It sounds insane, but the National Academy of Sciences suggests that instead of targeting emission cuts for wealthy countries, it would be fairer to mandate emission cuts for wealthy individuals only. Before you get your class warfare gear on and say “Yeah, screw those rich people,” you might consider that the study considers there will be a billion high emitters out of a projected population of 8.1 billion, so 1 in 8 of us will be considered rich enough to merit government attention. That would be about 38 million people in this country if you took the entire world in aggregate today, but since we’re one of the wealthier nations, the number would be much higher.
This is wrong on several levels. First, man-made global warming is science that is still in dispute, and is driven more by political hysteria than consistent scientific findings. Al Gore and company have become rich peddling the notion that we need governments regulating our industries and the activities of daily life to make sure we have sustainable carbon footprints. I’m all for responsible stewardship of our precious planet, but I draw the line at this extreme environmentalism that seems to use politically-minded concern for the Earth as an excuse for more governmental control.
Secondly, whether you’re targeting rich countries or rich individuals, the result is the same: you’re punishing the “rich,” whatever that level of income is decided to be at the time. It’s redistribution of wealth, and it is another way of deincentivizing success and innovation. The cute little secret is that it’s the world’s elite who meet to discuss how environmental regulations will affect the rest of us.
Climate talks are underway this week in Italy. I’m sure with the current crowd in control of the legislative and executive branches, America will be signing on to whatever agreement they come up with. Keep in mind that the folks writing these laws won’t have your best interests in mind, and I’d argue they don’t have the planet’s best interests in mind either. It’s all yet another excuse to scold the common citizen and give more power to a nanny state.