Thursday, 21 July 2005

Smokestack socialism makes joke of Kyoto

What makes an environmental basket-case? In a word, socialism. Specifically, state ownership of the means of production. The Mises Daily has a story this morning of a shitty man running a shitty coal-burning plant in New Delhi. Explaining how the plant works, one of the plant's top officers avers: "I dump the ash (the residue from burning coal) in the river, I do not pay the railways for delivery of the coal, I do not pay the coal company, and I will keep running it this way." Naturally, the plant is state-owned.

India's filthy and corrupt coal-burning plants point to the reason for the needed separation of state and industry (can someone please tell Jim Anderton), and show what happens when the state is both referee and a player on the team.

It also helps demonstrate the feel-good irrelevance of the Kyoto Treaty: India and China between them are planning up to 775 new coal-fired plants by 2012, "which would pump up to five times as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as the Kyoto Protocol aims to reduce."

Meanwhile, the British House of Lords has issued a report on the economics of climate change that deserves some attention. As TechCentralStation explains, the report's conclusions are unambiguous.
"The science of climate change leaves considerable uncertainties about the future," it declares. "The costs of mitigation are uncertain, as are the benefits which are also more distant." The committee even questions the objectivity of the IPCC process and its models concerning emissions. It adds: "Positive aspects of global warming appear to have been downplayed in IPCC reports." The committee also recognizes that the Kyoto Protocol will have only a very small impact on lowering global warming and that it is very unlikely the plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will succeed.

Now you know why.


  1. PC,
    I don't dispute your assertion that socialist countries have a pretty appalling environmental record. That is undoubtedly true. But, I can't help but wonder, if socialism is the guarantee of environmental basket-caseness (to coin a word), it's still the United States, which as you know is completely allergic to socialism and has been for quite some time, that is the biggest emitter of CO2 and greenhouse gases. Is that the exception that proves the rule? Or might there be a flaw in your generalisation?

  2. BB, environmental basket-caseness (to use your appallingly coined phrase) does not consist of emitting CO2 and other greenhouse gases. It consists of emitting screeds of dirt with no legal limit on pollutants. In the case of the environmental basket cases like the former Soviet countries at the fall of the Berlin Wall, smokestack socialism had succeeded in being productive only in putting shit almost everywhere.

    You might say that a clean environment combined with a good standard of living is a luxury good, but it's certainly and demonstrably not a good that socialism has ever produced.