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Climate Hypocrites
Island nations underwater, and offsetting princes.


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Mark Steyn

The best summation of the U.N. climate circus in Denmark comes from Andrew Bolt of Australia’s Herald Sun: “Nothing is real in Copenhagen — not the temperature record, not the predictions, not the agenda, not the ‘solution.’”

Just so. Reuters, for example, carried a moving account of the speech by Ian Fry, lead negotiator for Tuvalu, the beleaguered Pacific island nation soon to be underwater because of a planet-devastating combination of your SUV and unsustainable bovine flatulence from Vermont farms. “The fate of my country rests in your hands,” Fry told the meeting. “I make this as a strong and impassioned plea. . . . I woke this morning and I was crying and that was not easy for a grown man to admit,” he continued, “his voice choking with emotion,” in the Reuters reporter’s words. Who could fail to be moved?

My country, ’tis of thee
Sweet land near rising sea
Of thee I choke!

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Alas, nowhere in this emotionally harrowing dispatch was there room to mention that Ian Fry’s country is not Tuvalu but Australia, where he lives relatively safe from rising sea levels, given that he’s a hundred miles inland. A career doom-monger, he’s resided in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, for over a decade while working his way, in the revealing phrase of his neighbor Michelle Ormay, to being “very high up in climate change.” As to whether the emotion-choked lachrymose pleader has ever lived in “his” endangered country of Tuvalu, his wife told Samantha Maiden of The Australian that she would “rather not comment.” Like his fellow Copenhagen delegate Brad Pitt, Ian Fry is an actor: He’s not a Tuvaluan, but he plays one on the world stage.

Whether he’s an Aussie or a Tuvaluan, Fry’s future king is Welsh, since under the British Commonwealth’s environmentally responsible king-share program, the Prince of Wales is simultaneously heir to the thrones of Britain, Australian, Tuvalu, and a bunch of other countries. His Royal Highness was also in Copenhagen last week, telling delegates that there were now only seven years left to save the planet. Prince Charles is so famously concerned about the environment that he’s known as the Green Prince. Just for the record, his annual carbon footprint is 2,601 tons. The carbon footprint of an average Briton (i.e., all those wasteful, consumerist, environmentally unsustainable deadbeats) is 11 tons. To get him to Copenhagen to deliver his speech, His Highness was flown in by one of the Royal Air Force’s fleet of VIP jets from the Royal Squadron. Total carbon emissions: 6.4 tons. In other words, the Green Prince used up seven months’ of an average Brit’s annual carbon footprint on one short flight to give one mediocre speech of alarmist boilerplate.

But relax, it’s all cool, because he offsets! According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the prince will be investing in exciting new green initiatives. “Investing” as in “using his own money,” you mean? Not exactly. Apparently, it will be taxpayers’ money. So he’ll “offset” the cost of using up seven months of an average peasant’s carbon footprint on one flight by taking the peasant’s money and tossing it down some sinkhole. No wonder he feels so virtuous. Oh, don’t worry, though. He does have to pay a personal penalty for the sin of flying by private jet: 70 pounds. Which is the cost of about six new trees, or rather less than the bill for parking at Heathrow would have been.

So just to recap: The Prince of Wales, a man who has never drawn his own curtains, ramps up a carbon footprint of 2,601 tons while telling us that Western capitalist excess is destroying the planet. Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, the railroad engineer who heads the International Panel on Climate Change and has demanded that “hefty aviation taxes should be introduced to deter people from flying,” flew 443,226 miles on “IPCC business” in the year and a half before the Copenhagen summit. And Al Gore is a carbon billionaire: He makes more money buying offsets from himself than his dad did from investing in Occidental Petroleum.

All of the above are, as that ersatz Tuvaluan delegate’s neighbor would say, “very high up in climate change.” But what about all the non-high-ups? Not just the low-level toadies like Associated Press “science” reporter Seth Borenstein, who dutifully pooh-poohed the idea that the leaked Climategate e-mails were of any significance and, for his pains, was rewarded by having to stand in line with thousands of other no-name warm-mongers for seven hours in the freezing streets of Copenhagen. All because the IPCC accredited 45,000 delegates to a space that accommodates 15,000 — but don’t worry, when it comes to recalibrating the planet’s climate, I’m sure they’ll run the numbers more carefully.

But forget Borenstein and other hangers-on. Even making allowances for the stupidity of youthful idealism, the protesters in the streets of Copenhagen seem especially obtuse. Far from sticking it to the Man, they’re cheerleading for the biggest Man of all: They’re supporting a new globalized feudalism in which Prince Charles, Prince Al, Prince Rajendra, and others “very high up in climate change” jet around the world at public expense telling the rest of us we need to stay put. A British parliamentarian recently proposed that everyone be issued with an annual “carbon allowance” that would be drawn down every time he booked a flight, or filled up his car, or bought a washer and dryer instead of beating his laundry on the rocks down by the river with the village women every week. You think the Prince of Wales or any other member of the new global elite will be subject to that “allowance”?



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