For instance, the United States puts out a lot of pollution, so the government of that nation would be required to pay other nations who plant trees and pollute less to help them fund clean energy and their developing industries to run without as much pollution. There's a problem with that, however, as Claudia Rosett explains in the Philadelphia Enquirer:
In the name of cooling global warming, the U.N. is steering toward a role as chief broker for assigning and trading national rights to emit carbon dioxide. The plan amounts to a tax on high per-capita carbon emitters, such as the United States, and subsidies for low emitters, such as Laos and Equatorial Guinea.Why, you ask? Well contrast more polluting, industrialized nations with less polluting ones. What are the governments like?
Unfortunately, a global carbon tax-cum-redistribution system would likely chill the productivity of free societies and subsidize some of the world's worst regimes.
It's true, most nations that are underdeveloped are also run by tyrants and thugs. Zimbabwe, for example, produces a fraction the CO2 that the United States does, making it a prime candidate for Carbon Offsets paid by the USA. in an unsurprising and related story, dictators do not share the money they get from foreign aid, but tend to use it to buy guns, tanks, palaces, and throw parties for their friends. If they were the kind to help people, aid the poor and hungry, develop their nation for a better future, they wouldn't be dictators to begin with. In fact, it is in the tyrant's best interest for people to be poor, miserable, and weak. Meanwhile, the constant threat of an uprising from the people drives them to build a huge, powerful military.
The worst carbon offenders, after all, tend to be the countries that are the freest, most democratic, and, as a result, the most vibrant, creative and productive. America, in all its freewheeling bounty, may exhale more than its share of greenhouse gases, but it also has given the world a disproportionately huge roster of inventions - telephone, airplane, computer, the Internet, leaps in modern medical technology - that enhance the quality of life. Given a chance, the States might yet invent ways of correcting the weather undreamt of in any U.N. bureaucrat's philosophy.
By contrast, countries that emit the least CO2 per person generally are saddled with the most repressive, corrupt and stifling governments - ruinous for their own people and damaging to a civilized world order. A prime example would be Zimbabwe (now chairing the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development), which under the brutal rule of aging tyrant Robert Mugabe has gone from breadbasket of southern Africa to basket case.
So what happens when we buy carbon offsets? We fund corruption and despotism. See, in the nations that would receive these offsets, to whatever extent they fight pollution, do so by the hands of the local people. Their farming, planting, and so on are done not by government power, but by the subjects of that nation's government. And in a tyranny, they won't see a dime of that money - except from afar, in the form of another gold Rolls Royce and another tank.
So, in a way, it would work: these poor nations who are crushed by tyranny would be less and less industrialized and unable to produce much pollution. Thus, the effort to overall produce less pollution would be successful, in a sense. In the big picture, all this would end up being is redistribution of money from more wealthy nations to less so - in a manner that, consistent with socialism, makes everyone more miserable and does not truly help the needy.
Carbon Offsets don't work, are usually a scam, and fund tyranny. Whose idea was this, again?
Beret tip to Free Frank Warner for this story