Skip to comments.The Environmentalists Are Wrong
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.
Get the US out of the UN!
And get the UN out of the US!!
Your IQ, however, is not.
World population stabilizes when people are happy and have a self realized future. Only capitalizm can give them that.
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.
Including your thoughts!
Just more thoughtless drivel.
GIVE ME SCIENCE>>>GIVE ME THOUGHT
I'll remember this rant the next time I go to Walmart!(Probably be tomorrow!) :-)
The U.S. was at one time in dire straights environmentally. We turned that around along time ago beginning with the Great lakes cleanup and it has continued to this day. Sure, we neglect something here or there, but put it right as soon as the problem comes to light.
Some, not all, of the environmentalist people do a yeomans job of monitoring situations and keeping us informed. What hurts the cause more than anything is the wacko who really is not a true environmentalist, but a ego driven wierdo who hates technology and and kind of progress. They want to bring us back to the dark ages and will kill to do it.
These folks have multiple agendas with most of them having nothing to do with the environment. Save the deer, save the spotted owl, save the sucker fish save the gnarly toad licker!!!!!On and on it goes and they are so in your face it makes you want to do 10-20 just to get rid of them!!!!
I hope you are not one of those, are you?
If we are going to play the blame game, lets put the blame where it belongs, squarley on their corrupt totalatarian governments,
What, by giving them jobs and billions of dollars more in aid than any other country. Tell these ingrates to take a hike. The U.S. is Great!
As far as that goes, if I recall when the Israelis took over there the place was a worthless desert. Now it's a quite beautiful I understand, and they have a modern lifestyle too. Seems to me that they aren't trashing things there and managing to balance the two.
Please provide factual basis for this claim.
Our way of keeping a brother down. This is really the agenda in your entire post isn't it? Keep up the race war. As another poster so rightly points out, the environmentalist movement is really the modern vehicle for the Stalinist movement. The communist trash are real good at setting races against one another for their own advancement. Ultimately, they don't care about you, your brothers, the environment, snail darters, or some third world nation. Labor on comrade.
The Kyoto Treaty is a fraud, nine ways from Sunday. Only leftists and enviro-nazis take it seriously. Of course, such types will constitute a solid majority at Johannesburg.
Ok Ok, so only a chump or moron Or Christian would deny this!
The Lord God Almighty, Creator of Heaven AND Earth says that "you (mankind) cannot move the foundations of the earth."
It is some men's arrogance that believes we that we can destroy the earth.
The Ozone hole reduced as the solar storms abated, the warming and cooling of the earth will continue in cycles, (even eviro-weenies are not predicting the kinds of temperatures the earth had during the dinosaurs).
I liked one climatologists comments about this: "The earth has been warming since the last ice age and will continue to warm until it begins moving into another ice age".
As to extinction - most scientist say that 90% of the species were extinct before man showed up on the planet.
When I hear the ridiculous statement from the 'weenies' "let it go back to it natural state" I get crazy. Natural state at what period in time?! and natural for what?! We were given the instructions to "Tend", that means work it, plant it, weed it, prune it, water it, fertilize it, in short make the garden conform to our needs. The wackos are the ones that would shrug off their God given responsibilities.
To blame the USA is absurd!, we feed more of the world's population than any other nation on earth. Nearly all of Africa has a 12 month growing cycle- yet they continually mis-manage and endure famines, they do not control their water resources- so have difficultly during droughts- Muslims are notorious for neglecting to turn nutrients back into the soil, and their lack of 'gardening' means a continually expanding desert. When they had control of Israel, they took a land that was filled with olive trees and fruit and turned it into desert. During the 1950's the Newpaper headlines were of the new Israeli state's work in Gaza and the 'blooming of the desert'.
The enviro's should spend more time with the under-developed nations teaching them how to plan ahead; like dig wells and reserviors, of how to turn debrie back into the earth, so the earth can be more fertile.
Sorry, go off the point,
1. The earth gets hotter
2. The earth gets cooler
3. These cycles will continue until God says, "Stop".
Compare the prosperity of Singapore, which has a dense population and almost zero natural resources, to even South Africa, which has low density population and huge natural resources. Which one is healthy, wealthy and productive? Which one is slipping day by day closer to barbarism?
Most nations in Africa have delibrately chosen, since independence, the wrong kinds of government and the wrong kinds of economic markets. Those bad choices have led directly to the results which you decry. This is not a white-black thing. The USSR collapsed because of exactly the same bad decisions. Other than China, Africa is the promary place in the world where Marxism still survives -- and unlike China, Africa's idea of dictatorship is steal everything that isn't nailed down, and kill everyone who disagrees with you. Even China, which is no model of either peace or prosperity, has realized that such policies are fatal to a nation.
No one except Africans can save Africans from the stupidity of their current governmental decisions.
Disease, politics and war have ravished the third world, but runaway overpopulation threatens many countries.
Our food donations have saved millions from starvation.
How to reduce the population?
When I was a kid I had an ant farm.
When I stopped feeding them, they died.
I deny we are killing the planet.
And my opinion is worth at least as much as yours.
Have you read Lomborg's book?
Have you heard of the dozens of artiles criticizing in detail the assumptions in existing climate models and their present inability to "predict" recent past climate?
psssst! that's the basis on which all these predictions of doom and gloom are based.
Do you know the definition of "science"?
Third or fourth grade stuff, if I remember correctly.
It looks like some fellow FReepers have already ripped your little diatribe to shreds, so I'm not even going to get started.
I had a blast watching a segment on "Real TV" a few nights ago where the greenpeace idiots were getting blown off of their little dingys with water from firehoses being used by Russian crewmen on a cargo ship. Just my little dig, OK? Have a nice day.
"Such a move would regain for the US the moral highground.......But if the the US is willing to commit the resources to ensure development, it could emerge as a savior."
A lot of conservatives and many, many freepers will loudly complain should Bush follow Lomborg's advice on this. Although it would be cheaper than Kyoto, this "committing the resources" will be a sizable increase in foreign aid.
Recall the increase in foreign aid that came about when Bush made his UN speech in Monterrey, Mexico that was used to slap down the the notion of a UN tax. There were many BushBash threads here regarding that increase in foreign aid.
Also recall that Bush followed the advice of NASA scientist Hansen on taking the moral high ground in regard US emissions of pollutants. Although this path left CO2 as voluntary, it set strict limits on CO, methane, CFC, soot particles, NOx, VOCs, etc. Many were displeased with this.
It is a no-win situation for Bush. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't.
Yes, the earth is fine. It was here before you, and it will survive even you.
I have no idea what "most people that left feedback" means. If you are going to bother typing your thoughts to an American-based forum, you might consider learning English.
Oh, and ignorance does not "take place." Yours, in fact, metastasizes.
Now you have made many statements today, can you cite scientific data to validate your opinions?
One day, I woke up and realized that everything I was doing was a lie! Oh sure, I could film a waterfall foaming with soap suds (Phosphate polution was the "in" thing at the time), but 5 feet away, there was a thriving community of minnows.
The harder I worked to document this horrible polution, the more I realized that we were lying to the public.
Think I am joking? Here is your personal challenge:
1) Post images around your own personal home which depict examples of polution.
2) Show us an image 180 degrees away from this source of polution.
I already know the answer - that 180 degree image will show a thriving community of life.
When I was fighting for the environment, we had a serious problem.
With your logic, all of our efforts since 1960 have been in vain. And if our efforts have not improved the environment, why are we still wasting our money on these programs?
I worked hard to help our environment over these years. I tend to get rather upset when people like you tell me that everything I did was useless!