Collapse of Cap & Trade Is A Good Thing – But for All The Wrong Reasons
Global warming crisis needs Urgency, Movement Politics & Civil Disobedience
Ironically, the death of the cap and trade global warming bill is a good thing, but for all the wrong reasons.
Perhaps the utter capitulation to corporate interests by both political parties will finally convince mainstream environmental groups to abandon both a failed insider political strategy and bad policy.
Politically, the Republican Party is hopelessly under control of the right wing global warming deniers – there can be no hope of courting their support.
But don’t blame just the Republicans.
That so called big green liberal John Kerry and the corporate Democrats are equally to blame. Three weeks ago, Kerry spinelessly signaled defeat: “We believe we have compromised significantly,” Kerry declared, “and we’re prepared to compromise further.” (Kerry was following in the footsteps of a humiliating lack of leadership by Obama at Copenhagen). (read another killer by Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone)
So, politically, there’s no where to go – the Beltway enviro’s are all dressed up, with no one to lobby!
Worse, as a matter of policy, cap and trade is a terrible idea and suffers “multiple unfixable flaws” (see: EPA EMPLOYEES BLOW THE WHISTLE ON FLAWED CLIMATE BILLS – Agency Specialists Say Greenhouse Gas Offsets Unenforceable and Demand Probe.
A little history is instructive.
As is usual, for good or bad, in environmental policy, NJ was there first.
During the Whitman Administration, NJ was one of the first states to adopt the so called “Open Market Emissions Trading” (OMET) model: NEW POLLUTION TRADING FOR FOUR STATES GUTS CLEAN AIR ACT – Whitman Trading Plans Emerge as First EPA Policies
Before the corporatization of the environmental movement, it used to be understood by environmental advocates that market trading schemes are a sham. Recall this 2001 Trenton press conference (I was there as NJ Sierra Club Policy Director).
EMISSIONS TRADING PROGRAM CRITICIZED AS BOON TO POLLUTERS
By ALEX NUSSBAUM, Staff Writer
Date: 02-15-2001, Thursday
The state’s industries may be taking advantage of a law that allows them to buy or sell the right to pollute, environmentalists said Wednesday.
The five-year-old system that allows companies to trade air pollution credits has loopholes that make it impossible to tell if factories or power plants are really reducing emissions, critics said at a Trenton news conference.
Due to these fatal flaws, the OMET program was repealed . The termination of the program was announced in 2002, and made formal on February 25, 2004 by DEP Commissioner Bradley Campbell. [full disclosure, I worked for Campbell at the time]. (see: NEW JERSEY REJECTS EPA PLAN FOR TRADING POLLUTION CREDITS – Rebuked EPA Weighs Enforcement Against Companies Using Credits
But since then, market trading schemes have been embraced by the national beltway lobby driven environmental groups.
No politics, no policy.
Chris Hedges, in a horrifically painful but necessary piece of truth-telling “Calling All Future-eaters” lays out what it will take politically:
As climate change advances, we will face a choice between obeying the rules put in place by corporations or rebellion. Those who work human beings to death in overcrowded factories in China and turn the Gulf of Mexico into a dead zone are the enemy. They serve systems of death. They cannot be reformed or trusted.
The climate crisis is a political crisis. We will either defy the corporate elite, which will mean civil disobedience, a rejection of traditional politics for a new radicalism and the systematic breaking of laws, or see ourselves consumed. Time is not on our side. The longer we wait, the more assured our destruction becomes. The future, if we remain passive, will be wrested from us by events. Our moral obligation is not to structures of power, but life.
With global warming impacts increasingly obvious to not only the scientist/modeler, but the man in the street, and nowhere to go politically, will the environmental groups go back to movement politics?
We don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows, right?
Bill Wolfe, aka Winston
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