- The Washington Times - Monday, February 19, 2007

The ink has barely dried on its new ethics policies, and already Congress is redefining ethics and pork to fit its global warming agenda.

We need to take a deep breath. Acknowledge that the Kyoto Protocol and proposed “climate protection” laws will not stabilize the climate, even if CO2 is to blame. And recognize that there are reasons more people now support climate “consensus” — other than concern over climate disasters created by deficient computer models and Hollywood special effects.

In accusing ExxonMobil of giving “more than $19 million since the late 1990s” to public policy institutes that promote climate holocaust “denial,” Senate Inquisitors Olympia Snowe and Jay Rockefeller slandered both the donor and recipients. Moreover, this is less than half of what Pew Charitable Trusts and allied foundations contributed to the Pew Center on Climate Change alone over the same period.

It’s a pittance compared to what U.S. environmental groups spent propagating climate chaos scares. It amounts to 30 cents for every $1,000 the United States, European Union and United Nations spent since 1993 (some $80 billion in all) on global warming catastrophe research. And it ignores the fact Exxon’s grants also supported malaria control, Third World economic development and other efforts.

A deeper look into the murky waters of climate politics is clearly warranted:

* Scientists who use climate change to explain environmental changes improve their chances of getting research grants from foundations, corporations — and U.S. government programs that budget a whopping $6.5 billion for global warming in 2007. They also increase the likelihood of getting headlines and quotes in news stories: “Climate change threatens extinction of rare frogs, scientist says.” Climate disaster skeptics face an uphill battle on grants, headlines, quotes and job security.

* Politicians can curry favor with activists who support re-election campaigns and higher aspirations; transform $14 billion in alternative energy pork into ethical planetary protection; and promote policies that otherwise would raise eyebrows.

Corporate actions that cause injury or death are penalized; but praise is heaped on mileage standards that cause hundreds of deaths, when cars are downsized and plasticized to reduce fuel and emissions. High energy prices are denounced at congressional hearings if due to market forces — but lauded if imposed by government to “prevent climate change.”

Alarmist rhetoric has also redefined corporate social responsibility and created the Climate Action Partnership and an emerging Enviro-Industrial Complex.

* Environmental activists use climate fears to raise billions of dollars via direct mail and foundation and corporate grants — to promote government control over resource use, technological change and economic development. Recent developments promise greater rewards.

Environmental Defense is collaborating with Morgan Stanley, to promote emission trading systems and other climate change initiatives — giving ED direct monetary and policy stakes in the banking, investment and political arenas, and in any carbon allowance or cap-and-trade programs Congress might enact.

ED designed and led the disingenuous campaign that caused many health-care agencies to ban DDT, resulting in millions of deaths from malaria. Along with Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists and other groups, it still posts deceitful claims about DDT online, perpetuating the disease. By blaming climate change for malaria, they deflect criticism for their vile actions.

Climate cataclysm claims also enable activists to gain official advisory status with companies and governments — and make it “ethical” for them to oppose power generation in Third World countries, where few have access to electricity.

* Companies in the CAP and EIC can develop and promote new product lines, using tax breaks, subsidies, legal mandates and regulatory provisions to gain competitive advantages. They get favorable coverage from the media, and kid-glove treatment from members of Congress who pillory climate chaos skeptics.

These expensive new technologies would bring benefits, but also job and economic dislocations. The new legal regime could also become a license to redefine corporate ethics, present self-interest as planet-saving altruism, and profit from questionable arrangements with activist groups and Congress. Cap-and-trade rules will certainly create valuable property rights and reward companies that reduce CO2 emissions, often by replacing old, inefficient, high-polluting plants that they want to retire anyway.

DuPont and BP will get money for biofuels, GE for its portfolio of climate protection equipment, ADM for ethanol, Lehman Brothers for emission trading and other deals. Pew, ED and NRDC will be able to influence corporate, state and federal policy, and rake in more cash. Insurance companies can blame global warming for rate increases and coverage denials. The opportunities to “game the system” will be limited only by one’s “eco-magination.”

To determine the losers, look in the mirror. We’ve created a Frankenstein climate monster on steroids. Were it real, we would need to dismantle our economy and living standards to slay the beast. There is no other way to eliminate 80 percent to 90 percent of U.S. and EU fossil fuel emissions by 2050, to stabilize atmospheric CO2.

Think 1900 living standards and $6-a-gallon gasoline. Ponder the British environment minister’s latest prescription: World War II rationing, no meat or cheese, restrictions on air travel, no veggies not grown locally. Imagine Africans with little solar panels on huts, while kleptocratic dictators get huge payoffs for trading away their people’s right to generate electricity.

We should improve energy efficiency, reduce pollution and develop new energy technologies. But when we act in response to exaggerated or imaginary crises, we railroad through unworkable programs with horrendous unintended consequences.

We need to debate these issues, now — not after the mistakes are made.

Paul Driessen is senior policy adviser for the Congress of Racial Equality and Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, two groups that have received some ExxonMobil support for work by him and others on malaria, Third World agriculture and economics, climate change and other issues. He is the author of “Eco-Imperialism: Green power Black death” (www.Eco-Imperialism.com).

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