During a trip to Warsaw a few years ago, I was asked by the economic minister for energy — or maybe it was the energy minister for economy — why it was that the British had become so heavy-handed about forcing the “global warming” regime on the rest of the world. I had just related an episode during which UK special envoy Henry Derwent — since named President & CEO of the International Emissions Trading Association, as chance would have it, a perch from which he now advises our Congress — leaned on an academic friend of mine, Dr. Gabriel Calzada, whose vocal arguments against this moonbattery in columns and on television had caused no end of heartburn for Brussels.
Oddly, this criticism from Madrid rang most offensive in Whitehall. The UK has been leading this train for some time for reasons that were not readily apparent — unless they had to do with a certain prime minister’s rumored aspirations as the first “president of Europe” or SecGen of the UN. Envoys were dispatched to meet with my Spanish friend between their meetings with Spain’s ministers for industry and environment.
Calzada — who now faces calls for his passport to be revoked for the sin of having been “unpatriotic” in letting the cat out of the bag about Spain’s “green jobs” disaster — had called me after his meeting with Derwent &co, amazed at what he had just been presented. In short, he was asked what it would take for him to shut up — wooed also with the claim that Derwent was that very day offering Spain’s ministers “temporary exemptions” from cap-and-trade for energy-intensive industries (which had already begun fleeing Spain upon enforcement of the Emissions Trading Scheme) if only Spain would stop causing trouble and sign on to a second, steeper Kyoto. Technically, this wasn’t theirs to offer. This didn’t seem to bother them.
Derwent also said, I am told, that the UK would go along with a claim that Spain got a raw deal in the “first” Kyoto, in that they turned in their old, ratified Kyoto promise for an 8 percent reduction below 1990 emission levels, for a brand new if horribly cruel “reduction” of a 15 percent increase over 1990 levels under Europe’s “burden sharing agreement”. The BSA — which you can’t spell without BS! — allowed Europe to get off just about Scot-free by collectivizing and spreading around emissions reductions that had arisen from two decisions unrelated to and preceding Kyoto: the reunification of German, and the closing of UK coal mines in that country’s dash to natural gas (which gas is now trickling to a halt). That, Team Derwent said, was clearly unfair, and they would lobby for it to be remedied if only Spain played ball.
After I finished relating that story, the Polish minister nodded to one of his aides — giving the go-ahead to divulge Poland’s own experiences with the Derwent gang, which concluded with a sigh that “they’re worse than Brussels.” What accounted for this missionary zeal? Inquiries among politically connected Brits inevitably produced no more than puzzled speculation.
I add here, however, one more meeting I had — this time at BP’s headquarters in London. There, a senior public-affairs official detailed for me an ambitious plan of getting the state to require micro-wind on every home’s available roof surface by mandating each home be a net contributor of electricity.
Upon questioning, he explained why he thought micro-wind mandates were necessary: only government force could overcome the stigma of such contraptions being associated with Council housing — and eventually, people would get used to them, just as they got used to satellite-TV dishes. (On every corner?) This was one of a few schemes he detailed to explain how BP hoped to recoup its investments in the loser technologies most other energy companies had gotten out of ages ago. Having done the math, BP realized those sectors could become profitable only with the help of intrusive government nagging.
All of these ideas have since manifested themselves in UK government policies and proposals in one form or another.
All of which came back to me as I read Greg’s post below and Mark Steyn’s post over at the Corner noting the unseemliness of the UK’s release of a terrorist for what appears to be oil concessions favoring BP.
There is certainly an air in all of this of a “what’s good for BP is good for HMG.” And it’s catching. You saw the recent GE internal e-mail. In Spain, look what happens to a guy who threatens a purely make-work industry (Spain’s “green jobs”) with the inconvenient facts: he is villified in a sustained, aggressive, highly personal and organized campaign by industry, communist trade unions, and the compliant press. They are trying to get him fired as well as otherwise isolated. (What’s Spanish for “Alinsky”?) The “unpatriotic” claim came in a published “defense” of the agenda by the head of Spain’s renewable-energy association, which essentially admitted that Calzada’s research threatened his member companies’ ability to fool the U.S. into charting the same job-killing course, which would keep the Spanish solar panel and windmill manufacturers afloat a little while longer while crashing our economy on the same shoals onto which Spain had driven its own.
So what’s good for BP and the rest is not so good for the U.S. What’s good for the U.S. is open debate about these things, not the backroom dealing described above now taking place to rope us into Kyoto II. The Senate should be afforded no more such luxuries. Let’s greet our returning legislators with a rousing, cleansing debate over cap-and-trade and its Little Green Jobs.