Friday, December 11, 2009

So why do leaders like Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown continue identifying themselves with the climate change agenda and policies like cap and trade? Perhaps it's best to see this as a clash of classes. Today's environmental movement reflects the values of a large portion of the post-industrial upper class. The big money behind the warming industry includes many powerful corporate interests that would benefit from a super-regulated environment that would all but eliminate potential upstarts.

These people generally also do not fear the loss of millions of factory, truck, construction and agriculture-related jobs slated to be "de-developed." These tasks can shift to China, India or Vietnam--where the net emissions would no doubt be higher--at little immediate cost to tenured professors, nonprofit executives or investment bankers. The endowments and the investment funds can just as happily mint their profits in Chongqing as in Chicago.

Global warming-driven land-use legislation possesses a similarly pro-gentry slant. Suburban single family homes need to be sacrificed in the name of climate change, but this will not threaten the large Park Avenue apartments and private retreats of media superstars, financial tycoons and the scions of former carbon-spewing fortunes. After all, you can always pay for your pleasure with "carbon offsets."