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Global Warming: Socialism's Last Stand

Gary North - March 23, 2015

In December 1991, the Soviet Union committed suicide. This was the largest empire in history that ever disappeared without violence.

In September 1990, socialist multimillionaire economist Robert Heilbroner wrote an article for The New Yorker: "After Communism." It was an amazing article. He actually talked about the fact that Ludwig von Mises had predicted in 1920 that socialism would not work, and then he wrote these three words: "Mises was right." This admission came from a man who had written by far the most popular book on the history of economic thought, The Worldly Philosophers, in which he did not even mention Mises. He became a multimillionaire with this book, yet in 1990, he was implicitly admitting that the most important single observation of 20th-century economics had been Mises' observation regarding the inherent irrationality of socialism, and it was ignored for 70 years by the economics profession. It is still being ignored.

In that article, he tried to give hope to his socialist peers. He said that there was a possibility of keeping the socialist movement going by committing to environmentalism.

In 1992, the United Nations Organization first introduced the anti-global warming project known as the Kyoto protocols. This was the response of the world socialist movement to the collapse of the Soviet Union. I have never heard anybody else talk about this timing, but it seems obvious to me. Call me a conspiracy historian.

Two decades earlier, today's promoters of global warming had predicted a new ice age.

That hype didn't work, so they switched to global warming. "Any port in a storm, and any storm in a port."


My friend Arthur Robinson is by far the most persistent scientist who opposes the idea of global warming.

Actually, he does not oppose the idea of global warming. He favors it. He says that this will dramatically increase the output of agriculture. But he opposes the idea that there is any significant global warming, and he also opposes the idea that anything that mankind has done has increased or decreased global warming.

He has assembled over 31,000 scientists, who have signed a petition stating that there is no solid evidence in favor of the idea that anything that mankind has done in the past century has increased global warming. He is the scientist, above all other scientists, who is despised by the global warmers. They have done everything they could for over 15 years to disparage him and his petition. But the petition is real, and the scientific opponents of the global warming thesis are also real. There is no comparable petition in favor of the global warming hypothesis. The global warmers have not assembled anything like 31,000 people who have signed a petition saying that they believe that there is cause-and-effect between industrial productivity, CO2, and global warming.

This being said, let me remind you of something which not enough people are aware of. The global warming initiative has been an incomparable legislative failure. No nations have done anything significant to interfere with the industrial productivity inside their borders, based on the idea that government has a responsibility of restricting business on the basis of global warming.

There has been much legislation with respect to pollution, pre-Kyoto protocols. There are environmental laws that are enforced in order to reduce pollution. I am speaking specifically of the United Nations promotion of what is known as the Kyoto protocol. The major nations that are identified as the great global warming nations, meaning the United States and China, have never ratified this treaty. It is not enforced by any regulatory agencies inside the borders of these two nations.

Given the immensity of the supposed problem, and the paucity of any governmental responses to it, the global warming movement has failed. It has continued to insist that, if governments don't do something systematic and comprehensive, global warming will lead to a series of catastrophes. But they have said this for over 25 years, and there have been no identifiable catastrophes that are related to global warming, although lots of superficial press releases have insisted that such relationships exist.

We are now 23 years closer to the supposed catastrophes that global warming will supposedly produce, and there is no sign of them. There's been no increase in world temperature in 16 years. We are told that there is climate change, but let me assure you, there is no political change. There is nothing being done on the global warming front that has had any significant impact in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The global warming movement is a classic paper tiger. It is a movement of leftist intellectuals, but it has not led to any significant legislation that has reduced the output of carbon dioxide. That is the test of a political movement. Can the movement point to identifiable legislation? In the case of global warming, there is no significant legislation.


Here's the problem that they face, other than the fact that there is no evidence for cause-and-effect. That has not stopped political movements in the past. The problem that the global warmers face is this: in order to be effective, there has to be coordinated anti-emissions legislation that is enforced equally in every industrial country, but especially in China and the United States. If China and the United States do not enforce such legislation, then the legislation is futile in all the other countries.

This is a global problem, we are told. It mandates a global initiative and a global solution. If everyone doesn't act to check industrial output by means of legislation, than any nation that imposes these limits on its industrial output will suffer the consequences of reduced output, reduced tax revenues, and reduced employment. But because no other nation does this, global warming is in no way reduced. It is the old coordination problem: "You go first if we all don't all go at the same time."

Nobody wants to go first unless everybody does it at the same time. No political leader wants to be blamed for reduced economic output in his country, unless the leader can show that all the other nations have suffered comparable reductions in output. Only if there is a coordinated policy internationally can the agenda of the global warmers be implemented. But they can't get international cooperation. The United Nations organization has zero clout, and it has been unable to get the major violators of the Kyoto protocols to stop violating them. The United States has not even pretended to enforce the Kyoto protocols. No President has submitted the treaty to the Senate, because every President knows that it will not be ratified by the Senate. No President wants to be humiliated in full public view, so all of them have sat on the treaty. They never mention it.


Global warming is socialism's last stand. Global warming was used to replace the lagging faith in socialism, due to the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991. The heart went out of the socialist movement.

The global warmers immediately moved into this vacuum. They have insisted that there is still hope for domestic planning, and this domestic planning will be coordinated internationally. But it is all smoke and mirrors. There is no coordinated planning. There is no way to achieve coordinated planning. And this means that any national leader who imposes restrictions on output in order to reduce global warming thereby commits political suicide. There will be no reduction of global warming unless all of the regulations are imposed on all of the violators, and this is not politically possible.

So, the socialist movement really is finished. It has had only one victory since 1991. It has persuaded millions of people about the problems of global warming, which in fact do not exist, but then this public opinion has been thwarted by political reality. They whooped up the troops, but the troops do not elect politicians who are committed to implementing the anti-global warming agenda. No leader wants the global warming agenda in his nation, all by itself, when the other nations refuse to implement it. No politician campaigns on such a platform, and therefore no politician is elected in terms of this platform.

In other words, socialism is dead in the flat-temperature water. By the very nature of their last remaining campaign, they have to get all or nothing. They have to get every national legislature to cooperate. They have to coordinate the implementation of the policies. Inherently, they can't do it. The old slogan of Stalin's, "socialism in one country," runs counter to the requirement of the global warmers. They have to get socialism in all nations, or they won't get it in any of them. They have to get their agenda legislated in all nations simultaneously, or else they won't get any major nation to implement the agenda at all.

The Left has shot its political wad. In desperation, the Left in 1992 embraced global warming, and this has doomed to the Left.

It is a wonderful thing to see.

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