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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Modest Proposal for Saving the Planet

Okay, guys, Al Gore has told us that global warming will destroy the planet. Pay no attention to the falling temperatures world wide. You see, the rising carbon levels have actually caused the falling temperatures which will cause the rising temperature levels which is why the polar ice caps will melt completely away even though they are at their largest expansion since 1979 which is, of course, because of global warming. Don't think about it too hard, it'll hurt your brain.

So, obviously, it's time for us to save the planet. But how, you ask?

Easy peasy according to the much respected Global Commons, Inc.. The Secret is contraction and convergence (C&C) GC's exciting proposal for saving the planet and (coincidently) turning the planet into a vast worker's paradise.

How does G&C work. Global Commons recognizes two principles for saving the planet:

1. That global emissions of carbon dioxide must be progressively reduced

Why? Because a bunch of UN scientists say so.

2. Reductions must be based on justice and fairness

Why? Have you people never read Karl Marx?

Global Commons says we need to answer just two questions in order to save the planet.

1. What is the maximum level of carbon dioxide that can be permitted in the atmosphere without serious climate destabilisation?

What Global Commons is suggesting is that we figure out how much carbon we ought to be allowed (gotta keep the fearless leaders' swimming pools heated after all - they work so hard for all of us). They propose coming up with this currently imaginary number and then assigning every person a carbon ration. These rations could be traded, bought and sold and generally used as chips in the great global game of wealth redistribution.

One potential political problem with the whole carbon allowance scheme is this
: Small, poor countries with big populations which have little industry, transportation and low energy useage would inevitably sell their large unused carbon allowance to wealthy nations, thereby transferring wealth to poor countries from rich ones without having to resort to war or extortion. The only problem with this idea is that in order to keep the carbon dollars flowing, how many benevolent despots in third world countries will want to risk passing those dollars along to their people who will (selfishly) want to spend it on goodies that increase the country's carbon footprint. There ought to be some nice presidential palaces built with all those carbon bucks and the military industrial complex ought to make a nice living building weapons for the presidentes, but then I'm sort of a pessimist about human nature in that way. Better yet, instead of extorting taxes from the peasants, the third world dictators would simply extort it from wealthy energy using western nations and ease up on the peasants a little so they will be less discontented with their poverty, the 3rd world regimes a little more stable (with all those new soldiers and tanks and stuff) and the wealthy nations a lot less economically healthy. Of course, when the western economies collapse and can't or won't pay the carbon offsets to the third world countries, there will be a lot of hungry little despots with big weapons running around looking for someone to shoot.

The second question the global warming enthusiasts say we should answer is this:

2. By what date should global per capita shares converge to the level that we're all equally poor/rich/using energy?

In other words when will everyone in the world be emitting carbon equally (except of course for the fearless leaders who must heat their jacuzzis after a hard day unselfishly running the lives of billions of human beings)?

Another problem: As we said above, the transfer of wealth in the form of purchased carbon credits from the rich nations to the poor cannot continue forever. Money spent on something which is of no intrinsic value is ultimately like blood being dripped out of an open vein. If you don't stop it, the person soons turns pale and drops over dead. Since rich nations are not in the habit of dropping over dead, it's unlikely that anyone is going to willingly volunteer to open up a vein (other than to donate the occasional pint of foreign aid). The plan depends on wealthy, comfortable nations being willing to become poorer and less comfortable to work.

Now there's only so much fear of the planet being destroyed we'll accept without evidence that it is, in fact, being destroyed. You need to do something about the National Geographic Channel and the Discover Channel and Animal Planet. The keep showing huge herds of wildebeests, flamingos and not yet dead migrating whales. Unless people see some flooded coastal cities or a couple thousand dead zebras pretty soon, they're not going to buy the whole global warming deal - especially if they are doing without food or their government starts telling them they can't have kids and stuff. That kind of thing is really gonna be unpopular in the western ghettos and slums where the number of kids you have determines how large your welfare check is going to be.

It's like my great aunt Agnes. The preacher one Sunday preached a sermon about sin.

"It is a sin," he said, "To drink alcohol in ANY form!"

"Amen," she sang out from her back pew.

"Oh, and brothers and sisters it is a powerful sin," he said, "To smoke those cigarettes and those nasty old ceegars!"

"Preach it, brother," Aunt Agnes shouted and stood up and held her hands in the air in praise!

"And it is also a sin, practiced in secret by some of our congregation," he warned, "To be dipping snuff and chewing tobacco!"

"Oh, damned," Agnes sat down shaking her head and frowning. "He done stopped preaching and done started meddling!"

Let me here make my own modest proposal for saving the planet: There are only two elements to the proposal (so that even Democrats can keep track).

1. Treat others the way you want to be treated. This means cleaning up your own mess whenever you make one. If you spill oil, you get to clean it up. If you're the CEO of the company and the company goes bankrupt and can't pay for it, some judge puts you and your entire adminstrative staff, the captain of the tanker and all your accountants out on the beach with soap and rags and shovels and bags, scooping up sludge and scrubbing down oily ducks and otters. If you stink up the air, you fix your pipes so you don't and plant some trees or something to help freshen up the atmosphere around your plant. If you dump your trash willy nilly into the sea or your sewerage in the river, we make you stop and pay for cleaning it up. In all cases, whoever made the decision to mess it up gets to put on hip boots and help with the cleanup. Pollution would be over pretty soon if that were the policy.

2. From today on, everyone's borders are the same. No one gets to take land from anyone else. No one gets to take over anyone else's country unless they want to become a state or something and we all vote to do that - I'm thinking Tawain would make a nice 51st state. They're loaded and I'd really like to hack off China.

If you don't like where you live, find someplace where they'll let you move to where they do things you like. If you like misery and oppression, good for you. If you don't, we'll help you start over. Instead of war, we could get Bekins to just move people. Or you can clean out your own government. The U.S. did it back in 1776. So can you - especially in those small countries. Those guys in charge aren't that tough - not when there are 3 million of you and just a handful of them. You just have to believe freedom is worth fighting for. I think this proposal would cause peace to break out inevitably.

Just One Man's Opinion.

Tom King

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