By Andrew Bolt
SO you think I exaggerate when I say global warming is just the latest cause of the closet totalitarian?
Then pay close attention to an experiment the warmists are about to inflict on the people of Norfolk Island.
Be warned. What’s being trialled there with $390,000 of Gillard Government money may, if it works, be spread to the mainland, say the researchers.
Which means it’s coming for you.
The plan – and, no, I’m not joking – is to put Norfolk Islanders on rations to fight both global warming and obesity.
Funded by the Australian Research Council, and approved by the Socialist Left Science Minister Kim Carr, researchers from the Southern Cross University will give each volunteer on the island a “carbon card”.
Every time they buy petrol, electricity or an air flight, they will have “carbon units” deducted from the fixed allowance on their card.
More units will be lost each time they buy fatty foods, or produce flown in from a long way away.
If, at the end of each year or so, they have carbon units left over, they can sell them. If they’ve blown their allocation, they must buy more.
But each year, the number of carbon units in this market will be cut, causing their price to soar – and thus the price of extra food, power and petrol to rise – because the idea is to cut greenhouse gases and make Norfolk Islanders trim, taut and terrifically moral.
Conservatives well aware of human fallibility will immediately spot the obvious flaw in this latest scheme of the Left to remake humanity.
It’s this: what happens when people run out of their carbon rations, and can’t afford the extra units they need to buy more fuel, power or even food?
This is precisely what I put this week to Garry Egger, head of this experiment and professor of Lifestyle Medicine and Applied Health Promotion at SCU.
His response was astonishing and revealing, because this basic question – which so exposes the teeth of the totalitarian – would have been one you’d think he’d long wrestled with.
As far back as 2006, Britain’s then environmental minister, David Miliband, proposed a similar scheme, since endorsed by the Environment Agency and House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, which even insisted the Government defy howls of protest from mere voters.
“Widespread public acceptance, while desirable, should not be a pre-condition for a personal carbon trading scheme; the need to reduce emissions is simply too urgent,” the MPs said, before being driven off to dinner.
(Or as our own Professor Clive Hamilton, author and former Greens candidate, puts it, global warming is so “horrible” that leaders must look to “canvassing of emergency responses such as the suspension of democratic processes”.)
Nor is Egger’s idea new in Australia, The farcical “ideas summit” of prime minister Kevin Rudd’s 1000 “best and brightest” Australians also recommended it – which is a very good reason to be alert and alarmed.
“We have the technology now to create a ‘carbon account’ for individuals,” says the summit’s report, in between appeals for chairbound workers to be given 30 minutes a day of exercise and stairs to climb at work.
Yet although carbon rationing plans have been kicked around for years by the Left, that key question of the conservative has still not been answered. As in: what if people don’t want to live your dream? What if they rebel, or merely fail you?
Let’s go to the transcript of my interview with Egger on MTR 1377 this week, to see how he answered.
Me: What happens to those people who overdraw their carbon emissions …
Egger: In the first year you are just warned … (Later) if you overspend, you’ve got to buy the units that are cashed in …
Me: If you put this in on the mainland and you were really strict about it – you really thought the world was warming very, very dangerously and someone exceeded their rations of these carbon units – one would presume that you would make food, for example, too expensive for them to buy.
Egger: That’s right … so if you’ve got, for example, a very fatty unhealthy food that is imported from overseas which takes a lot of carbon to develop it, then the price would go up …
Me: What happens to a very fat family, a very irresponsibly fat family, and they’ve blown their carbon budget to the scheissenhausen and you’ve made their food terribly expensive? What about the kids? They go to breakfast and they’ve got one baked bean?
Egger: In general you’ll find that in a very fat family they are low-income earners … so those people would actually benefit from a scheme like this because the food that they buy, the energy that they use, they don’t use as much energy as the rich anyway …
Me: But what happens? Their ration of carbon credits runs out and you’ve made food too expensive for them to buy. What happens to them?
Egger: Again, they get money back from doing the right thing.
Me: No, but they’ve done the wrong thing. That’s why they are fat and poor. They’ve done the wrong thing, they’ve run out of their carbon credits. What are you going to do to them then, when the food’s too expensive to buy?
Egger: There are going to be personal cases like this that need to be worked out and they need to be worked out in the tax system as well as in the carbon credits system.
Egger, founder of GutBusters, undoubtedly means to do good. He has no wish to see children starve.
These schemes so often are too perfect for the flawed humans they supposedly serve. But it’s the humans who must then adapt to the system, and not the other way around. Which is where some force is required; some democracy sacrificed.
What a buzz for the closet totalitarian then, to bully other people “for their
own good” – in this case, to “save the planet”.
When the cause is so just, which planet-saver could let some contemptible fatty stand in their way, begging for the carbon credits to feed their chubby children?
On the other hand, which planet-saver would deny themselves any aid or comfort in this great struggle?
This is your future coming right at you, folks. Best you realise it’s no longer a joke.