The Tragedy Of Earth Day
It is Earth Day today, a chance for all tree huggers, green activists and other self absorbed eco-types to feel good about themselves by disparaging their neighbors. There was a time when environmental issues were rightfully at the top of people's concerns—the skies above our cities were brown and noxious, our rivers and streams poisoned with pollution, lead was accumulating in the environment and our children. The problem is, though most major problems have been addressed, the bureaucracy that was created to fix the environment cannot help but look for new problems that demand solutions, even if the problems are slight and the solutions draconian. Chief among these new problems is “carbon pollution” by which the eco-enforcers mean CO2 emissions. The tragedy of Earth Day is that governments spend billions of dollars on meaningless efforts to curb carbon dioxide while billions live in poverty and squaller around the world.
There was a time when breathing the air in any large city was hazardous to your health, rivers used to spontaneously combust, and toxic metals were working their way up the food chain. Life is unquestionably better now than it was 50 years ago with respect to the environment. There is no doubt that the ecological awakening in the 1960s helped make our world a better place to live. I was an environmentalist then and remain one today, and it is not like there are no remaining problems: ash pits from coal plants are a witch's brew of contaminants; rivers damned in hast strangle wild fish populations and ruin the surrounding countryside; and deforestation is a blight on the tropics, threatening to alter climate and ruin some of the last bastions of truly wild habitat. One of the best ways to help stop such rampant destruction of the world's remaining natural areas is to help the people in under developed countries get the energy they need.
That's the dirty truth that the IPCC and NGO fanatics refuse to discuss. The sad fact is deforestation is often caused by the desperation of local people, strugling to survive. They practice primitive, slash and burn farming that lays waste to tropical forests. Greens decry the expanding use of coal, but burning coal is healthier than burning dung or wood. The Economist proclaims coal “The fuel of the future.” A cheap, ubiquitous and flexible fuel, with just one problem:
What more could one want? It is cheap and simple to extract, ship and burn. It is abundant: proven reserves amount to 109 years of current consumption, reckons BP, a British energy giant. They are mostly in politically stable places.
The problem? “It is devastatingly dirty,” says the article. Oh Really? Try burning dung in your London flat. Anyone who has read this blog regularly, or our book, The Energy Gap, knows that I am not a fan of coal. But, given the choice between coal or nothing, coal can be a lifesaver for the poor and impoverished people of the world. And make no mistake, coal use is on the rise around the world for just that reason.
Burning Natural Gas is cleaner, which is why the US's CO2 emissions are down 10% and still falling. Even better would be to “burn” uranium and thorium, but mention nuclear energy to eco-loonies and they froth at the mouth and their eyes roll back in their heads. You see, helping people escape poverty and feed themselves is no longer fashionable among the elites and terminally compassionate.
After all, global warming threatens us all, or so all the talking airheads repeat ad nauseam. America's Airhead In Chief, Barack Obama, has told everyone that the debate is over, the science is settled, and refuses to OK the Keystone pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast refineries. This ignores the fact the crude is already making that trip, it is just doing it by less efficient and more dangerous means, like trains and tanker trucks. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency is celebrating Earth Week by jet-setting across the country on a multi-city tour that will end up hurting the environment, according to environmentalists.
But a good green never lets the facts get in the way of moral certitude, or practicality trump righteous indignation. It doesn't matter that this amounts to those born of privilege denying the poorest among us the blessings of modern civilization. As we said in The Energy Gap:
Humans have a trait that distinguishes us from all other species: the ability to use fire. We turn on a switch and light comes into our homes. With the turn of a key, vehicles take us where we want to go. We adjust a thermostat in our homes to make us warm or cool. These are everyday events we hardly think about. It took centuries of vision, science and engineering to achieve this comfort-point in our long evolutionary journey. Today, an average person lives better than kings lived several centuries ago...
There is also a warning. If we chose the political route, the activist route, the human race will slide backwards for the first time since the Industrial Revolution.
We are not alone in trying to draw the world's attention to the real harm global warming alarmism and its co-conspirator, green energy, are doing to less developed nations. Bjørn Lomborg, an adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School and founder and director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, recently wrote an article titled “Global Warming’s Upside-Down Narrative.” In it he takes activists and politicians to task for chasing the phantom menace that is climate change:
When politicians around the world tell the story of global warming, they cast it as humanity’s greatest challenge. But they also promise that it is a challenge that they can meet at low cost, while improving the world in countless other ways. We now know that is nonsense...
We live in a world where one in six deaths are caused by easily curable infectious diseases; one in eight deaths stem from air pollution, mostly from cooking indoors with dung and twigs; and billions of people live in abject poverty, with no electricity and little food. We ought never to have entertained the notion that the world’s greatest challenge could be to reduce temperature rises in our generation by a fraction of a degree.
The solution is to stop applauding politicians who warn of catastrophe and promote poor policies. Instead of subsidizing inefficient solar and wind power with little benefit, we need to invest in long-term green innovation. And we need to give more attention to all of the other problems. This is perhaps less entertaining, but it will do much more good.
This anti-human, eco-racisim doesn't stop with denying underdeveloped nations the energy they need to raise their people out of poverty. Patrick Moore, one of the founders of Greenpeace, is fighting for the cultivation of Golden Rice, a GMO, in Asia and Africa. This crop that could save millions of children of this world is attacked violently, notably by Greenpeace.
Golden Rice (GR) has been engineered to produce large amounts of vitamin A. This is important because vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is responsible for 500,000 cases of irreversible blindness and up to 2 million deaths each year. Particularly susceptible are pregnant women and children in poor countries. Across the globe, an estimated 19 million pregnant women and 190 million children suffer from the condition. Dietary supplementation of vitamin A using GR can eliminate VAD but because it is a genetically modify food (GM) it is denounced as evil by dim bulb activists. They demonstrate in European cities, yelling “frankenfood!” while millions die in less developed countries.
Even Pope Francis has given his personal blessing to Golden Rice. Still the neo-Luddite green movement mistrusts science and anything created by man. Moore, who left Greenpeace years ago when it became to irrational for him to stomach, has recanted his former stand against nuclear power as well, admitting that the perceived threat of climate change pales beside the actual needs of the world's poor.
So hats off to the world's eco-activists: They blocked the only truly carbon dioxide free, safe and proven energy source; They are mobilizing to block fracking, a technology that has done more to lower CO2 emissions than all green energy projects combined; They force developed nations to use biofuels, diverting crops for no effect while driving up food prices in poor countries; They protest bio-engineered foods that could save millions of lives today. It is them, not climate change, that posese the greatest threat to the world we live in.
If you consider yourself a caring human being you should take care to reflect on the state of the world on Earth Day. Most of the blather you will see and hear celebrating the planet today will actually be wrong. Wrong for nature, wrong for the ecosystem, wrong for the entire planet but most importantly, wrong for the world's poor and powerless. The truth is there is no room for people in Earth Day, because greens and environmental activists despise their own species—they love nature so much, they have no compassion left for human beings. It is about time that we eliminate Earth Day and start celebrating Earth's People Day.
Be safe, enjoy the interglacial and stay skeptical.