There is an excellent comment piece in today's Telegraph by Janet Daley that spells out the stark choice we have - or rather the stark choice our politicians are failing to grasp.
You can choose to tackle the imagined problem of "global warming" or you can choose to tackle the real problem of global poverty - but you can not do both.
There are two prevailing fashions dominating the political scene, whose aims and effects are in direct contradiction with one another. But that does not prevent virtually all of the political parties in the Western democracies from attempting to embrace both at the same time.
They are global warming and the mission to eradicate poverty. What scarcely any leader seems prepared to admit (although they are all coming bang up against the reality of it) is that the objectives and tactics involved in forwarding the cause of preventing global warming are inimical to the cause of fighting poverty on a national and an international level.
Absolutely right. Daley goes on to strengthen her argument by pointing out that "green" taxes hit the poorest far harder than it hits the wealthy - but what she fails to understand is that our politicians can not grasp the connection for one simple reason.
They are all socialist.
You see, any conservative knows that ending poverty means creating sustainable prosperity through a capitalist economy. That's how it was done here and in the USA (I'm talking real poverty by the way - not relative poverty which, by definition, is impossible to eradicate) and now they are finding it works just as well in China and India. There are a number of things a capitalist economy requires to be successful, but there is one thing that stands out above all others - energy. Power is the lifeblood of a capitalist economy.
But our politicians - along with the unelected bureaucrats of the EU and UN - don't see it that way. They believe that ending poverty can be achieved through "wealth distribution" - or "aid" as they call it - that tired old socialist doctrine which has failed again and again wherever it has been used on any significant scale.
They continue to labour under the illusion that poverty can be relieved by aid, but the only thing it will do in the longer term is entrench the very poverty it is supposed to alleviate.
Nevertheless, they still think it will work - so they believe you can tackle poverty and global warming at the same time by redistributing wealth. In our post-modern, socialist dominated world we tend to forget about the original point of taxation.
The point of taxation is that the we give the government money in return for providing services that we require. The point of "green" taxation is to take your money and give it to someone else.
Of course it will fail. Without energy our own economy will collapse - then what? We start hoping that China and India will send us aid?
Don't bank on it.