Unintended consequences are always part of any new scheme, and emissions trading is no exception. The European model ought to provide plenty of cautionary examples. Free market advocates claim emissions trading is preferable to outright taxation, but ignore the fact that in both cases, a huge and mostly arbitrary transfer of wealth is occurring. Emissions trading increases the prices to consumers just as much as taxes do, and if anything, result in less targeted application of the proceeds.
It may be a good idea to artificially raise the price of energy. Doing this stimulates investment in new sources of energy, thereby helping nations to achieve greater measures of energy independence. But where will all of this capital go? In the European model, much of the proceeds has been used to artificially create a market for biofuel, which in-turn has caused the most devastating rounds of tropical deforestation in history. While environmentalists continue to look the other way, the final destruction of rainforests in Asia and Africa rages unchecked, to clear land for biofuel plantations. It is a catastrophe.
In America, carbon trading will be sold as a free market mechanism to finance energy independence. But what will happen in practice? It has been proposed that communities will be able receive carbon offset proceeds if they enact ordinances that lower their “carbon footprint.” Since the overpaid, over-pensioned, unionized minions who control our local governments can no longer collect building fees – the demands of city governments combined with environmentalist lawsuits have finally managed to collapse the housing market – a “carbon offset” windfall will help them prop up their failing finances.
Don’t be surprised, therefore, when your local city forces you to throw out your incandescent bulbs, and live beneath the Guantanamo glare of unhealthy fluorescents, or bans backyard charcoal BBQs, or fires in your fireplace, or watering your lawn. Don’t be surprised as every beautiful semi-rural suburb is “infilled” into oblivion, as you choke on roads designed for far fewer residents, because the “urban service boundaries” have preserved sacred “open space.” These draconian measures will help earn carbon credit payments for local governments, which in turn will allow city employees to continue to retire in their early 50′s with huge pensions. This is the financial reality behind the propaganda onslaught. This is the hidden agenda.
If you don’t believe that anthropogenic CO2 has any significant role in causing global warming or climate change, and we don’t, then this huge transfer of wealth from the private sector to the public sector, accompanied by tyrannical edicts destroying our way of life, is nothing but tragic folly.