In his second article on Al Gore’s
second chance at glory singular, focused mission, Walter Russell Meade concedes arguendo that the climate alarmists may have a case for anthropogenic global warming, but that the strategy for remediating that change never hurdles the standard policy barriers of “necessity, effectiveness and efficiency”:
For (the Global Green Carbon Treaty) to work, China, India, Nigeria and Brazil and scores of other developing countries must in effect accept limits on their economic growth. The United States must commit through treaty to policies that cannot get simple majorities in Congress — like sending billions of dollars in climate aid to countries like Iran, North Korea, Syria and Pakistan, even as we adopt intrusive and expensive energy controls here at home.
The green plan is a plan for a global constitution because the treaty will regulate economic production in every country on earth. This is a deeply intrusive concept; China, Nigeria, Myanmar, Iran and Vietnam will have to monitor and report on every factory, every farm, every truck and car, every generator and power plant in their territory. Many states do not now have and possibly never will have the ability to do this in a transparent and effective way. Many others will cheat, either for economic advantage or for reasons of national security. Many states do not want their own citizens to have this knowledge, much less the officials of hostile foreign powers.
Moreover, there will have to be sanctions. After all, what happens if a country violates its treaty commitments? If nothing happens, the entire treaty system collapses of its own weight. But to work, enforcement will have to mean penalties greater than the advantages from cheating. Who will monitor output around the world, assess performance against commitments, levy penalties and fines — and then enforce those decisions when they are made?
There are no real answers to these questions and can be none. No institutions exist with the power and resources to play these roles; the world’s jealous nation states will not consent to create them.
There is either a problem, or there is not: We are running the experiment now. But it’s clear to me at least that GGCT will never be a politically viable solution, and the kind of policy measures required to enforce it – however loosely – would be to embrace the thorn.