair of the IPCC’s Working Group III, and was a lead author of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report released in 2007 which controversially concluded, “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”
As such, this man is a huge player in advancing this theory, and he has now made it quite clear – as folks on the realist side of this debate have been saying for years – that this is actually an international economic scheme designed to redistribute wealth.”
Here is the entire article in translation:
So the claim is that policy intended to address climate change is not really meant to address global warming, but redistribute wealth.
Of course, they have it all wrong. Backwards.
Denialists who propagate this misrepresentation imply that the purpose of climate legislation is really economic redistribution, to transfer wealth, to destroy America, to make China and India rich.
No — the purpose is to salvage our climate by ensuring that when the developing world industrializes as we have, they don’t finish what we started, sending our climate into potential destabilization.
Hmm. (hamster wheels in brain turn) Of course global warming policy is ultimately economic policy! Global warming is the result of our economic development, and in particular, our use of fossil fuels to power our industrial globalized civilization!
It’s the economy stupid!
Nevertheless, the environment is suffering from climate change – especially in the global south.
It will be a lot to do with adaptation. But that just goes far beyond traditional development policy: We will see in Africa with climate change a decline in agricultural yields. But this can be avoided if the efficiency of production is increased – and especially if the African agricultural trade is embedded in the global economy. But for that we need to see that successful climate policy requires other global trade and financial policies.
The great misunderstanding of the UN summit in Rio in 1992 is repeated in the climate policy: the developed countries talk about environment, the developing countries about development.
It is even more complicated. In the 1980s, our local environmental problems were luxury problems for the developing countries. If you already fed and own a car, you can get concerned about acid rain. For China, the problem was how to get 600 million Chinese people in the middle class. Whether there was a coal power plant or whether the labour standards in the coal mines were low was second priority – as it was here in the 19th Century.
But the world has become smaller.
Now something new happens: it is no longer just our luxury, our environment. Developing countries have realized that causes of climate change lie in the north and the consequences in the south. And in developed countries, we have realized that for a climate protection target of two degrees neither purely technical solutions nor life style change will be sufficient. The people here in Europe have the grotesque idea that shopping in the bio food store or electric cars will solve the problem. This is arrogant because the ecological footprint of our lifestyle has increased in the last 30 years, despite the eco-movement.
Ah, there’s the crux: we in the developed world have created the environmental problem with our economic development. We desequestered all that carbon in order to raise ourselves up to this current level of wealth and development. The consequence is the injection into the atmosphere of enough CO2 to warm the global climate and send us on a path to a new warmer climate in the near future — and possible climate destabilization.
The developing world wants what we have. I don’t blame them. It’s good, even though it’s been nothing but a big ponzi scheme. They want our wealth and our development levels. To get it, or at least, to get it the way we did, would not be good for the environment and our civilization. Without intervention, there is a very good possibility that the developing world will rely on the most polluting forms of fossil fuels — coal, shale oil, tar sands, further acidifying the oceans and increasing GHGs to double, triple or more what they were pre-industrialization.
If we want to prevent the climate from destabilizing, we have to reduce the amount of CO2 that goes into the atmosphere. This can be done in a number of ways — carbon taxes, cap and trade, switching to alternatives, finding clean fossil fuel technology, etc. If we are to limit the use of fossil fuels, this could deny the developing world the chance to industrialize and enjoy the benefits of the lifestyle we in the developed world take for granted. To convince them not to follow our path, we have to offer incentives and provide technology and aid to ensure they can develop in a carbon neutral or carbon-limited manner. One of the consequences of some policies to address global warming is that the developing world will receive a transfer of wealth which effectively — de facto — transfers wealth from us to them.
When you think of it from an ethical position, it makes sense. We in the developed world “expropriated the atmosphere” and dumped all our waste CO2 into it without a thought to the consequences. We have to pony up if we want to prevent the developing world, which is so much more populous than us, from making a bad situation much much worse by being as reckless as we have.
So, yes, some of the policies recommended to address global warming will result in the de facto transfer of wealth from the developed world to the developing world.
The key to remember is that “de facto”, or “in consequence”, is to be differentiated from “de jure”, which means “imposed by law”. In other words, the policies / legislation / regulations are meant to mitigate global warming but a consequence of these laws is a transfer of wealth.
So Bjorn Lomborg doesn’t need to worry about the developing nations — by enacting legislation to mitigate global warming, we will lift up the developing world so that they have all the benefits of our lifestyle but without the CO2…