The Corner

World

U.N. Secretary General: Use Plague Crisis to Make Fossil Fuel Industries ‘Pay’

Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres speaks during a Security Council meeting about the situation in Syria at U.N. Headquarters in New York, February 28, 2020. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Ever since the COVID-19 crisis erupted, commentators have predicted that leftists/globalists would try to hitch global warming to the ongoing fight against coronavirus — not that this required true prophetic gifts. Progressives think every crisis requires the dilution of national sovereignty, increased regulations, wealth redistribution, and higher taxes — including to combat the obesity epidemic.

Unsurprisingly, and right on schedule, U.N. secretary general António Guterres has an op-ed in today’s New York Times filled with the usual global-warming bromides — arguing that the fights against the virus and climate change should be joined into one six-point “climate positive” plan. You like your economic suppression? You like your heavy-handed government regulatory control? You like your globalism? Then, Guterres is your man.

He writes:

A recovery from the coronavirus crisis must not take us just back to where we were last summer. It is an opportunity to build more sustainable and inclusive economies and societies — a more resilient and prosperous world.

How would Guterres get from here to there? The piece is mostly bereft of policy specifics — specifics breed opposition, after all — but there is one point he makes that we should focus on clearly because of its catastrophic certainty (my emphasis):

Looking forward, public funds should invest in the future, by flowing to sustainable sectors and projects that help the environment and climate. Fossil fuel subsidies must end and polluters must pay for their pollution.

Think about exactly what Guterres is advocating in this mushy paragraph. By “polluters must pay for their pollution,” he isn’t referring to the cost of cleaning up oil spills or the remediation of fouled rivers, for which actual polluters are properly held responsible. Rather, he means requiring fossil-fuel enterprises to pay for all perceived costs allegedly caused by carbon emissions.

If recent history and the statements of green activists are any guide, “must pay,” is likely a passive way of saying bankrupting the oil industry, natural-gas industry, coal industry, fracking enterprises, pipeline companies, oil and gas storage facilities, oil refineries, etc. — all of which would be strip-mined of every asset they own in the way asbestos companies (actual polluters) were destroyed — with the money used to subsidize industries favored by the would-be planet savers and to pay destitute areas of the world to stifle natural-resource development. Think about the corruption potential!

In other words, in the great cause of “saving the planet,” open season would be declared against energy industries engaged in perfectly legal enterprises that have been responsible for creating the best standard of living in human history. The actual outcome of such a policy would be the obliteration of wealth, the stifling of innovation, and the loss of countless jobs.

Toward the end of his piece, Guterres writes:

For years, we have failed our young by damaging the planet and failing to protect the people most vulnerable to crises. We have a rare and short window of opportunity to rectify that — by rebuilding a better world, not reverting to one that is good for only a minority of its citizens.

Baloney. Authoritarian central planning never works and it wouldn’t “save the planet.” It would just make us all less prosperous and free.

Most Popular

U.S.

First, Restore Order

Doing evil in the service of a just cause does not change either side of the moral equation: Evil remains evil, and the just cause remains just — neither consideration cancels out the other or transmutes it. With riots and violence convulsing American cities after the horrifying death of George Floyd at the ... Read More
U.S.

First, Restore Order

Doing evil in the service of a just cause does not change either side of the moral equation: Evil remains evil, and the just cause remains just — neither consideration cancels out the other or transmutes it. With riots and violence convulsing American cities after the horrifying death of George Floyd at the ... Read More
Elections

Trump in Trouble

President Trump was disappointed. Bad weather on Wednesday forced a delay in SpaceX's planned launch of the Dragon spacecraft, robbing the president of a prized photo opportunity. He plans to attend the next launch, scheduled for May 30 at 3:22 p.m. EDT, but the spoiled visit to Florida punctuated another week of ... Read More
Elections

Trump in Trouble

President Trump was disappointed. Bad weather on Wednesday forced a delay in SpaceX's planned launch of the Dragon spacecraft, robbing the president of a prized photo opportunity. He plans to attend the next launch, scheduled for May 30 at 3:22 p.m. EDT, but the spoiled visit to Florida punctuated another week of ... Read More

Tired of ‘Winning’ Yet?

I’ve never really thought of Mark Steyn as a Palestinian suicide bomber before. You’ll want some context. Steyn, a wonderful writer and former National Review colleague, was filling in for Rush Limbaugh a few weeks ago, and he made the case for using antitrust law to bully technology platforms such as ... Read More

Tired of ‘Winning’ Yet?

I’ve never really thought of Mark Steyn as a Palestinian suicide bomber before. You’ll want some context. Steyn, a wonderful writer and former National Review colleague, was filling in for Rush Limbaugh a few weeks ago, and he made the case for using antitrust law to bully technology platforms such as ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Is It Revolution?

I knew I was tempting fate a week ago when I said that the coming nomination of Joe Biden and the COVID-19 pandemic had put America’s politics on chill during this election year. Little did I know that days later we’d be making analogies to 1968. The killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis policeman moved ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Is It Revolution?

I knew I was tempting fate a week ago when I said that the coming nomination of Joe Biden and the COVID-19 pandemic had put America’s politics on chill during this election year. Little did I know that days later we’d be making analogies to 1968. The killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis policeman moved ... Read More
PC Culture

For Looters, Looting Is Fun

One important thing to realize about looting is that it's usually enjoyable for those engaged in it, who exult in the momentary suspension of any rules. Just a couple of examples from the last couple of days (language ... Read More
PC Culture

For Looters, Looting Is Fun

One important thing to realize about looting is that it's usually enjoyable for those engaged in it, who exult in the momentary suspension of any rules. Just a couple of examples from the last couple of days (language ... Read More