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Environmental Class Warfare

Jan
31
2007

The environmental movement – always a darling of the political left – is now showing its true colors. Once they were joined by the parties who usually work against their agenda, it did not take long for environmentalists to change their tune about Global Warming. Rather than celebrate the support they’ve gotten from big business and “evil” Republicans, environmental groups are now turning their movement away from solving problems and into a medium to wage class warfare.

First, George Bush declared war on “climate change” in his State of the Union address. Around the world, political leaders from left to right and now business executives meeting in Davos for the Global Economic Forum have taken up anti-Global Warming positions.

Even the royals are getting in on the act. Just days after Prince Charles cited global warming as a reason to cancel his winter ski vacation to Switzerland, he boarded a British Ariways flight to America, where one of his viewing options in First Class was to watch a personal video of the Oscar-nominated film, “The Queen.”

Ironic, of course. But the film provides a nice example of the way the political deck is stacked against those who might be in the best position to help.

In the film, on the night of the car crash in Paris that killed the Princess of Wales, Prince Charles insists that he fly to be by his ex-wife’s side in the French capitol. From Balmoral, he had two options—take a private jet or fly commercial. “That is precisely the kind of thing people criticize us for,” responds Helen Mirren’s Elizabeth when Charles wants to take a private jet in the middle of the night. Ten years ago, populists attacked the Royals for their excesses. Why should the British taxpayers fund midnight flights on private jets, they would ask? The push was to abolish – or at least modernize – the system of privileges to bring the entitled classes closer to the common man. It was class warfare at its most evident.

Being Oscar minded, it was hard not to think of “The Queen” when reading reports of Prince Charles’ and the Duchess of Cornwall’s trip to Philadelphia and New York last weekend. Environmental activists all but called the two day trip, “plane stupid,” and the UK’s Minister for the Environment suggested that the royal accept a Harvard-sponsored award for environmental activism over video-conference rather than in person. Similar objections could be heard when San Francisco’s flamboyant Mayor Gavin Newsom flew to Davos to meet with global business leaders who were at the same time embracing an agenda to control carbon emissions and combat global warming.

This environmental class warfare has translated into public policy, at least in Europe. Starting Thursday, travelers to and from the United Kingdom will be paying a doubled departure tax – justified by the government as a means to offset the carbon emissions of flying in airplanes. However, the cost of the tax – between $19 and $156 per person – are far greater than the most expensive carbon offset solutions, while it punishes travelers in premium cabins disproportionately, at four times the tax paid by those in coach. Now that’s the epitome of class warfare!

Why the environmental movement cannot be happy that business and conservative politicians have come to agree with them, should come as no surprise. Although their politics are labeled “green,” most environmentalists are as “red” as their liberal and socialist allies. Heretofore, environmental regulations were a way to thwart capitalism.

Now that markets have found value in going green, these same activists are likely appalled at the thought that their movement is being leveraged for – ack! – profit!

Share  Posted by Scott Olin Schmidt at 9:03 AM | Permalink

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