By David Vance, 25 November 2007
Not so fast...have you exceeded your "personal carbon allowance?"
As Americans take to the roads and the airports returning home from their holiday, over in Great Britain, a new proposal on global warming could limit that freedom. Will the British become "the experimental rats in the carbon-mania laboratory?" asks David Vance. And if the experiment succeeds in the UK, could the US be next?
Global warming provides a perfect alibi for those who seek to curtail our essential liberties. Restricting the ability of citizens to travel is clearly an unpopular strategy for any politician to advance but if if comes from the left and done in the name of "Saving the Planet" then it is likely to win sympathetic media treatment and so become a real political possibility.
It is against this background that the British Government is introducing a "Climate Change Bill" which would make the United Kingdom the only country in the world with legally binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The implications are that the five-yearly goals outlined in the Bill would cost the UK up to $24 billion a year for the next 42 years and ensure that future governments are held legally responsible for what the current administration has embarked upon.
The Bill does not say how carbon dioxide emissions will be cut but simply commits the Government to a 60 per cent reduction by 2050. This colossal economic cost of trying to hit this target is glibly dismissed by the likes of UK Environment Secretary Hilary (a male Hilary, not female) Benn as an absolute necessity if Britain is to show the sort of "environmental leadership."
In fact he celebrates this prospect as it sets Britain "firmly on the path to the low-carbon economy". He believes that "We need to provide the framework that will give a clear idea of how we're going to tackle climate change. We also need to show that we're taking decisive action within our borders and not asking other countries, in particular poorer countries, to do what we're not willing to do ourselves."
In other words, the British government is quite prepared to wreck its own economy in the quest to appear environmentally progressive, even though economists warn that a sustained switch to a low-carbon economy may well trigger an economic crisis and substantial job losses.
This means nothing to those wrapped in the garment of the green gospel. When dealing with environmental fundamentalists, fiscal reason has little relevance.
The UK Government is not just interested in using global warming to raise new green taxes and to further hike fuel costs, but it is also contemplating allocating "personal carbon allowances." The way these work is that you will be granted a fixed amount of carbon to use each year. Each time you travel in a plane, buy petrol, go shopping or eat out would be recorded on a plastic card. The more frugal could sell spare carbon allowances to those who want to "indulge" themselves. But if you were to run out of your carbon allowance, you could be barred from flying or driving.
The government will thus be able to prevent its citizens from traveling both inside and outside the United Kingdom under the guise of managing carbon allowances.
For the first time in history we face the real prospect of having the fundamental right to travel prohibited by government. It is also said that reports are being currently prepared for the British government as to how and when carbon rationing might be implemented.
In this way the pursuance of the global warming agenda by scheming politicians can actually represent the greatest imaginable threat to the liberty of the people of the United Kingdom.
Overseeing all of this is Gordon Brown, the man who has succeeded Tony Blair as UK Prime Minister without the awkwardness of an election.
To get a sense of where Brown's loyalties lie, a few months ago when in the US visiting President Bush at Camp David, he made it a priority to see Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid on Capitol before directly going to the United Nations and inviting Bill Clinton to drop by. Brown is clearly hoping for a Clinton to be returned to the White House.
This begs the question as to what a future President Clinton might think about the fascinating experiment being conducted on the people of the United Kingdom by her good friend Gordon Brown.
We British are the experimental rats in the carbon-mania laboratory. If Prime Minister Brown can get away with stopping us traveling by car and plane - and doing it in the name of cutting carbon emissions - isn't it possible that the people if the US might also face the future prospect of also being issued with "personal" carbon allowances by a munificent President Clinton? Is it imaginable that someday US citizens could be prohibited from traveling how and when they choose - and all in the name of saving the Earth?