In response to Climategate the “climate emergency” faced by the city, Cambridge, Massachusetts appointed a “Cambridge Climate Congress” that was supposed to make proposals to turn the town into a totalitarian commune reduce the production of greenhouse gases. Ignoring the obvious (closing Harvard would cut down on Cambridge’s noxious gas output by at least 75%), the Congress presented a collection of ideas, some of which are reasonable, but some of which could have come straight out of Audi’s “Green Police” ad:

Proposal

1. Create a Climate Emergency Response Board (CERB).
2. Purpose: The CERB is charged with promoting, coordinating, and monitoring response to the climate emergency by all sectors of Cambridge, including individuals, households, voluntary membership organizations, businesses, institutions, property owners, and the city government through reduction of local greenhouse gas emissions and other means.

Typical first response of environmental extremists: set up a bureaucracy to control as much of citizens’ lives as possible. Check.

Under the “proposals for action” (as opposed to “proposal for bureaucracy” above) suggested for the municipal government is “establish measurable greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.” The ultimate goal:

The City Council set a long‐term goal (20 years or more) of turning Cambridge into a net emissions free, zero waste producing city with measurable milestone goals along the way to allow us to track our progress.

That’s a noble goal, probably best achieved within “20 or more years” by asking everyone to move out of Cambridge and allow it to return to forest.

The Congress also recommends to the town leadership:

The City Council declare it an explicit policy for Cambridge to become a leader on climate change action and to set an example for other communities around the world through our actions.

That suggests that Cambridge will lead the way in getting the world to become “net emissions free” and “zero waste producing.” See the previous comment for the best way to achieve this.

The municipal government should also “develop an adaptation plan” that would include this:

The city perform a vulnerability assessment to determine what vulnerabilities exist in the city that would threaten the population and the infrastructure given the most recent climate change predictions for Cambridge in the short and long term.

I’m no climatologist, but the idea of “climate change predictions for Cambridge,” a city of 7.13 square miles (less than a quarter of the size of Manhattan Island) seems ludicrous, except in the context of the entirety of New England, if not the entire northeastern United States. As for the “vulnerabilities,” I’d say pretty much everybody in Cambridge is vulnerable to the possible economic consequences of this program.

The Congress has lots of ideas for creating a “sustainable Cambridge,” including:

a) Build infrastructure for recharging electric cars.

This is one of those ideas that sounds good, but it has a couple of problems: 1) the electric car market isn’t restricted to Cambridge–if it doesn’t take off nation-wide, the town would have wasted money on pointless construction; and 2) it’s something that should be done by private enterprise, just as gas stations sprung up in response to the spread of the internal combustion engine.

b) Allow only zero or negative net‐energy consuming buildings to be constructed in the city.

Good luck with that. These proposals are described as “visionary, but this one sounds like science fiction.

c) Provide 100% renewable energy to citizens and business in twenty years.

Does that mean that Cambridge is no longer opposed to nuclear power?

d) Institute a carbon tax of some kind to fund the transition to a sustainable Cambridge. Such a tax would be progressive, and could be voluntary at first. To the extent that Cambridge lacks the legal authority to levy a carbon tax it would need to obtain such authority or institute the tax in a creative way (e.g. as a supplementary property tax).

The utterly predictable punch line. I love the idea of a “voluntary tax,” also known as a charitable contribution, except in this case you’d be giving it to the government. Anyone who thinks this would not eventually become mandatory no doubt also still believes in the tooth fairy.

Because there’s not enough “climate awareness” in Cambridge, the Congress also recommended to the City Council:

That it direct the City Manager to initiate a municipal campaign to raise awareness of the climate emergency among Cambridge residents, people who work or study in Cambridge, and local businesses, informing them of the warnings of climate scientists, the City’s recognition of the dangers of climate change, the need for prompt action at all levels and by everyone, the existence of the City’s Climate Protection Plan, other measures by the City, sources of information about climate science, and local resources for individual and community action.

The information provided to city residents would, I’m sure, be properly vetted so that nothing contrary to established environmental orthodoxy would be included. Perhaps they can ask Bill Nye the Science Guy to be in charge of deciding what information to hand out (if, that is, railroad engineer/IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri isn’t available when they get geared up). Can’t have the great unwashed making up their own minds about this, what with there being a “climate emergency” and all.

There’s a lot more, and as I said above, some of it is quite reasonable (improving building codes, for instance, or encouraging energy efficiency in buildings). But I can’t close this without mentioning the recommendations to “support and promote sustainable food.” Among them are this:

c) Raise awareness and promote action about the connection between food choices and climate change; advocate vegetarianism and veganism as a major part of the Climate Action campaign. Mechanisms may include:
i) Instituting environmental disincentives against meat, especially beef, pork and lamb.
ii) Advising higher levels of government to move towards more organic and sustainable agriculture practices.
iii) Increasing the emphasis on vegetarian and organic foods in government‐run programs like the school lunch program and food stamps, and consider setting meat limits for these programs.
iv) Asking/mandating that local restaurants and schools institute “Meatless or Vegan Mondays” to increase community awareness and reduce reliance on meat, dairy and eggs as food sources.

“Environmental disincentives”: that means punitive taxes, presumably. I’m sure the participants in the school lunch and food stamp programs will appreciate Cambridge “increasing the emphasis” on vegetarianism on behalf of their poor wards. And I can’t wait to see how restauranteurs will react to a city mandate for “Vegan Mondays.”

Put it all together, and it’s a formula for making real the old joke about the “People’s Republic of Cambridge.” But I guess that’s what you have to do when you are faced with a “climate emergency”–or at least believe with a certainty that borders on fanaticism that you do.

(Via Fox News.)