Carbon Credits Are Modern Indulgences.
Guest post by Dr. Tim Ball
Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1342 – 1400) is among the giants of English literature, recognized for his perceptive and realistic stories about human nature. Like Shakespeare, his characters and stories are recognizable and relevant at any time in history and in any society. His most famous work, The Canterbury Tales, has a number of characters traveling on a pilgrimage and telling their story. He achieves what Paul Johnson described as, “ a lethal combination of satire, irony, and sarcasm.” Characters are recognizable even if their position, such as knights, no longer exist.
We are unfamiliar with the name Pardoner, but know the character. Johnson describes him as follows, “The Pardoner, a seller of indulgences, is a complete and shameless rogue; but Chaucer, not content with exposing his impudence, shows how good he was at his job and how powerfully he preached against sinfulness. The Pardoner had also been taught to use the figure of death to scare his hearers.” So the Pardoner sold indulgences or pardons, hence his name, that absolved your sinful lifestyle and guaranteed going to Heaven. Who could resist a no lose offer?
It’s important to understand why Medieval and modern minds are gullible to such scams. Medieval people lived in fear of not being able to go to Heaven. Two examples help explain the intensity of that belief. The power of the fear of excommunication was effective even against Kings like Henry VIII. If excommunicated you were denied all church sacraments and services without which you couldn’t go to Heaven. Another example was even more egregious and involved witches. One of the most evil documents in history was the Malleus Maleficarum.
“It was established doctrine that witches were not witches by their own volition, but by Satan’s, and so burning them at the stake would purify them by pain so they could enter Heaven. The Church actually believed, and led the populace to believe, that it was doing witches a favor by torturing them and burning them to death.”
Getting to heaven was the goal of being religious, anything that made it easier was an easy sell.
Environmentalism became the new religion in the 1960s, although the seeds were effectively planted when Darwinism replaced Creationism. Life became dependent on Gaia the planet, not God. This belief system claims humans are killing the planet with CO2.
David Graber, a research biologist with the National Park Service delineates the overall thesis.
“Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. I know social scientists who remind me that people are part of nature, but it isn’t true. Somewhere along the line – at about a billion years ago – we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth.”
These are the larger sins we have to pay for that became focused in the false science of CO2. Pardon or absolution came as carbon credits. Ignore the fact that purveyors deliberately mix carbon (a solid) with CO2 (a gas) and reduce carbon to stop sinning. Better still but buy carbon credits and you can sin without conscience. Ignore the fact it doesn’t reduce but will actually increase the amount of CO2 going into the atmosphere. Indulgences and carbon credits were available to everyone, but in reality only the rich could afford to sin and buy their way into heaven or drive a powerful car without guilt.
If we just had the Pardoner and the tale he told to entertain his fellow pilgrims it would be interesting, but would not expose the true meaning of his tale and the duplicity and hypocrisy of the character. We need a person of our time for better comparison and understanding of Chaucer’s genius.
People despise hypocrisy in any aspect of life, but especially in religious and political leaders. Chaucer cleverly provides us with a prologue in which the Pardoner, as if talking off the record, explains his activities and motives and exposes his hypocrisy. We see behind the facade and learn of his cynical view of human nature and how he exploits their weaknesses and fears for his financial gain. It makes it more unscrupulous knowing he knew what he was doing.
Here are the opening lines,
“My lords, he said, in churches where I preach
I cultivate a haughty kind of speech
And wring it out as roundly as a bell;
I’ve got it all by heart, detail I tell.
I have a text, it always is the same
And always has been since I learned the game,
Old as the hills and fresher than the grass,
Radix malorum est cupiditas.”
(“greed is the root of evils”)
He then explains the duplicity of his message against sin and avarice. He tells how he isolates and personally attacks those who challenge him without mentioning names. He bluntly states,
“But let me briefly make my purpose plain;
I preach for nothing but for greed of gain
And use the same old text, as bold as brass,
Radix malorum est cupiditas.
And thus I preach against the very vice
I make my living out of – avarice”
How did he preach against sinfulness? He explains,
“Well, then I give examples thick and fast
From bygone times, old stories from the past.
A yokel mind loves stories from of old,
Being the kind you can repeat and hold.”
The analogy between Indulgences and Carbon Credits is very good, but especially as both create a source of income for those who identify and define the problem, exploit the guilt, and offer a solution. They also do nothing to ameliorate the supposed problems, the amount of sinning or the amount of CO2 going into the atmosphere from human sources. In fact, they almost guarantee an increase in both cases. The analogy fails because sin exists, whether it is a transgression against religious or secular law. CO2 in the atmosphere from any source, including human, is not causing global warming or climate change. More important, it’s essential to life on the planet and an increase in atmospheric levels is beneficial to their distribution, abundance, and productivity.
There is pathetic irony because financial gain, if not necessarily the underlying motive, is certainly the reward of the modern day pardoners. Financial gain is one of the unforgivable sins of the ‘evil energy companies’ producing planet destroying CO2.
Undoubtedly, Al Gore is the most effective pardoner of carbon credits. An Oscar and a share of the Nobel Peace Prize testify to his effectiveness. The movie, “An Inconvenient Truth” is full of “thick and fast” examples. Gore’s television appearances are a litany of stories from the past designed to capture through fear and to stick in the mind so they can be repeated, especially by the media.
Gore was involved early in the establishment of carbon credits, a key part of the Kyoto Accord.
“Before the company collapsed under the weight of financial scandal, Enron under CEO Ken Lay was a key proponent of the cap-and-trade idea. So was BP’s Lord John Browne, before he resigned last May under a cloud of personal scandal. In August 1997, Lay and Browne met with President Bill Clinton and Vice President Gore in the Oval Office to develop administration positions for the Kyoto negotiations that resulted in an international treaty to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. In his book, The Green Wave (Capital Research Center, 2006), author Bonner Cohen notes that the companies expected to profit handsomely from the Kyoto global warming treaty by creating the worldwide trading network in which industries would buy and sell carbon emissions credits.”
The Kyoto Accord effectively failed but carbon credits, its most bizarre initiative, has survived and grown. Originators benefit at the expense of poor people everywhere.
“Al Gore is chairman and founder of a private equity firm called Generation Investment Management (GIM). According to Gore, the London-based firm invests money from institutions and wealthy investors in companies that are going green. “Generation Investment Management (GIM), purchases—but isn’t a provider of—carbon dioxide offsets,” notes spokesman Richard Campbell. (CNSNews.com, March 7, 2007) GIM appears to have considerable influence over the major carbon credit trading firms that currently exist: the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) in the U.S. and the Carbon Neutral Company (CNC) in Great Britain. CCX is the only firm in the U.S. that claims to trade carbon credits.”
And guess who is on the board of CCX. Maurice Strong, founder of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a friend of Al Gore.
Chaucer’s Pardoner personally benefited from selling indulgences. People who bought them absolved their consciences and had the peace of mind about going to heaven. Nobody else really suffered. True, because they couldn’t afford Indulgences they had to live less sinful lives to ensure going to heaven, but I am sure the Pardoner would argue, with sanctimony, that was good for them. It’s an argument I’ve heard many times. Even if Gore was not truthful and benefitted from his actions, collateral effects of saving the environment made it acceptable. This illogical thinking is similar to the 1998 quote in the Calgary Herald by Christine Stewart, then Canada’s Minister of the Environment that, “No matter if the science is all phony, there are collateral environmental benefits… Climate change provides the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world.” It’s another form of the Precautionary Principle enshrined in Strong’s UNEP Agenda 21, Proposition 15.
Each of Chaucer’s Pilgrims had to entertain fellow travelers with a tale. As Johnson wrote the Pardoner was, “taught to use the figure of Death to scare his hearers.” It’s a device Al Gore uses as with his most recent threat that we have 10 years left. He also refuses to debate and interviews are carefully controlled. The Pardoners method is very similar as he explains.
“or when I dare not otherwise debate
I’ll put my discourse into such a shape,
my tongue will be a dagger; no escape
for him from slandering falsehood shall there be,
if he has hurt my brethren or me.”
Here is what J Murray wrote about Gore’s behavior. “Apparently rather than debating the merits of his argument in a rational and reasoned manner, Gore is left only with ad hominem attacks and smug condescension toward his critics. Self-avowed “P.R. agent for the planet” Al Gore says those who still doubt that global warming is caused by man – among them, Vice President Dick Cheney – are acting like the fringe groups who think the 1969 moon landing never really happened, or who once believed the world is flat.”
The Pardoner’ story has three drunken rioters set out to find and slay Death. In a wonderful dramatic twist Chaucer’s rioters stumble upon an old man who cherishes Death to escape the weariness of a long life. In other words, his desired outcome is exactly opposite to their objective.
What is Al Gore’s story? Well here is what he told Congress in March 2007 in a presentation that broke the rule of having to be submitted in advance.
“The science is settled, Gore told the lawmakers. Carbon-dioxide emissions — from cars, power plants, buildings and other sources — are heating the Earth’s atmosphere.
Gore said that if left unchecked, global warming could lead to a drastic change in the weather, sea levels and other aspects of the environment.”
He then left before answering questions.
He increased the threat in 2008 using James Hansen’s claim of a “tipping point” in 10 years. He said the US has only 10 years to become carbon independent. This implies that once reached there is no avoiding disaster.
Gore’s objective is to eliminate human production of CO2 to save people, especially those in developing nations, from dying in severe weather, drowning in rising sea levels or starving because of high temperatures and drought. Ironically, developing nations were excluded from the Kyoto Accord so they could develop and offset starvation and political chaos. Now its reversed. Two of them, India and China surpass the sinful developed nations in rate of CO2 production, while developed nation production decreases. Death and increased potential for death have already occurred because of policies implemented to reduce the evil CO2. At the same time higher energy costs have lowered living standards throughout the world.
The week after Gore’s film won an Academy Award, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research announced that his Nashville home used 20 times the US average household electricity. A year later, apparently after steps to make his home more energy-efficient, his energy use was up 10%. Drew Johnson, president of the Tennessee Center said, “Al Gore is a hypocrite and a fraud when it comes to his commitment to the environment, judging by his home energy consumption.” According to the Center as well as his Oscar, Grammy and Nobel Peace Prize, “…his personal wealth increased by an estimated $100 million thanks largely to speaking fees and investments related to global warming hysteria.”
Gore continues to push his false science with, among other things, orchestrated projects and a failure to correct the 35 errors identified in his movie. Behind the scenes he quietly abandoned his environment and sustainability investments. As Steve Milloy of Junkscience reported, Gore, “…may be “talking the talk” but not “walking the walk” when it comes to investing in so-called “sustainable” businesses.” “Despite its widely publicized rhetoric, the Gore firm’s stock portfolio looks to be that of an ordinary diversified mutual fund,” said JunkScience.com publisher Steve Milloy. “If this is ‘sustainable’ investing, then it is a meaningless term,”
The Pardoner would understand and be proud of his 21st-century equivalent. As he said in his prologue,
“What! Do you think, as long as I can preach
And get this over for the things I teach,
that I will live in poverty, from choice?
That’s not the counsel of my inner voice!
No! Let me preach and bake from Kirk (church) to Kirk
and never do an honest job of work,
no, nor make baskets, like St. Paul, to gain
a livelihood. I do not preach in vain.
- The True Brilliance and Evil of Al Gore (usapartisan.com)
- Al Gore, aka ‘Captain Planet’ Can’t Save You – Carbon Tax Is Back On The Agenda (xrepublic.tv)
- Al Gore Purchases $9 Million Dollar Mansion – Consumes More Energy Than An Entire Working Class Neighborhood (notrickszone.com)
- Global warming fails to hot up carbon credits market (rediff.com)