July 7, 2009



Green Jackets, Brown Shirts

Cap And Trade: Al Gore has likened his crusade against global warming to the world's struggle against Nazis. He said this while speaking in a country that is organizing a team of environmental storm troopers.

Gore didn't come right out and call global warming skeptics Nazis while addressing an audience at Oxford University in England. But then, he didn't have to. By simply violating Godwin's Law — which essentially says that an argument dies the moment someone makes a comparison to Nazis — in the way he did, Gore labeled anyone who opposes his agenda a fascist.

While the former vice president was delivering his sermon, the British were busy creating a para-police squad that will enforce government-imposed carbon dioxide emissions limits. Take a good look, because the formation of this team could well be a preview of what we'll get if the Democrats' climate change bill becomes law.

So far, the cap-and-trade global warming legislation — known as the Waxman-Markey bill — has been passed only in the House. The Senate still has to take it up, and then a conference committee would write a version that both chambers would agree to vote on should the Senate approve legislation that has differences.

Any bill passed will of course have to be signed by President Obama. But the only question there is not whether he'll sign it but whether he'll turn the event into a circus bigger than Michael Jackson's memorial.

What comes next is the legalized extortion of the American people. Some analysts estimate that this scheme to save us from ourselves could by 2030 cost each American family as much $4,300 a year and destroy 2.5 million jobs. That's even counting the "green" jobs the bill's supporters claim it will create.

In return for that sacrifice, people living in our world a century from now will experience a global temperature that is projected to be one-tenth to two-tenths of one degree Celsius cooler than it would have been without the legislation.

While the loss of economic liberty is chilling enough, how much more freedom will be lost if Washington follows London's lead and establishes a cap-and-trade police force?

The United Kingdom's Carbon Reduction Commitment, which applies to nonenergy-intensive businesses, goes into effect next year. Ahead of that, the government's Environment Agency is establishing a squad of 50 auditors that will be charged with catching companies that exceed their CO2 emissions limits.

If news reports from Britain are to be believed, this will not be a collegial staff of ordinary green-eyeshade auditors riding desks. This group will be armed with warrants and have the power to search private grounds, snoop through energy bills, carbon-trading records and receipts from suppliers, and seize evidence.

The auditors will be granted the authority to spy on businesses without their knowledge as well as to show up at a company's doorstep for what is likely to be an intimidating visit if, the London Times reports, the company's numbers "do not add up."

It's not clear if the auditors — who are to wear green jackets — will be able to charge private businesses that overstep their carbon output allocations with criminal offenses. But no one should be surprised if they do.

This sort of crackpot scheme is yet another case of foolishness that makes it seem like the world has gone mad. It hasn't. Still, enough pockets of hysteria and second-rate thinking are out there, especially in places of influence, to cause us concern.

When we see benign behavior, such as emitting CO2, become an offense worthy of the attention of a national government, we know we are in a dangerous era. We hope enough rationality remains in the Senate to keep this madness from spreading to the U.S.


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