Heartland Update: A Californian and an Environmentalist

The Heritage Foundation
March 9, 2009

This morning’s breakfast had two very interesting speakers: climate skeptic Congressman Tom McClintock from California and Canadian author, columnist and environmentalist Lawrence Solomon. Solomon is a founder and managing director of the Energy Probe Research Foundation and is a strong advocate of renewable energy and written a book against urban sprawl.

When Congressman McClintock addressed the audience he emphasized
that the actual threat of global warming is a big one, but not because
of temperature and more so because of what the radical environmentalist
movement can do to control the message and hurt the economy. He
discussed the detrimental economic and environmental effects that the
state’s ethanol policy had on California and warned that California
should not be the model for the rest of the country.

He said:

People love to watch events in California – in much the
same way that people love to gawk at car wrecks. You feel guilty about
it, of course, and you know you shouldn’t stare, but you just can’t
help yourselves. But you do anyway and there’s at least a respectable
reason for it. When you drive by that wreck, you can tell your
children, ‘Kids, that’s what happens when you don’t pay attention when
you drive.’ And California’s wreck is a good time to remind voters,
‘Kids, that’s what happens when you don’t pay attention when you vote.”

The quote drew a resounding applause.

Solomon, a man of sincere intellectual integrity, noted that the
environmentalist radicals in the global warming movement are starting
to fear that they will lose all credibility under a bunch of scenarios.
1.) We will enter a period of global cooling. 2.) People will not stand
for the economic effects of a carbon tax. 3.) There will be rolling
brown outs and black outs as a result of inefficient electricity supply
coming from wind and solar energy. Just as a reminder, this is coming
from an environmentalist in support of renewable technology.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of Soloman’s speech was his telling
stories of the damage international carbon reducing plans are doing to
the developing world. Rather than reducing carbon-generating sources of
energy at home, many developed countries are buying carbon credits from
hydro dams. These governments will displace citizens from their homes
without much warning or compensation.

See, for instance, this January story by Joe McDonald and Charles J. Hanley, Associated Press writers:

“The hydroelectric dam, a low wall of concrete slicing
across an old farming valley, is supposed to help a power company in
distant Germany contribute to saving the climate – while putting
lucrative “carbon credits” into the pockets of Chinese developers.

But in the end the new Xiaoxi dam may do nothing to lower
global-warming emissions as advertised. And many of the 7,500 people
displaced by the project still seethe over losing their homes and
farmland.

‘Nobody asked if we wanted to move,” said a 38-year-old man whose
family lost a small brick house. ‘The government just posted a notice
that said, ‘Your home will be demolished.’”

Now, just imagine if we ask these developing nations to cut their
own emissions. Carbon trading schemes among the developing world is
already hurting these countries. A global plan to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions will de-develop the developed world and halt and reverse any
economic progress made by the developing world.

That should certainly open up some eyes and ears of politicians.

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