RFK Jr.: Quitting Carbon Use Like 'Abolishing' Slavery

     Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wants to ‘abolish’ carbon usage and sees a direct comparison to the end of slavery.


     According to Kennedy, “industry and government warnings” about avoiding “economic ruin” should not be heeded because abolishing slavery did not cripple the British economy as was predicted “Instead of collapsing, as slavery’s proponents had predicted, Britain’s economy accelerated,” he argued.


“Lord Puttnam recalled that precisely 200 years ago Parliament heard identical caveats during the debate over abolition of the slave trade. At that time slave commerce represented one-fourth of Britain’s G.D.P. and provided its primary source of cheap, abundant energy. Vested interests warned that financial apocalypse would succeed its prohibition,” wrote Kennedy in a “manifesto” to the next American president in Vanity Fair’s “Green” issue.


     Just a few sentences later, Kennedy explained, “Today, we don’t need to abolish carbon as an energy source in order to see its inefficiencies starkly, or to understand that this addiction is the principal drag on American Capitalism.” Then he went out to promote outright “decarbonization.”


       Kennedy claimed that “economies reap immediate rewards” for ending carbon dependency and cited Sweden’s promise to phase out fossil fuels by 2020. But then he immediately said the Swedes enacted a $150 a ton carbon tax. Some “reward.”


     In the article, Kennedy endorsed the creation of a cap-and-trade system because it is “more effective than a carbon tax. It is also more palatable to politicians, who despise taxes and love markets.” According to him, “This market-based approach has a proven track record.”


    Yes, it has a track record – of failure. “Greenhouse-gas emissions are still rising in Europe despite lots of autographs on the Kyoto Protocol and an elaborate cap-and-trade system,” according to an April 2 post on the environmental blog of The Wall Street Journal.


     The Journal blog entry addressed some of the problems when it asked, “So what gives? Europe was supposed to be the leader in clean energy and climate-change policies (in addition to Kyoto-style lecturing.) It all goes back to the original sin European governments committed when they set up the Emissions Trading Scheme to trade carbon permits. They gave away too many permits to polluting industries like steel and aluminum makers and power generators.”


     It also isn’t a market because without government forcing a “cap” there wouldn’t be a “market” for trading carbon permissions.


     Kennedy’s op-ed called for major initiatives including cap and trade, generating electricity from wind from the Midwest or solar power from the Southwest, a new power grid and transmission system which he claimed would “wean the country from carbon” for about a trillion dollars over 15 years.


    The piece ended on a utopian note with Kennedy imagining that carbon abolition would result in America “liv[ing] free from Middle Eastern wars and entanglements with petty tyrants who despise democracy and are hated by their own people.”


     He didn’t describe how the U.S. would eliminate the carbon from its daily sources such as automobiles.