Climate change: the most powerful argument for shutting down criticism of taxation. It is certainly the basis for plenty of debate, and many arguments indeed, some incredibly legitimate and some not quite so legitimate. The main argument inspired by climate change however, as it manifests itself in the modern political atmosphere, is whether it is happening or not.
Well, if you have come to this article trying to snare yet another climate change denying right wing commentator, you need grab your venti chi latte and your gluten free vegan humus sandwich, get right back on your eco bike and go back to uni just in time for gender studies. Alas, I do not fall into that questionable, dubious category; in fact, I think its painfully obvious and incredibly well documented that our climate is changing, that hot days are getting hotter and cold days are getting colder. No, I don’t think it’s not happening. What I do think, however, is that its bullshit.
Its bullshit because the whole narrative is so twisted, self-righteous and warped: we are not trying to save the planet. That much MUST be clear; we are trying to save ourselves. The planet Earth was here long before we were, and it will be here long after we are. Making the planet uninhabitable to humans would actually probably be a blessing to mother Earth, akin to ridding her of a perpetual cancer. We are not trying to save the planet when we recycle our jam jars or switch to a hybrid, we are trying to save ourselves.
Which speaks to the second reason that climate change is bullshit: resolutions. UN resolutions, EU resolutions, NATO resolutions, WHO resolutions. It seems like every multi- national organisation on the planet has a solution to climate change, an urgent measure that might just save us all, and what do they all have in common? They constrict and punish the west. It is always western nations that become bound by these ridiculous measures of narcissistic policy; more specifically, it is the citizens of the west who fall victim to the “global” push for green living.
We get taxed massively on fuel, we get taxed on our cars, we get limited in business, we get taxed on sugar, plastic, palm oil, paper. We as a country get fined for not meeting certain parameters, get chastised for failing to meet questionable and sometimes unrealistic international goals and have to answer to these aforementioned lords of all the world with everything we do.
The despicability of it all lies in the fact that whilst we do this, emerging industrial nations, for example China, not only sees its carbon output consistently rise, but also commits to build hundreds of coal fired power stations over the next couple of years. Sure, there has been arbitrary rhetoric coming out of China committing to reducing pollution, but realistically in an industrialised nation with a population of over a billion, it will be negligible. Moreover, natural disasters such as volcanoes can add up to the same emissions as a small European economy in a single eruption. Who is going to fine a volcano? NATO? The UN? Fat chance. The bill falls solely on rich nations- specifically, the citizens of rich nations. We have to make concession after concession after concession, our lives are made persistently harder to the detriment of ourselves at the whip hand of our own and global governments.
And this is primarily why climate change is bullshit: because it is used as an agent of control. It is used by the government to encroach more and more into our lives, forcing us towards certain cars, certain energy providers, certain foods, certain waste disposal habits, certain holidays, certain areas, certain beauty products. It is a mechanism of power executed by the monster that morality and compassion has become. The ways in which our governments (western governments, at least) approach the issue of climate change is spectacularly misguided and predictably self-righteous. The policies and politics of the “climate change debate” exclusively detriment our lives, through manipulation, limitation, a misplaced and wrong feeling of guilt. Sure, we should be aiming to bring summers down a couple of degrees, and maybe even keep the ice caps for another couple of centuries, but we should not be allowing the government to destroy us, as individuals, financially and socially in order to do so.
If the government wants to combat climate change, it should be doing it by making “green” options much more readily available, not taxing “non-green” options so much so that it shrouds the rich nation we supposedly are in a veil of comparative poverty; if you want a windmill or solar panels on your home, it should be funded. There shouldn’t be the planning boundaries in place that there are, relying on the whim of those on the planning board, along with their personal politics and grievances, to grant or deny. If you want a solar panel, or a windmill, or planning for a carbon neutral house or homes, it should be granted, provided you have the space or land available.
How should this be funded? I’m not too sure really. I don’t profess to have all the answers, but it should be known that taxation is a pitiful option, and the government should have the capacity to avoid it: taxation by its very nature never increases freedom. Reducing planning regulations regarding renewables and offering a more generous and comprehensiverewards system for having them, aswell as abolishing the foreign aid budget would be a start. As for that matter would an immigration policy requiring immigrants to contribute more towards British society for a number of years, and to have substantial capital ready to invest when they arrive.
Punishing British people and squeezing their quality of life to pursue hollow green policy in the face of an ever-expanding population, which no one seems to have the foresight to control, is not the way to approach it, and generating a level of pacifism to this concept within the general populous is brilliant and terrifying in equal measure, a masterclass in western liberal democratic political rhetoric and the tonality of western politics.
Climate change is indeed an issue we are facing, but we need to stop allowing our governments to use it as a tool of leverage in making us accept concessions to our quality of life, and we need to start addressing it in a way that encourages “green” behaviours, not one that explicitly discourages “non-green” behaviours.