It’s about the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors. For three months that august panel has ignored a steady drumbeat of demands the county disassociate itself from an organization known the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives.
Bravo to the board.
The group is better known by its acronym, ICLEI (ick-lee). It’s become a dirty word in certain circles, especially among members of The Roanoke Tea Party.
The county’s ICLEI membership, which dates to 2007, costs taxpayers $1,200 a year, which averaged out over the county’s population translates into less than one Tootsie Roll per person.
To understand the current controversy, all you need to do is to attend the supervisors’ night meetings, or watch them on cable TV.
Near the end of each, time is allotted for average folks to address the board. Anybody gets three minutes to talk on any subject. It could be cat dandruff, an irritating stoplight, an Elvis sighting, whatever.
Tuesday night one of the subjects was ice cores taken from glaciers in Iceland and Greenland. Another was a public transit initiative in Fort Collins, Colo. A third was energy efficiency in city-owned buildings in Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m not making this up.
And what the heck does this have to do with ICLEI? Follow me down a rabbit hole as I try to explain.
ICLEI is a group of more than 600 different communities across the country (and 600 or so others from different countries) that have allied themselves for the purpose of exchanging ideas about best ways to improve the environment in their localities. It’s a tax-exempt nonprofit.
One of the things ICLEI supports is a reduction in greenhouse gases, or carbon dioxide. Roanoke County’s stated goal is to reduce those by 30 percent by 2020. That would take the county roughly back to the level it was emitting in 1990.
Among the myriad ways to reduce carbon dioxide are to discourage unnecessary driving by encouraging car-pooling, public transportation, bicycle commuting, etc.
Other ways include using more efficient light bulbs, because those use less electricity, which helps cut down on the amount of power-producing coal that’s burned. Coal-burning power plants are huge producers of carbon dioxide.
(In the city of Roanoke, which has been an ICLEI member since 2006, ICLEI recommendations have helped city government reduce power usage in the Municipal Building South by 45 percent, for a savings of $90,000 over five years.)
Carbon dioxide, most scientists maintain, is a factor in man-made global warming, which if left unchecked could change the Earth’s environment in ways that we probably still can’t fully yet appreciate. But it’s going to be a lot worse than your lawn turning brown all summer long.
More or less, these Tea Party activists charge that ICLEI is encouraging the buses in Colorado and efficiency in Cincinatti buildings. And that’s all based on bad science taken from the wrong ice cores in Iceland and Greenland, and it’s going to cost taxpayers big money.
They also warn that ICLEI is a product of something called Agenda 21, which was sold to the United Nations by the World Socialist something-or-others.
In other words, it’s a plot devised by socialists, adopted by the U.N., based on data rigged by scientists who have been bribed to lie about man-made global warming.
And it trickles down to the local level through ICLEI and groups such as RC-Clear, a county-appointed board charged with promoting energy efficiency and clean air.
This is why five people at the Board of Supervisors Tuesday night demanded Roanoke County disassociate itself from ICLEI, pronto. (The Albermarle County Board of Supervisors already has, after similar demands).
After the speakers were finished, Windsor Hills Supervisor Ed Elswick said “it’s good to see citizens come out. They’re the ones who elect us.” And he made some funny remarks about how the county could do more to conserve energy.
Moore, who represents the Clearbrook area, stood up for ICLEI. She said: “We can learn from [ICLEI] resources. They collect information from all over.”
None of the other board members addressed the issue. Reassuringly, none of them made a motion to drop the county’s membership.
“We’ll do it when we’re ready,” Hollins District Supervisor Richard Flora told me after the meeting, barely suppressing a smile.
I also spoke with Noah Tickle, a retired railroad machinist and one of the most passionate anti-ICLEI stalwarts. He’s an earnest guy who’s been showing up for the last six Board of Supervisors meetings.
“Carbon dioxide is a joke,” Tickle insisted. “You do the research and you’ll see that.”
Then he launched into an argument that an increase in atmospheric CO2 would be good for the planet and feeding its people. And that anybody can see from an airplane that the world already has enough trees to handle all the greenhouse gases humans can pump out.
Tickle said he hopes the Board of Supervisors will one day come to its senses and give ICLEI the axe.
“You just keep hammering along, asking them to do the right thing,” he said.
“We’re not a bunch of nuts,” Tickle declared.
The mere fact he felt compelled to deny it says a lot.