The recent decision by the French government to scrap the CO2 tax was welcome news: it was from the outset mostly a complicated design to satisfy two major interests, quite removed from any environmental concern.
First, the French state’s insatiable demand for revenues; second, seducing the ecologist lobby and giving the impression that France is proactively contributing to the fight against CO2 emissions.
Redistributive justice on an international scale however yields some very selfish (in this case national) reflexes: the French share of CO2 emissions is quite small (some 1 per cent of the total). Here ends the solidarity (and there are other concerns, ahem, and they may be more interesting for president Sarkozy at international meetings).
End of story? No: if a EU solution can be had, then of course the saga continues. New sponsors apply here.
Avatar is not exactly subliminal in its political cue; nevertheless breathtaking thanks to its use of technology that only a free market system could produce (but of course indirectly condemned by the script). In fairness, as my friend at the Cato Institute David Boaz forcefully pointed out, the conflict concerns property rights and not primarily environmental havoc.
Oceans is a wonderful production; thankfully, the commentary is minimal and the political discourse is practically absent (except a jibe about the Arctic being soon open for exploitation because of melting glaciers). Still, the message is clear: man is upsetting the “natural equilibrium” (whenever this existed) and man is responsible for exterminating a number of species.
We should also note, perhaps, that scientists estimate that some 99 per cent of the hundreds of million animal species formed since planet Earth emerged have since disappeared. Apologies all around; this happened sometime before Enron, Greenpeace, GW Bush, N. Korea, Ebola and DDT. And no, these fellows were not active when the dinosaurs were massacred (although most of them had just signed the Biodiversity treaty, according to eyewitnesses).
As Bjorn Lomborg pointed out recently, fear is not a good ally for sound policy. The IPCC has taken and perhaps weathered some serious criticism; that’s the way to go. The game is afoot.