Freitag, Juni 08, 2007

The Doable and the Divine

Clive Crook, in today's FT, unfortunately behind their subscriber firewall, is finally on to something. His OpEd, titled "Bush may be on to something..." recognizes, finally, belatedly, that having a workable solution is better than truculently insisting that you're right and the other fellow is not only wrong, but a stupid git for not realizing just how wrong he is.

His final sentence is telling:

Cutting carbon is what matters, not building a global government.

All I can say is ... hah!

Sorry, but that is what Kyoto and the entire global warming business - and I use that word business deliberately, as it is just that - is about: building a global government. Yesterday's aggreement in Heiligendamm reasserted the role of the UN in governing any future Kyoto-like agreement (and just where will the next conference be held? The poor, suffering dears will have to suffer the unpleasantness of going to Bali to discuss the follow-on to Kyoto! Oh the horror, the horror...), and if you scratch away the veneer of almost any serious carbon-reduction politics, it comes down to a perceived necessity of controlling how the world economy develops.

This is all what is behind the global warming business: trying to take control of the economy away from the shareholders and managers and putting into the hands of people who know better for you.

You will see this in the next months: the repudation of Merkel's compromise of Heiligendamm, the continued vilification of any sort of sensible agreement to reduce pollution, and the continuing forward thrusting of the global warming hysteria.

Crook **is** on to something. He's realized that the politicians are going to do something that none of the global warming scaremongers has dared to do: to talk about what actually can be done, realistically, in the political arena.

Kyoto has been, is and will always be a failure, a fundamentally flawed exercise in political power-grabbing and "feel-good" policies of the worst kind. The fundamental flaw was the desperate attempt back when to at least agree on something, anything that weak politicians could take back home and wave like a Chamberlain from his balcony, an appeasement to the vociferous charlatans of the sky-is-falling global-government-is-necessary crowd.

The Heiligendamm agreement holds the death-knell for this group: it reaffirms the dominance of the political decision over the "scientific" one, due in no small part to the emininently sensible and solid US position, as well as to the fact that neither China nor India is that stupid.

There is always tension in politics between the doable and the divine, between that what is and that what should be. In a perfect world, progress is measured not by what one consumes and uses, but by the purity and beauty of the soul. For all of our sins, we do not live in a perfect world, nor does that perfect world exist except in the imagination - febrile or otherwise - of fantasists, or much more rarely, visionaries.

What will grow from the Heiligendamm agreement? Nothing less than a global agreement on pollution - after all, what use is carbon reduction if, for instance, heat pollution, toxic wastes, etc., are left alone? - that might actually succeed in making life in the terribly polluted, stinking and deadly Third World much better for everyone, not merely the upper levels of society.

And given the inefficiencies of Chinese and Indian industries - think of the US in the 1950s and you have a good idea of what these countries are facing - there would also be a huge incentive for companies to reduce their costs and improve their productivity, which just happens to impact the bottom line. China needs a Clean Air Act, India needs bureaucratic reform and massive investments in infrastructure (China is doing that already), both of which can only happen if those countries continue to develop, with an increasing number of people there in the emerging middle classes.

Replace global warming hysteria with anti-pollution activism, working in those countries that need it the most, and you will have policies that are doable. These succeed: the demands of the global warming business - of seceding national sovereignty to some sort of shadow world government - is doomed to failure.

But as Crook points out, if you're actually interested in reducing pollution, then you'd better be interested in achieving the reasonable, rather than hyping utopia.

Keine Kommentare: