A Suicide Pact
By Robert Romano
Yesterday at the G8 summit in Italy, the leaders of the world's industrialized nations agreed to control global temperatures with a piece of paper.
That's right, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States all agreed to “recognize that global emissions should peak by 2020 and then be substantially reduced to limit the average increase in global temperature to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.”
And that takes care of that.
Significantly, the G8 leaders also agreed to reduce global carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2050, and by 80 percent the emissions of G8 nations. All in a day's work, you see.
Also at the meeting were developing nations China, India, Brazil, South Africa, and Mexico who were invited to participate in a “Major Economies Forum.” However, the developing nations did not come to a wider agreement with the G8 on emissions reductions.
A lack of agreement in the area of carbon emissions is actually quite a blessing, since two of the primary causes for the increase in those emissions have been economic and population growth in the Industrial Age. In short, the developing nations took a firm stand against being forever consigned to the dustbin of history.
Since 1750, the world's population has grown from about 720 million to 6.477 billion in 2005, an 899 percent increase. The world GDP (PPP) has grown from an estimated $371 billion in 1700 to $55 trillion in 2005, a 1,482 percent increase. And, as a result, during the industrial age, carbon emissions grew from 3 metric million tons in 1751 to 7,985 metric million tons in 2005, a 266,167 percent increase.
What is left unsaid by world leaders who did agree to reduce emissions is that you can't get something for nothing.
Either the U.S. and other nations will decrease their standards of living while allowing their populations to continue to grow, maintain their standards of living and reduce their populations, or somehow magically maintain their standards of living and growth in populations without using oil, coal, gasoline, and natural gas for energy that has sustained that growth to date.
The last time global carbon emissions were anywhere near the 4,000 metric million tons annual range—about the level world leaders desire to return to—was 1970.
Assuming the so-called “Group of Eight” nations were not actually sitting around and working out the technical problems with making solar, wind, and plug-in hybrids as efficient and cheap as their carbon-emitting counterparts, the options are clear for those who wish to engage in this suicide pact.
Either nations forget about growing the economy and creating jobs as emissions are capped, energy prices skyrocket, and the “green” alternatives fail to fuel growth. Or they have to radically reduce the world's population—by whatever frightening means necessary.
The real solution to this non-problem, of course, is to do nothing and just keep emitting carbon since the world's temperatures have been declining since 1998 despite increases in carbon emissions. But leaving that aside, there are some, shall we say, real whackos who actually do view reducing the world's population as the right way to reduce emissions and “save” the planet.
Which, of course, is the logical conclusion to come to when one views his or her own specie's prosperity as unsustainable and its very survival as inherently evil.
For example, in March, Jonathon Porritt, one of Gordon Brown's environmental ministers, advocated reducing Britain's population by 50 percent from 61 million to 30 million. He said, “Each person in Britain has far more impact on the environment than those in developing countries so cutting our population is one way to reduce that impact.”
Other writers, like Derrick Jensen, outright view civilization as the problem. In “World at gunpoint,” he writes rather cryptically (and chillingly), “What if, instead of asking ‘How shall I live my life?' people were to ask the land where they live, the land that supports them, ‘What can and must I do to become your ally, to help protect you from this culture? What can we do together to stop this culture from killing you?' If you ask that question, and you listen, the land will tell you what it needs. And then the only real question is: are you willing to do it?”
This is a not-so-veiled call for all but wiping out the human race. But, as noted, he despises civilization. Jensen is a so-called anarcho-primitivist. He views modern industrial society as the primary evil in this world, and would return to the pre-Industrial Age. In “Actions Speak Louder Than Words,” he wrote, “Every morning when I awake I ask myself whether I should write or blow up a dam. I tell myself I should keep writing, though I'm not sure that's right.”
It's time for a little truth: People that wholeheartedly believe in this ideology—nay, cult—are extraordinarily dangerous. The only things that will prove more dangerous are governments that agree with them. After all, government is the only institution in history to have engaged in mass genocide.
And, just yesterday, the world's leaders agreed to reduce human activity by 50 percent by 2050. Somehow. Let's just say that those who place primacy on the right to live should be more than a little bit worried.
Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of ALG News Bureau.