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Global greening vs. the economy

DALLAS (BP)–Widespread computer use was supposed to move us toward paperlessness. But, somehow, the opposite has happened. Since the emergence of the Internet, Americans actually are consuming 40 percent more paper.

One of the companies that helped create this problem is now working to solve it. Xerox is developing technology that will allow paper to be reused simply by erasing the printing on it. The company’s research shows that 40 percent of printouts are tossed within 24 hours. If erasable paper makes it to market, paper sales will drop. That’s fine with Xerox’s chief technology officer Sophie Vandebroek. Her mission is to create a profitable business helping companies make do with fewer printers and copiers and less paper. Other new inventions include block ink that doesn’t require a cartridge and high-yield paper which uses half as many trees as traditional paper.

Xerox is saving money for its customers, helping them pollute less — and is making money doing it. The company is accomplishing this without being told to by the government or by any international body.

I’m not sure that’s what the United Nations climate change “hawks,” who gathered recently for a 12-day meeting in Poznan, Poland, had in mind. More than 10,000 people from 190 countries were on the rolls for a conference aimed at paving the way for a new treaty addressing climate change. The treaty, scheduled to be concluded in Denmark a year from now, will replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. That agreement enacted severe emissions limits on the countries that signed it. None of those goals were met. Next year’s Copenhagen treaty may be enforced by a new international court for the environment which will bully governments into making drastic reductions in emissions.

The U.S. stayed out of the Kyoto Treaty. “Too expensive,” we said. “It would penalize growth and depress the economy.” Plus, how could our efforts possibly affect global warming when huge polluters like China and India got a pass?

Now we face another opportunity to place ourselves under a global climate regime. Certain world leaders are all for it: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, France President Nicolas Sarkozy, and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon favor a “green New Deal” involving massive public investments that would lay the groundwork for millions of green jobs to be created in the private sector. But, what kind of a private sector will be left after businesses have been hampered by draconian emissions caps or carbon taxes? Ask the American auto industry.

And this concept of millions of “green jobs” is baffling. Right now, U.S. venture capitalists are skittish about investing in “green projects.” Attempts to foster widespread use of alternative energy are, at this point, unprofitable. There is money to be made helping people save energy and resources. But this should happen in the natural course of a market economy, not because a federal or international program is mandating actions.

Cathie Adams, President of Texas Eagle Forum, attended the meeting in Poznan. In one of her communications from the conference she wrote: “[T]he entire focus of the meeting in Poland and next year’s meeting in Copenhagen is twofold, the creation of an infrastructure for: 1) technology transfers from developed to developing nations and 2) finance from developed to developing countries … to redistribute wealth around the globe.”

Our care for the environment is a high value for most Americans. But the country’s economic survival is higher. We must hope and pray our lawmakers think twice before placing us inside a web of green global redistributionist mandates. Perhaps the fragile state of our economy might actually protect us from buying into the latest plans being hatched by the global socialists.

This won’t stop private businesses from innovating and maximizing profits with green technology through conservation. Xerox came up with double-sided copiers before climate hysteria hit, not because it was green, but because it’s efficient.

By the way, there’s a new “environmentally friendly” Bible out. Its paper is recyclable and its ink is soy-based. More than 1,000 verses addressing God’s care for creation appear in green. It’s God’s idea that man would tend the earth. That reality, and not computer-modeled doomsday scenarios, should motivate good environmental stewardship.
Penna Dexter is a conservative activist and frequent panelist on “Point of View” syndicated radio program. Her weekly commentaries air on the Bott and Moody Radio Networks. She also serves as a consultant for KMA Direct Communications in Plano, Texas.

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  • Penna Dexter