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The Environmentalists Are Wrong
The New York Times ^
| BJORN LOMBORG
Posted on 08/25/2002 9:10:35 PM PDT by Pokey78
With the opening today of the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, we will be hearing a great deal about both concepts: sustainability and development. Traditionally, the developed nations of the West have shown greater concern for environmental sustainability, while the third world countries have a stronger desire for economic development. At big environmental gatherings, it is usually the priorities of the first world that carry the day.
The challenge in Johannesburg will be whether we are ready to put development ahead of sustainability. If the United States leads the way, the world may finally find the courage to do so.
Why does the developed world worry so much about sustainability? Because we constantly hear a litany of how the environment is in poor shape. Natural resources are running out. Population is growing, leaving less and less to eat. Species are becoming extinct in vast numbers. Forests are disappearing. The planet's air and water are getting ever more polluted. Human activity is, in short, defiling the earth and as it does so, humanity may end up killing itself.
There is, however, one problem: this litany is not supported by the evidence. Energy and other natural resources have become more abundant, not less so. More food is now produced per capita than at any time in the world's history. Fewer people are starving. Species are, it is true, becoming extinct. But only about 0.7 percent of them are expected to disappear in the next 50 years, not the 20 percent to 50 percent that some have predicted. Most forms of environmental pollution look as though they have either been exaggerated or are transient associated with the early phases of industrialization. They are best cured not by restricting economic growth but by accelerating it.
That we in the West are so prone to believe the litany despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary results in an excessive focus on sustainability. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in the discussion on global warming.
There is no doubt that pumping out carbon dioxide from fossil fuels has increased the global temperature. Yet too much of the debate is fixated on reducing emissions without regard to cost. With its agreement to the 1997 Kyoto climate treaty, Europe has set itself the goal of cutting its carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2012. This is more than 30 percent below what they would have been in 2012.
Even with renewable sources of energy taking over, the United Nations Climate Panel still estimates a temperature increase of four degrees to five degrees fahrenheit by the year 2100. Such a rise is projected to have less impact in the industrialized world than in the developing world, which tends to be in warmer regions and has an infrastructure less able to withstand the inevitable problems.
Despite our intuition that we need to do something drastic about global warming, economic analyses show that it will be far more expensive to cut carbon dioxide emissions radically than to pay the costs of adapting to the increased temperatures. Moreover, all current models show that the Kyoto Protocol will have surprisingly little impact on the climate: temperature levels projected for 2100 will be postponed for all of six years.
Yet the cost of the Kyoto Protocol will be $150 billion to $350 billion annually (compared to $50 billion in global annual development aid). With global warming disproportionately affecting third world countries, we have to ask if Kyoto is the best way to help them. The answer is no. For the cost of Kyoto for just one year we could solve the world's biggest problem: we could provide every person in the world with clean water. This alone would save two million lives each year and prevent 500 million from severe disease. In fact, for the same amount Kyoto would have cost just the United States every year, the United Nations estimates that we could provide every person in the world with access to basic health, education, family planning and water and sanitation services. Isn't this a better way of serving the world?
The focus should be on development, not sustainability. Development is not simply valuable in itself, but in the long run it will lead the third world to become more concerned about the environment. Only when people are rich enough to feed themselves do they begin to think about the effect of their actions on the world around them and on future generations. With its focus on sustainability, the developed world ends up prioritizing the future at the expense of the present. This is backward. In contrast, a focus on development helps people today while creating the foundation for an even better tomorrow.
The United States has a unique opportunity in Johannesburg to call attention to development. Many Europeans chastised the the Bush administration for not caring enough about sustainability, especially in its rejection of the Kyoto Protocol. They are probably correct that the United States decision was made on the basis of economic self-interest rather than out of some principled belief in world development.. But in Johannesburg the administration can recast its decision as an attempt to focus on the most important and fundamental issues on the global agenda: clean drinking water, better sanitation and health care and the fight against poverty.
Such move would regain for the United States the moral high ground. When United States rejected the Kyoto treaty last year, Europeans talked endlessly about how it was left to them to "save the world." But if the United States is willing to commit the resources to ensure development, it could emerge as the savior.
Bjorn Lomborg is director of the Environmental Assessment Institute in Denmark and author of The Skeptical Environmentalist.
TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: environment; sustainability
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posted on 08/25/2002 9:10:35 PM PDT
Europe and the rest of the world are blaming the US for failing the world's poor and destroying the environment. Tensions are emerging between those who want our money (Britain and most of the world) and the US even before the latest Earth Summit (which is meant to blame the USA for everything, as well as, take as much money from us as possible) in Johannesburg. See August 26th London Times.
Hmmm, now how many colonies did the USA have around the world? How many people did we enslave in Africa, Asia, and the rest of the world? Didn't the British Empire empirically control 1/3 of the world, what about France, Holland, Germany, Spain etc
Yet the world is blaming the USA because the world is poor.
Let those wonderful nations that put these people in poverty, used their cheap labor, and stole their minerals pay for the mess they created.
THE USA IS NOT TO BLAME. Perhaps Europe should look themselves in the mirror for most of the problems of the world. The third world is also to blame for their problems. They often created their mess through their corrupted leaders. The USA has no share in the blame, and we should refuse to accept any guilt. Perhaps the rest of the world should learn to fix their problems, instead of using the USA, Christians, Jews or Israel as whipping boys to blame all their own failings on.
Two last questions. Couldn't the poor in the world have been helped by giving all the money it cost to create this conference to them? Wouldn't the environment be better off with out the waste of fossil fuels it took to get to this conference? If these people don't care enough to send their money to the poor and help the environment, why should we?
They were never right.
Organizations like "Ducks Unlimited" proved that nearly 40 years ago without the help of long-haired maggot- infested, flea-ridden stink-assed Anarchists who are funded by other lunatics...
In the coming months and years more and more suits will be brought against these Eco-Liars asking for documented proof, proof they will never be able to provide and the monies provided them will begin to dry up...
posted on 08/25/2002 9:31:55 PM PDT
Another conference displaying the obvious to those who don't get it yet here in the USA:
Get the US out of the UN!
And get the UN out of the US!!
posted on 08/25/2002 9:37:12 PM PDT
I agree with him except for his assertion that it is demonstrated that man's emission of carbon dioxide has caused warming. This is not proven by any empirical evidence, only by models. I don't believe man has anything to do with global warming, if it is indeed happening.
Anyone who doubts that the Socialists are using environmentalism as a stalking horse for enforced global redistribution of wealth need only glance at this "summit" to have their doubts dispelled.
This whole confab is almost indistinguishable in its rhetoric from the "Millions for Reparations" hate fest last week. It's all "You owe us!" just in different languages.
Sounds like the opening ceremony was a real wingding, though. All they needed was Bubba and his bongos and it would have been just like old times. Too bad.
posted on 08/25/2002 9:47:44 PM PDT
by rogue yam
You should check out his book, "The Skeptical Environmentalist". He discusses these models in detail.
Comment #8 Removed by Moderator
Psst: The earth is fine.
Your IQ, however, is not.
Brilliant. I think he has been on the Dennis Prager show before.
Those who don't mind or can't afford to clean up thier own filth will suffer the consequences.
World population stabilizes when people are happy and have a self realized future. Only capitalizm can give them that.
posted on 08/25/2002 10:33:17 PM PDT
To: Bagels_and_Cheese; Pokey78; LibTeeth
TO: Party Headquarters
Pokey and other capitalists (of the white, upper class persuasion) are exploiting the proletariat that produce their TV's and bananas. Comrade Bagelsn'cheese is an advocate for the non-white, lower class and the "disenfranchised". Though I was previously unaware that there was a Bolshevik satellite operating in Tel Aviv, I'm encouraged to learn there are comrades in arms fighting for the workers of the world in that region of the globe. Perhaps comrade Arafat should get in touch with him soon so we can further our totalitarian, collectivist agenda by continuing to use the environment as a smokescreen for class division and wealth redistribution to other comrades. Advise someone from party headquarters to contact him soon.
New member... Say's he's from tel aviv...
posted on 08/25/2002 10:35:08 PM PDT
I'm surprised the New York Times allowed such politically incorrect comments to be published! Someone on the newspaper must have assumed Bjorn Lomberg is the run of the mill radical "sustainable habit" Green. Rest assured they won't be making that mistake again. Lomberg is a true breath of fresh air in the overheated hothouse of environmental assumptions which basically tend to promote bigger government and push the realization of an idealized environmental state over human needs. Lomberg points out the conference in Johannesburg misses the big picture which is that a lot of environmental damage in the developing world is due to the fact people have to survive first and think about nature later. The buzzword of "sustainability" would simply doom millions to an inferior and wretched existence just so affluent Western greens can feel good about themselves. If there was genuine concern for the environment, we'd junk Kyoto and all the totems of the modern environmental movement and get the Third World into the 21st century as quickly as possible. Perhaps the U.S can help to lead the world to a new environmental ethic that gives every human being an opportunity to have a rich and fulfilling life and which balances environmental protection while making sure people's wants and needs are satisfied. Which is precisely the environmental policy we need today.
Read Richard Pipes book "property and Freedom" it tells the truth that you must first own yourself and the things you aquire to be a free man.
Including your thoughts!
posted on 08/25/2002 10:44:25 PM PDT
>>Only a real chump or moron would actually believe that this planet is in great shape and if we keep destroying all vegetation and allow the population to move forward unhindered, that mother earth will not care. <<
So you believe all the propoganda about humans destroying all the vegetation? You better wake up, it is not happening.
Did you know that in the developed world, the human population is NOT growing. What can we do here in the US to reduce the population increases in other third world countries? The only thing we can do is export capitalism, which is another word for human freedom.
You're spout'in preprogrammed diatribe. The sky is not falling. Read the "sceptical enviromental" if you're not to afraid of some other "VALID"points of view. (which is real diversity) cityboy, You don't know squat about nature other than the enviromental McCarthyism thats been put into your brain. I know what you're gonna say before you do. Are you are real person? or a useful idiot as the communists called them?! (now "good ole cuntry comforts gonna defend himself. Watch out!!)
hooya here comes more "original thought"
He set it up as a straw man that could easily be blown down.
Just more thoughtless drivel.
GIVE ME SCIENCE>>>GIVE ME THOUGHT
posted on 08/25/2002 10:49:10 PM PDT
Upon which universe and/or planet are you living? We have more trees in the U.S. right now than we did 75 years ago. Please do not think man is powerful enough to destroy the planet--because he cannot. Of course he can make small dents in it, but those are typically localized; for example, smog in L.A. But if you have ever flown from, say, Seattle to Atlanta, you will see a lot of empty space filled with farms and trees. We are not even close to killing this planet...not even close. Do not always believe what you read or hear from the mainstream media. After all, their bread and butter is controversy, and they will do just about anything to create ir and/or foster it.
posted on 08/25/2002 10:53:18 PM PDT
Latin countries to have low work standards and low wages to enjoy our cheap TV's and fresh bananas - they are third world because we want them to be - we give out food aid because we would rather them be dependent.
I'll remember this rant the next time I go to Walmart!(Probably be tomorrow!) :-)
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