EDITORIAL: Straight ahead for carbon passport control
ANALYSIS / OPINION:
Americans have seen their fair share of bizarre patterns that would feature prominently in the Hall of Fame of Rules and Regulations. If there was such a place, a new one would deserve to be placed in the most notorious corner. These are called âpersonal carbon quotasâ (PCA), essentially a government-run system that regulates the use of carbon-based products. The concept has generated interest alongside the proliferation of new rules requiring citizens to show proof of vaccination against the coronavirus. If carbon-based passports became a reality, Americans would pay dearly to reside in “the land of the free.”
A generations-old obsession with climate change has given rise to the idea that naturally occurring carbon dioxide becomes an unnatural poison when produced by human activity. As a result, an article published in August by the journal Nature launched the idea of ââestablishing a system to monitor and limit an individual’s carbon consumption.
âA BCP program would imply that all adults receive an equal and tradable carbon allowance that decreases over time in accordance with national targets,â the document read. Among the carbon-emitting energy consumptions to be tracked, there would be electricity and fuel for heating and travel. Additional allowances could be purchased from people with a surplus, as a country’s total supply decreases over time. More ambitious options could include tracking carbon use for larger shares of economic activity, including the production of consumer products. The proposal recommends conducting PCA trials âin certain technologically advanced climate-conscious countriesâ.
Besides the loss of constitutionally protected privacy with Uncle Sam observing the targeted product purchases of every American adult, not to mention the progressive deprivation of the freedom to live a chosen lifestyle, what is happening? do not like?
So far, the personal carbon allocation proposal is just a glimmer in the imagination of environmental extremists. But dreams, even nightmarish ones, sometimes come true. Who would have imagined, before COVID-19, that New Yorkers would need a vaccination permit to enter a restaurant?
Proponents justify their drive to control personal carbon by warning that increasing global consumption of carbon-based energy could raise air temperatures, dooming humanity to a future of environmental devastation.
However, climate fears should be tempered. Deaths from climate disasters around the world have not skyrocketed but have fallen in the modern era of carbon-emitting human activity, reports Danish environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg. He writes: âIn the 1920s, the number of deaths from climate-related disasters averaged 485,000 each year. Over the past full decade, 2010-2019, the average was 18,362 deaths per year, or 96.2% less.
Humanity has shown a remarkable ability to adapt to a constantly changing environment. Category 5 Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, killing more than 1,500 Louisianans. When the slightly less powerful Hurricane Ida hit the storm-hardened state recently, the death toll was 13.
Authoritarians show an impulse to view every emergency as an opportunity to undermine human freedom. Americans should accept carbon passports.