Environmental alarmism is being exploited to chip away at national sovereignty. The latest threat to American liberties may be found in the innocuous sounding Copenhagen Climate Treaty, which will be discussed at the United Nations climate-change conference in mid-December. The alert was sounded on the treaty in a talk given by British commentator Lord Christopher Monckton at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minn., on Oct. 14. Video of the talk has become an Internet sensation.
The treaty's text is not yet finalized but its principles are aimed at regulating all economic activity in the name of climate security, with a side effect that billions of dollars would be transferred from productive countries to the unproductive.
The control lever is the regulation of carbon emissions, which some purport are causing global warming. The treaty would establish a Carbon Market Regulatory Agency and "global carbon budget" for each country.
In effect, this would allow the treaty's governing bodies to limit manufacturing, transportation, travel, agriculture, mining, energy production and anything else that emits carbon - like breathing.
Treaty supporters market the agreement through fear. Even though mean global temperatures have been on a downward spiral for several years after peaking in 1998, we are told that catastrophe is imminent. "The world has already crossed the threshold beyond which it is no longer possible to avoid negative impacts of anthropogenic climate change," says proposed treaty language being circulated by Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund and other groups. It is critical that they cultivate a sense of impending doom to justify the sweeping restrictions and new powers enshrined in the treaty. The sky is falling and they want us to act now, act swiftly, act before it is too late - but don't read the fine print.
The governing authority envisioned by the document reads like a bad George Orwell knockoff. The treaty establishes a body called the Conference of the Parties (COP), which is given ultimate authority over administering and enforcing the treaty. Its executive arm is something called the Adaptation Fund Board, under which is the Copenhagen Climate Facility, also known as "the Facility." The Facility is necessary because in order to save the planet, "the way society is structured will need to change fundamentally." This change would be impossible under the "fragmented set of existing institutions," so the Facility will step in with "such legal capacity as is necessary for the exercise of its functions and the protection of its interests." That's the Facility's interests, not yours.
The Facility will be run by an executive committee, the membership of which "may include representation from relevant intergovernmental and non-governmental stakeholders." So left-wing pressure groups, animal rights fanatics, tree-huggers, Al Gore or any other part of the environmentalist fringe would be eligible for executive committee membership. Naturally, global-warming skeptics like Lord Monckton need not apply.
A "massive scaling up of financial resources" will be required to fund the COP's activities. The United States and others will be required to transfer $800 billion over five years, with additional funding requirements assessed on an as-needed basis. The COP will have taxing authority "including, but not limited to, a levy on aviation and maritime transport." The ability to tax aircraft and shipping is bad enough, but as careful readers of the elastic clauses of the U.S. Constitution know, the phrase "including but not limited to" authorizes any tax they can imagine.
Signatories of the treaty will be required to file reports to the Committee for Reporting and Review ("the Committee"), and if found not in compliance with the treaty's terms, they may have to face "the Facilitative Branch." If this branch finds that a country is violating the terms of the agreement, it will "undertake the measures necessary" to bring the country back into compliance.
The treaty language would be farcical but for the fanaticism of its proponents. The environmental movement is driven by a millenarian determination to save humanity from itself, regardless of its impact on real people. President Obama reportedly will skip the Copenhagen meeting unless the treaty language is finalized. We urge him to resist the urge to pander to the international community at the expense of the United States.
We look forward to headlines about record cold temperatures during the December climate summit, and to hearing desperate speeches about stopping irresistible global warming during the signing ceremony, held during a blizzard.