December 8, 2009
Carbon dioxide is a threat to human life, says the EPA under the direction of the Obama Administration. With this declaration, the agency has bypassed Congress and can now begin to regulate CO2 as a toxic substance.
The timing of this declaration was obviously planned to coincide with the Copenhagen climate summit: With the EPA now operating with some fangs, Obama can wheel and deal in Denmark with the credibility of some political weight behind his words. But is the sudden declaration warranted? Is it backed by real science?
Lisa Jackson of the EPA explains the decision “relied on decades of sound, peer-reviewed, extensively evaluated scientific data.” But thanks to the recent discovery of leaked emails from climate change scientists (ClimateGate), I’m beginning to wonder how much of that scientific data was distorted in order to achieve a particular political goal.
Green living = population control?
For the record, I’ve been working hard to spread awareness about reducing our carbon footprint and living sustainably. And unlike many who just talk about it, I’m knee-deep in living it in Ecuador, where I grow roughly 80% of my diet from my own garden while living increasingly “green” off the local land. But even as a green living advocate, I’m more than little concerned how Big Government might twist these climate laws to encroach upon the rights and freedoms of the People.
If CO2 is regulated, for example, it means the very gas you exhale will be considered a hazard to life on Earth. Thus, regulating CO2 could be a sneaky way to start our nation down the road of population control or even population reduction. When a person reaches the age of 65, for example, and they’re about to retire and collect social security, they might then be seen as a carbon-producing financial burden, and mass euthanasia programs could begin to be seriously considered. (This isn’t science fiction. Nursing home patients are already being routinely euthanized with psychiatric drugs and painkillers right now…)
Of course, most carbon comes not from the respiration of human beings, but rather from the vehicles they drive and the carbon miles underlying the products they consume. There’s no question that Americans, in particular, are extremely wasteful when it comes to energy usage. They drive huge, over-powered vehicles for hours a day as a way of life, and they purchase food and other products that have burned up gallons of fossil fuels just to arrive at the local stores. The American way of life is, without debate, extremely wasteful of energy resources. (In most cities, it is also ridiculously non-sustainable…)
There’s a lot that can be done to reduce energy consumption in America and therefore reduce the nation’s CO2 emissions, but at what cost, exactly? What will Americans have to give up in order to meet the new emissions goals?
The senseless wasting of energy must stop
That idea frightens a lot of people, but on the other hand, as someone who now lives permanently in a developing nation, I can say with rare authenticity that living in America causes you to become addicted to the luxuries of easy energy. There’s a whole lot of room for Americans to reduce their carbon footprint, but it means giving up some of the luxuries we all tend to take for granted. Driving to Blockbuster to return a rented DVD, for example, is just plain stupid. Why burn gas to push a 4,000-pound vehicle around town to return a 6-oz. piece of circular plastic? It makes no sense.
Building new homes with poor insulation makes no sense, either. And yet the building codes all across America still favor the short-term profits of home construction companies rather than long-term sustainability and energy efficiency.
For many years, I lived in Tucson, Arizona. Tucson is a desert, with roughly 330 days of sunlight a year. It’s the perfect environment for a rooftop-mounted solar hot water heater that would replace all the gas and electricity used to heat hot water for local homes. But how many homes in Tucson are built with rooftop solar hot water heaters? Virtually none. It’s the same story in Phoenix, Albuquerque, San Diego and even Los Angeles. KB Home and other builders keep erecting these cookie-cutter homes with no renewable energy components whatsoever. And why? Because it makes the homes a thousand bucks cheaper to sell to someone.
This kind of short-sighted energy nonsense has got to stop in America. Even without the climate change debate, it’s still senseless to go on burning up the world’s fossil fuels when there’s so much renewable energy available for the taking if we only had the foresight to think beyond the next fiscal quarter. There’s enough spare sunlight in the deserts of Arizona to power the entire nation with solar, by the way. With enough solar panels, Arizona could position itself as the Middle East of America.
I would much rather see America embrace renewable energy (and some commonsense consumption modifications) than have Big Brother wade into the fray with carbon limits and punitive fines. Government is a crude weapon for social change. It only knows how to criminalize behavior it doesn’t like. It’s terrible at educating consumers and businesses to change in responsible, sustainable ways. My concern with the EPA’s decision today is that instead of getting a push towards a sustainable future powered with more renewable energy, we’re going to get a new layer of energy tyranny that smothers the freedoms Americans are already fighting desperately to preserve.
Ask yourself this question: What has Big Government done well?
Big Government = Big failures
Think about Big Government has done for you lately: The H1N1 vaccine program was a total fiasco. The national taxation system is a paperwork nightmare. Health care is a complete joke. The Wall Street investment system is a government-sponsored casino that favors the rich. The prison system is a disaster. Public education has fallen to new lows in both funding and innovation. The war in Afghanistan drags on as a failed imperialist catastrophe. Agricultural policy, farm subsidies and the regulation of food and drugs are all completely off course, causing far more harm than good.
Now imagine Big Government running a carbon trading system — or even personal carbon footprint limits that result in you receiving heavy fines if you exceed the government-mandated personal quota. This is precisely what could happen under a new “energy tyranny” that has just been initiated by the EPA and the Obama Administration.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for reducing our carbon emissions and living more sustainably. I just don’t like to be told what to do under the threat of being fined, arrested or imprisoned.
Do I have a better plan? Actually, I do. Implement my radical, money-saving health reform proposals and use the hundreds of billions of dollars in savings to invest in solar power generation centers that blanket the nation’s deserts. Using CSP technology (Concentrated Solar Power) — or even some of the more innovative stirling engine / solar concentrator inventions — we could provide power for the entire nation for generations to come.
Or end the war in Afghanistan (which, strangely, Obama the anti-war President has now chosen to escalate even more), bring the troops home and spend the military budget building solar arrays that power America. Why fight for oil at a million dollars a year per soldier (which is what the war is costing, astonishingly) when you can spend a fraction of that building energy sovereignty right here on American soil?
The solutions to our energy problems and our CO2 problems are found in the same place: Renewable energy technology that exists right now, today! Solar and wind really can provide all the electrical power our country needs, and with electric vehicles coming on line over the next few years, we could see a massive shift away from combustion engines and toward electric vehicles powered by solar energy delivered through the power lines. This isn’t radical stuff. It’s doable right now.
But if there’s one thing that I’ve learned about Big Government, it’s that innovation is the enemy of the status quo. Government rarely likes to innovate. It’s more interested in controlling people, and declaring CO2 to be a harmful substance could be just the pretext our bloated, indebted and morally inept national government needs to unleash a new era of carbon controls that suffocate the American people.
Let’s reduce our carbon footprint, YES! But let’s do it in a way that doesn’t increase the reach and power of a government that’s already so large and dangerous it poses a far greater threat to the livelihood of the people than climate change ever has.