If global warming is the new religion of world socialism - and even the Pope seems to think so - than the IPCC's Bali Conference, now ended, was its High Mass. And from the way some of the particpants have reacted, one might think that . . . well, a noxious fume had been let loose amongst the otherwise pristine sea air circulating in the Global Warming Cathedral. Much to the chagrin of the true believers present in Bali, the US apparently could not be cajoled into putting a stake in capitalism by agreeing to a massive redistribution of its national wealth via a carbon tithe. That in fact was a major motivation of many of the faithful who were present for the services, as reported by one attendee:
A common theme [at the Bali Conference] was that the "solutions" to climate change that are being posed by many governments, such as nuclear power, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and biofuels are false and are not rooted in justice. Another point was that as this current economic system got us here in the first place, a climate change response must . . . [provide for] a redistribution of wealth and resources.
See here. And the U.S. didn't even agree to come on board for an economy busting massive decrease in its carbon footprint, though it did agree to talk more about it.
All of this was apparently too much for the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Yvo de Boer, the man negotiating on behalf of the UN at Bali. Fashionably dressed in eco-friendly church attire - a floral shirt - Mr. de Boer had to be led away when he broke down in tears over the failure to reach an agreement for a hard target reduction in carbon emissions. The "Crying Dutchman's" emotional outburst was emblematic of the angst that many of the parishioners seemed to be feeling when they characterized the end result of Bali as "fatally flawed." It should go without saying that such characterization is all a matter of one's perspective.
But not all in Bali were held back by ecognosticism. Britain's Labour government certainly was not.
The socialists in Britain's Labour government are true believers. Indeed, Labour is trying to indoctrinate Britain's young in this new religion, making the Goracle's "An Inconvenient Truth" part of the national school curriculum for children aged 11 to 13. And Prime Minister Gordon Fawkes Brown considers himself a standard bearer of the faith, vowing to "lead Europe on climate change." Shortly before the Bali service convened, he committed Britain to a massive 60% reduction of carbon emissions by 2050. Its not hard to forecast what that will do to Britain's economy if it ever comes to fruition.
Of course, the reality is that Britain's economy no longer belongs to Brown, he having unilaterally signed over the sovereignty of Britain to the EU the other day. But, that aside, is hardly the end of PM Gordon Fawkes Brown's madness. Christopher Booker comments in the Telegraph upon Gordon's latest folly in Bali, or, as Booker characterizes it, "the maddest single decision ever made by British ministers." Booker is referring to Gordon's decision, announced through his Secretary Timothy Hutton "amid the clouds of self-righteous humbug billowing out from Bali," to build "7,000 giant offshore wind turbines round Britain's coast by 2020, to meet our EU target on renewable energy." Booker examines this "megalomaniac project" that defies reality:
For a start, no one mentioned costs. Mr Hutton spoke of his turbines, equivalent to one every half mile of coastline, as having a capacity of 33 gigawatts (GW), a hefty chunk of the 75GW of power we need at peak demand. But with the cost of giant offshore turbines, as tall as 850 feet, estimated at £1.6 billion per GW of capacity, this represents a bill of more than £50 billion - equivalent to the colossal sum earmarked last week by central banks to shore up the world banking system.
But of course the point about offshore turbines is that, because wind blows intermittently, they only generate on average at a third or less of capacity. So Mr Hutton's 33GW figure comes down to 11GW. To generate this much power from "carbon-free" nuclear energy would require six or seven nuclear power stations and cost, at something under £20 billion, less than half as much as the turbines.
This, however, is only the start of the madness. Because those turbines would generate on average only a third of the time, back-up would be needed to provide power for the remaining two thirds - say, another 12 nuclear power stations costing an additional £30 billion, putting the real cost of Mr Hutton's fantasy at nearer £80 billion - more than doubling our electricity bills.
. . . The turbines' siting would mean that much of the national grid would have to be restructured, costing further billions. And because wind power is so unpredictable and needs other sources available at a moment's notice, it is generally accepted that any contribution above 10 per cent made by wind to a grid dangerously destabilises it.
Two years ago, much of western Europe blacked out after a rush of German windpower into the continental grid forced other power stations to close down. The head of Austria's grid warned that the system was becoming so unbalanced by the "excessive" building of wind turbines that Europe would soon be "confronted with massive connector problems". Yet Mr Hutton's turbines would require a system capable of withstanding power swings of up to 33GW, when the only outside backup on which our island grid can depend is a 2GW connector to France (which derives 80 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power). . .
Amen. If only Ted Kennedy had a summer home overlooking the North Sea, Booker and his small number of like minded heretical Brits might able to generate some staunch opposition to such a project.
The bottom line of all this is that socialists are largely ascendent throughout the world today, they are using global warming as a tool to advance their political philosophy, and we may well get dragged into this if we are not careful. While we desperately need to get off oil, and we do need to husband the environment, those things have precious little in common with goals and methods of the religion of global warming. Newt Gingrich's A Contract With The Earth is well worth a read in this regard.
Addendum: Reading the Treaty of Lisbon the other day was quite educational. The Treaty of Lisbon is the one just signed that marks the EU's debut as a true state and establishes a Constitution for the EU. The fine folks at the EU have taken the dubious scientific proposition of global warming, turned it into dogma, and made it a matter of Constitutional law.
By Article 4 of the new Lisbon Treaty/Constitution, the EU takes primacy to pass laws on the "environment." The Treaty/Constitution amends Article 179 to explicitly recognize the problem of "climate change" as an "environmental" problem and provides the EU with a constitutional mandate to take appropriate measures to "deal with" it. It is a constitutional excuse for centralizing power and redistributing wealth on a scale unheard of. And as Constitutional law, that means that judicially, "climate change" is a settled issue. No amount of scientific argument will even be heard as a means to challenge any law the EU chooses to pass in which they claim global warming as a justification. The ramifications of that are just jaw dropping. If global warming is a socialist's wet dream, than the people that staff the EU are going to bed warm and comfy each night in globally warmed pup tents.
Update: Is it possible for true believers to corner the market on hypocrisy? (H/T Instapundit)