However, nowadays it seems as though some of the adherents to the cult of global warming are confident enough to be more straightforward on their endgame.
Enter UN Climate Chief Christina Figueres, who openly declared earlier this week that Communist governments were the best means to combat global warming. In her prepared statements, she favorably cited Beijing for making improvements in China's environmental policy, whereas 'climate change' legislation has mostly died in the United States Congress [although the White House has been using regulatory fiat through the EPA to circumvent lawmakers- NANESB!].
China may be the world’s top emitter of carbon dioxide and struggling with major pollution problems of their own, but the country is “doing it right” when it comes to fighting global warming says Figueres.
“They actually want to breathe air that they don’t have to look at,” she said. “They’re not doing this because they want to save the planet. They’re doing it because it’s in their national interest.”
Figueres added that the deep partisan divide in the U.S. Congress is “very detrimental” to passing any sort of legislation to fight global warming. The Chinese Communist Party, on the other hand, can push key policies and reforms all on its own. The country’s national legislature largely enforces the decisions made by the party’s Central Committee and other executive offices.
Environmentalists often hail China as a model for fighting global warming, since they are a “leader” in renewable energy. The country set a goal of getting 15 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020. In 2012, China got 9 percent of its power from renewables — the U.S. by contrast got 11 percent in 2012.
However, the country still gets 90 percent of its power from fossil fuels, mostly from coal. In fact, Chinese coal demand is expected to explode as the country continues to develop. China has approved 100 million metric tons of new coal production capacity in 2013 as part of the government’s plan to bring 860 million metric tons of coal production online by 2015.
China has publicly made big efforts to clean up its environment. The country’s booming industrial apparatus has caused so much pollution that the skies have been darkened over major cities and the air quality has heavily deteriorated.
The Wall Street Journal notes that China’s air quality was so bad that about “1.2 million people died prematurely in China in 2010 as a result of air pollution” and Chinese government figures show that “lung cancer is now the leading cause of death from malignant tumors. Many of those dying are nonsmokers.”
The Soviet bloc’s environmental track record was similarly dismal.
The Communist Party’s National Action Plan spent $275 billion to combat rampant pollution through 2017, including reducing particulate matter 2.5 levels in the Beijing region by 25 percent.
Beijing's long-standing air pollution problems became an international issue when the city hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, leaving athletes to wonder if they'd be competing for medals amid a thick blanket of smog. China's Communist government was able to partially alleviate that problem in the weeks and months leading up to the Olympiad by severely restricting vehicle traffic in Beijing and relocating factories and power plants to provinces outside the capital- however, after the closing ceremonies in August 2008 the pollution returned and has only worsened since then.
The problems aren't limited to Beijing, however. Pollution in major waterways like the Yangtze River are killing off fish and making the water unfit for human consumption. China has also suffered widespread deforestation over the past few decades with dozens of square kilometers being clear-cut simultaneously. To the east and across the Yalu River in North Korea, deforestation is thought to have contributed to the massive drought and famine in the 1990s.
Figueres' claim that communism is somehow better for the environment than a free market and democratic system is also laid to waste by just a cursory look at the former Soviet Union. Perhaps the most stark example of communist stewardship of the environment would be the irradiated and uninhabitable territory around the former nuclear power plant in Chernobyl. An April 1986 meltdown and explosion at the facility just outside the city of Pripyat sent plumes of highly radioactive materiel into the skies over the western USSR as well as Scandinavia and western Europe. Unlike the devastation wrought at Japan's Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant in the immediate aftermath of the catastrophic 2011 Sendai quake and tsunami, Chernobyl happened due to a simple test. To this day, an 'exclusion zone' of nearly 2600 km stretches through what is now the Ukraine and Belarus with Chernobyl and the ghost city of Pripyat at the epicenter.
But ecological catastrophe in the former communist Eastern bloc isn't just limited to Chernobyl. Factories in Russia and the former Soviet satellite states are still home to factories that spew pollutants into the air and water unchecked- with some cities competing for the dubious 'honor' of being the most polluted spot on earth.
The Aral Sea- at one time one of the largest lakes in the world- has been shrinking at an exponential rate since a massive Soviet public works project in the 1960s diverted water from two of the rivers that fed the Aral sea to irrigate cotton fields. By the 1991 breakup of the USSR, the central Asian former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan inherited two polluted, shrunken and depleted lakes where there used to be one Aral Sea. Considered one of the biggest environmental catastrophes on the planet, between 1960 and 1998 the total area of the Aral Sea shrunk by more than 60%. Although Kazakhstan has been able to partially restore the northern portion of the Aral Sea in recent years, the southern half continues to recede leading to sights such as a pier stretching out over nothing but grey desert or camels standing near the hulks of abandoned ships, miles away from the nearest navigable body of water.
Even more problematic is a former Soviet bioweapons facility that was once housed on Vozrozhdeniya Island in the Aral Sea- the facility was once on an island and Red Army scientists experimented with weaponized strains of botulism, smallpox and anthrax. In 1971 a weaponized strain of smallpox was released and infected a passing research vessel. An infected crewmember disembarked at the port of Aralsk and infected their family. The disease spread and Soviet officials quarantined the city and vaccinating some 50,000 residents- although this incident wasn't generally known to the public until 2002. Since the outbreak, Vozrozhdeniya became a peninsula and then part of the mainland as the Aral Sea shrunk. The facility itself was hastily abandoned in 1992 shortly after the collapse of the USSR and weaponized strains of anthrax and bubonic plague were improperly stored in containers that continue to deteriorate over time.
Lake Baikal- the world's largest freshwater lake and dubbed 'The Pearl of Siberia'- also suffered considerably in Soviet times. The 25 million year old lake is home to several species not found elsewhere such as the Baikal seal or golomyanka fish. In the 1960s, the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill was constructed along the lake's southern shore and discharged waste directly into the lake. Ironically, even though the plant continued operation well into post Soviet times, it was ultimately killed by capitalism when it was shut down in 2009 due to unprofitability.
Perhaps the most galling thing about Figueres' statement is that she likely knows EXACTLY how poor a steward of the environment communism has been but has decided to praise the same system that drained the Aral Sea and gave us Chernobyl and countless polluted rivers and lakes throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia. More likely, the people pushing for unilateral government action on 'global warming' are doing so under the premise that they'll be exempt or they can purchase some sort of exemption through carbon offsets or a cap and trade system. I suspect even if they get their way, the carbon footprint of aircraft, ships, trains and automobiles won't bother them so long as those methods of transportation are providing them with conveyance or goods and services.