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why progress is environmentalism
and why real environmentalists must support progress
i am an environmentalist.
i value clean air, clean water, forests, rivers, lake, jungles, and wide open wild spaces and well used well conserved means of enjoying them. always have. probably always will.
and this is why i find the issues raised by so many of the self-described “greens” today who have been so subsumed and outright eaten by the “anthropogenic global warming” story so problematic:
because they have become the enemies of actual environmentalism and ecology by setting their goals and demands in opposition to that which actually supports the environment.
and this has become absurd and malformed to the point of being truly dangerous and counterproductive.
these dogmatic eco-warriors have become an actual threat to a cleaner, greener world and they are sucking all the air out of the room, the money out of the system, and both discrediting the valid aims of what i view to be an important bottoms up movement and championing top down actions and mandates that will set it back a century if they don’t knock it off.
their watermelon religion run by green-grifters and totalitarians is not progress, it’s anti-progress. it seeks to champion only the most expensive, unreliable, and unsound means of energy production to thereby make energy hideously expensive. this will impoverish us all.
and that will harm the environment because like it or not, “environment” functions in every way like a “luxury good” in the economist’s sense of the term. before people start howling about “the environment is not a luxury” let me explain what that means because in the economic lexicon the implication is very specific and not always initially intuitive:
as defined in economics, a luxury good is a good with high income elasticity of demand.
consider “ski vacations in the alps.”
those with low income will choose to consume little or zero of this good. it’s expensive and they are focused on food, shelter, health, education, and less costly entertainments than dropping $10k on a family weekend shooshing in gstaad.
many want it, but most cannot afford it. however, when income rises, people begin to disproportionately select to purchase trips like this. it’s a desirable thing and past income X, this sort of consumption rises rapidly when wealth increases.
and in human decision making, “environment” works just like this.
it’s just a function of maslow’s hierarchy of needs. people desperate to feed their malnourished children are A LOT less worried about what they dump in the river than rich people are. always will be. it’s just a fact and there is no changing it.
until the more basic needs are met, you cannot make people care about less pressing desires.
the only way to do this is to first evolve economies to generate plenty.
and that takes energy because energy is wealth.
there are no nations that got rich without using a lot of energy. that’s HOW you get rich.
and early on, it’s a messy process.
find me a country that went from “poor” to “rich” in any generally applicable fashion without going through a period of nasty environmental degradation.
(and no, becoming a banking haven or city-state trade emporium does not count as this neither scales to large populations nor are they universally applicable)
it’s just not a thing.
those inadept at generating and using power do not fare well.
it’s a path to penury and misery.
it’s a path to societal failure.
and failing societies tend to be filthy societies. pollution and poverty go hand in hand.
they have to grow out of it and that too can be messy.
societies reach a stage of organization, see lots of opportunity to generate/acquire wealth, and they go for it.
they make the omelets and worry about the broken eggs later.
but they DO worry about it later, and that’s the important takeaway:
once you cross an income point, the mess you’re making is suddenly on everyone’s mind and they not only want to do something about it, they can afford to do something about it. like exotic ski trips, this was a good many wanted but most could not pay for. then one day, they could. so they did.
the US, UK, germany, even china all crossed this line and started cleaning up.
and it’s working.
air and water quality has been on the rise for decades in the west.
it’s poor countries that strip and slash/burn them.
it’s poor countries that are dumping all the plastic into the sea.
rich countries do not do this.
in unfortunately typical fashion, the western climate warriors are all focused on the non-problem and ignoring the real one. such myopic missing of the forest for the trees seems the oddly universal focus of this whole movement.
they’ll advocate anything except something that might actually work.
(map of ocean plastic sources. SOURCE)
despite the posturing and profession of ignorant pastoral aboriginialism, i really doubt people want to go back to scratching out mud hut level subsistence. doing so would be such a setback in lifestyle, life expectancy, and the ability to sustain and feed humans that we’d have ~90% fewer humans around. odd how those professing to be truly committed to such malthusian causes never seem to wish to lead by example on “dehumanization.” somehow it’s always us and not them that constitutes the carbon that needs to be reduced.
it’s all just self-indulgent delusion.
the simple, unavoidable fact is this:
in anything resembling a remotely modern society energy use is wealth and wealth, in turn, is environmentalism in pretty much every meaningful sense.
for the developing world to start caring about the environment, it’s first going to have to develop, just like we did. and we need to get out of their way and let them.
you cannot fix the environment by keeping poor people poor and “green energy for the 3rd world” is just a nasty new way to say “let them eat cake.”
sorry, that’s just how it is.
stunts and stratagems to keep them from moving to modern levels of economic output and energy consumption are simply not going to work.
no one worried about where dinner for their kids is coming from (or if it’s coming at all) cares about greenbelts and dumping stuff in rivers or putting a little more plant food into the atmosphere.
if you don’t like it, take it up with physics and biology.
(and good luck with that…)
this endless harangue of meaningless mitigation is either the result of deeply unserious people having no idea what they are talking about or the use of trumped up claims about CO2 used to push for funding or to foist ulterior “green on the outside red on the inside” collectivist agendas of economic dictatorship and central planning upon unsuspecting dupes. (most likely a complex combination of the two, see the “rule by rube” gato postulate and “democracy dies in data adulteration”)
and it’s certainly doing absolutely nothing positive for the world.
wealth is also survival. wealth is adaptation. the “heat deaths” issue is hilariously overblown, most of the current “record heat wave” in the EU is a fabrication or the result of data being tortured until it confesses to crimes it did not commit, and cold kills FAR more people than heat, but there is another factor here as well:
to the (dubious) extent that this is actually a problem, the very air conditioning they love to vilify solves this. it’s just not widespread in the EU because, after decades of socialist policy suppressing growth and wealth accumulation, most of the EU is too poor to afford it.
these “heat deaths” are really deaths of poverty.
and that’s a very important perspective to maintain because this gang wants to cure problems of poverty with economic suppression.
and that will be an environmental, economic, and human disaster.
the social control vectors they got a taste of under covid have left them hungry for more.
they are not even trying to hide it.
suddenly, “climate is the new covid” and in just the manner that certain internet felines have long been yowling about, they are going to play all the same stupid games and try to hand you all the same stupid prizes.
they are selling you poison and penury as panacea.
the new absurdist push into “we need blackouts and climate lockdowns and 15 minute cities” is an idea as dangerous as it is deluded.
it will not save. it will kill.
it’s anti-progress, anti-human, and anti-environment.
it’s also another horrendous foray into anti-science reality denial.
we just had a massive global experiment on this from covid lockdowns. travel dropped precipitously, offices were empty, few people flew or drove, factories were idled. we experienced a level of human suppression and a drop in activity of unprecedented (and unsustainable) magnitude.
the effect on global CO2 levels was 0. nothing changed. the rise was perfectly average and you cannot pick it out of the surrounding data no matter how hard you squint.
the most aggressive implementation of purported mitigation in human history occurred and it had no impact.
it was probably the most expensive intervention in human history and it did not move the needle even a micrometer. all cost, no benefit.
and now they want to try again?
maybe the NYT is right:
maybe climate truly is the new covid…