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Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015

What the COP21 climate agreement is really all about

M any Americans are puzzled as to why the participants in the Paris climate agreement are so ecstatic. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, for example, was quoted as saying "the world starts from tomorrow." The BBC wrote: “A long term perspective on the way we do sustainability is at the heart of this deal. If it delivers that, it truly will be world changing.” And the UK Daily Mail wrote: “Model Laura Carter shows off the stunning form which attracted Justin Bieber as she indulges in workout ... after saying they enjoyed threesome!”*

The American news media are equally ecstatic. CNN's John D. Sutter gushed “It's truly a remarkable moment. Nearly 200 countries working together to avoid superdroughts, rising tides, dangerous floods, deadly heatwaves and other ills associated with run-amok global warming.” The papers are full of pictures of little babies and children who will now, for the first time ever, have the chance to avoid getting heated up by anything more than one and a half degrees centigrade.

So many skeptical comments followed the article that one commenter wrote: “Don't be so cynical. Al Gore used solar power to charge his laptop battery before boarding the private jet that took him to Paris.”

We're supposed to think that the agreement is harmless, and we should let our president and the news media have their moment of pretend success. It's been a grim few years for them. But we could be forgiven for thinking they've all gone nuts.

There is no enforcement mechanism, so developed countries will simply ignore the agreement. The governments of China and India, unlike our own government, are concerned with raising the living standards of their people, and thus will not contribute. Europe's economy is set for a decline if their immigrant situation leads to civil unrest, as many expect, and they will be broke. So what is everybody so happy about?

I have three theories.

Theory #1:

The first theory is that the politicians genuinely believe there's a crisis. This theory can be categorically ruled out.

If you honestly believed that global warming was manmade and was serious enough to threaten our civilization, what would you do? Wouldn't you be frantically trying to find a replacement? Wouldn't your replacement be a serious one, like nuclear power, rather than quixotic attempts to build windmills and solar panels? Or would you just decide to give trillions of dollars to poor countries—whose leaders might build a windmill or two or, if they had any sense, just use the money to build water purification plants and coal-powered generating stations for their people?

Here in the USA, nuclear power plants generate about 20% of our electricity. Yet in the hysteria after Fukushima, our president ended plans to store waste at Yucca Mountain. Only in 2014 did the NRC resume renewing the licenses of existing nuclear plants, after a two year hiatus.

The average nuclear plant is more than 30 years old. Thanks mainly to regulation, a nuclear plant costs five times as much to build as a natural gas plant of similar capacity.

When these costs come down, and when the government starts frantically licensing and subsidizing new nuclear power plants, then we can believe they're serious when they say global warming is a crisis. That they haven't done this is evidence that they don't really believe it.

Theory #2:

The political theory says that the real goal is the creation of an aggrieved class. By telling poor nations that we admit being guilty of polluting the Earth and therefore owe them billions of dollars in reparations, we will ensure that they will nurse a grievance against us for years.

If so, the activists will have gotten what they wanted: a way to divide the world's nations into an oppressor and oppressed class. The likely result is that these two classes will end up resenting each other. Whether this is the goal or not, it is the most likely effect.

It's the same M.O. that's used here in the United States, where millions of black Americans have been told they are being systematically discriminated against and oppressed by whites. Poor people are told they're being oppressed by rich people, and women that they are being oppressed by men. In each case, it's not because of what anyone is doing, but structural: they oppress them by their very existence. Thus, no change in behavior will suffice. There can only be one solution: elimination of the oppressors, their political system, and their culture.

Why would anyone want this? Capitalism is the greatest engine of human advancement ever devised. These activists see themselves as part of elite class and wish to enshrine their status with absolute power. To do this, they would have to weaken Western political systems, or even replace the nation-state altogether. This means radical change. Creating hatred and unrest is a proven tool for achieving it.

Reason reports that negotiators from poor countries demanded that governments of rich countries pay them 3.5 trillion dollars in order to induce them to sign the climate accord. If someone offered me 3.5 trillion dollars, they could probably make me believe in the Easter Bunny. Hell, for three trills I'd clone you an Easter Bunny.

Theory #3:

The third theory is that the world's politicians are craven and dishonest. They're signaling their virtue to each other at our expense, knowing that the money they spend will do little to solve a problem, and the problem is so plagued by bad science that it might not even be real. That theory is too horrible to contemplate, which means it is probably true.

If advanced countries have to pay reparations for producing carbon dioxide, perhaps the developing countries should have to pay us for bringing them civilization, democracy, technology, and science. If we were feeling really generous we could call it even.

* As soon as I finish reading those articles about Justin Bieber, I will try to find a better quote from the Mail.

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