Yesterday I painted a rather gloomy picture of brownouts and forced rationing of CO2 emissions, the logical outcome of the Konsensus strategy to defeat global warming.
(Repeated disclaimer: There is a broad consensus in science on a narrow interpretation of human-caused global warming. 66% of climate scientists believe half or more of the current warming period is caused by human emissions of CO2. I don’t dispute that–in fact it would not surprise me if that turned out to be the case. However, there is a parallel Konsensus of media hounds, NGOs, marketers and even a few scientists who have made it their mission in life to exaggerate the impacts for political effect, and it is this latter group that concerns me.)
As I pointed out yesterday, the Konsensus has already greenmailed many multinational companies into greenwashing their corporate image. They have most governments cowed into submission on this issue. Most people in the developed world agree with the scientific consensus and have not yet seen the over-reach in what the Konsensus proposes.
The Konsensus is winning the political battle. The Tobacco Strategy will get them where they want to go. And this strategy, which failed utterly in stopping smoking or curbing the activities of tobacco companies, is the one that opponents of the Konsensus have to beat. The strategy being used today by the Konsensus will not reduce emissions–they will just offshore them–but it is not likely to matter much to the activists and lawyers who will be enriched by the spoils of the battle.
Nonetheless, the Konsensus will use the political legitimacy garnered by show trials of fossil fuel companies and media coverage of them to move towards limits on individual emissions of CO2. The first effect of which will be a reversal of the reforestation we have seen for the last 40 years, as enterprising scofflaws will chop down trees to feed wood stoves ‘off the meter.’
To beat them, skeptics and we lukewarmers will have to look a bit further back in history. Tobacco is not the only substance that was legislated against in the past.
For a strategy to beat the Konsensus, I offer for your examination Prohibition.
Alcohol was banned in the United States for 13 years and was demonized in a way not seen since–until tobacco and CO2 became the next targets. According to Wikipedia “It was promoted by the “dry” crusaders, a movement led by rural Protestants and social Progressives in the Democratic and Republican parties, and was coordinated by the Anti-Saloon League, and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. Prohibition was mandated under the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Enabling legislation, known as the Volstead Act, set down the rules for enforcing the ban and defined the types of alcoholic beverages that were prohibited.”
Despite support from activists that led to a constitutional amendment, Prohibition only lasted 13 years. This offers hope to those of us who think that the activists are wrong in their approach and anti-democratic in their methods.
Prohibition instantly created one of the biggest black markets the world has ever seen. Canada and Mexico sold liquor to Americans who chose not to abide by the law, rendering it almost unenforceable.
Funnily enough, Canada and Mexico are very large suppliers of fossil fuels.
Prohibition led to Al Capone and a massive increase in organized crime, helping drive public opinion against the legislation. Punitive controls on family use of fossil fuels will quite likely have a similar effect.
Although today’s public accepts the scientific consensus, they are not terribly concerned about climate change as a problem to be solved. Although the Konsensus may be able to put controls on fossil fuels into place, as these controls begin to bite, the public will turn against them.
The only way the Konsensus strategy would work is if renewable energy stepped up to the plate and actually delivered what the Konsensus has promised (or alternatively, if the Konsensus embraced nuclear power as an acceptable alternative to fossil fuels). In which case it wouldn’t matter. It would be a nice touch of irony if the Konsensus had to make the move to nuclear to save their necks.
The winning strategy is to let the Konsensus beat themselves. Sandbag the heck out of ’em.