Sunday, September 06, 2020

The Racism of Climate Change Alarmists

Climate alarmists are hypocritically proclaiming climate change is founded on racist practices. Under this theory, the sun, our galaxy, and their creator are racist, since they have driven climate change throughout history.

Racism has historically been a factor in many decisions about education, land use, zoning, and many other aspects of our lives, but this began long before Europeans made landfall in the new world. Tribalism, the most fundamental form of racism historically, has existed from time immemorial.

‘Domain of Environmental Alarmists’

Recent racism is a prime domain of environmental alarmists, and a direct outgrowth of centuries of patronizing colonialism. Many climate alarmists argue today’s poor and indigenous people must be “guided” into a “green” tomorrow and not allowed to use the fossil fuels industrialized nations have employed to grow, create wealth, improve living standards, and remain free. Often these same people seem okay with the fact their “solutions” to “climate change” harm billions of people worldwide by leaving them in abject poverty, lacking electricity and clean water. Their lives are far removed from the privileges of eco-elites, who are more concerned about the indirect impacts of climate change on future generations than saving real lives today.

Instead of recognizing their own role in sustaining energy poverty (and its resultant misery, disease, and death), climate alarmists berate the West for escaping generational poverty through technology. Penn State meteorologist Gregory Jenkins has linked racism to climate change “because it dictates who benefits from activities that produce planet-warming gases and who suffers most from the consequences.” Their “solution” is to deny poor people around the world access to fossil fuels and the blessings their use can bring.

Fifteen years ago, Cameroonian journalist Jean-Claude Shanda Tomme said environmentalists “still believe us to be like children that they must save, as if we don’t realize ourselves what the source of our problems is.” Incredibly, this remains a prevailing attitude.


Nearly two decades ago, in his seminal book Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death, Paul Driessen exposed the racist origins of European and American nongovernmental organizations, banking institutions, and government’s eco-colonialist, anti-modernity agenda.

In its introduction, Congress Of Racial Equality National Spokesman Niger Innis said the green elites’ policies “prevent needy nations from using the very technologies that developed countries employed to become rich, comfortable, and free of disease. And they send millions of infants, children, men and women to early graves every year.”

Eco-elites insist Africans not be allowed to combat malaria with DDT, which eradicated malaria throughout the developed world. And they pressure Africans to not use their abundant coal, hydroelectric, natural gas, nuclear or oil resources, the same technologies and resources that enriched modern civilizations.

Multiple voices have demanded the West stop smothering Africans with money that fuels massive corruption. A decade ago, in reviewing Dambisa Moyo’s brilliant 2009 book, Dead Aid, I recalled her litany of “sins of aid with strings.” It fuels corruption, encourages inflation, increases debt loads, kills exports, causes civil unrest, frustrates entrepreneurship, and disenfranchises citizens. In effect, foreign aid is also racist.

OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo pleaded with Western leaders that “energy is fundamental for economic development and social progress. While the use of all forms of energy is welcome, it is clear that fossil fuels will continue to satisfy the lion’s share of the world’s growing energy needs for decades to come.” But Africans are still routinely denied financing to develop those resources for their own citizens. This is racism at its worst.

Recently, a World Bank Development Research Group proposed building a 100,000-kilometer African highway system to connect all major African capitals and large cities. It would cost just $30 billion, plus $2 billion a year in maintenance, in the process generating $750 billion a year in overland trade among African nations. In an act of pure racism, environmentalists within the World Bank and other development organizations successfully lobbied to shelve it.

Green-Racism Continues Post-COVID-19

And so the green racism continues. African Energy Chamber Executive Chairman N.J. Ayuk recently criticized the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and International Energy Agency (IEA) for describing low oil prices caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as “golden opportunity” for governments to phase out fossil fuels support– and thus better living standards.

“The OECD and IEA don’t necessarily know what’s best for the people who live on this planet,” wrote Ayuk in a syndicated article released by the African Energy Chamber. “Pressuring governments to stop supporting fossil fuels certainly would not be good for the African oil and gas companies or entrepreneurs striving to build a better future.

“And it could be downright harmful to communities looking at gas-to-power initiatives to bring them reliable electricity,” Ayuk wrote. “Too often the discussion about climate change – and the call to leave fossil fuels in the ground – is largely a Western narrative [that] does not factor in the needs of low-income Africans who could reap the many benefits of a strategic approach to oil and gas operations in Africa: Reduced energy poverty, job creation, and entrepreneurship opportunities, to name a few.”

On the global stage, Ayuk concluded, the OECD and the IEA are “dismissing the voices of many Africans who want and need the continent’s oil and gas industry to thrive.” In short, elitist global power brokers ignore the voices of the world’s most needy.

Firewood Not Gas for Thee

Despite abundant rivers, sunlight, and oil, gas, coal, and uranium reserves, in a report for the Global Warming Policy Forum, journalist Geoff Hill details how many Africans still rely on increasingly scarce firewood to cook and heat their homes on cold nights, stripping forest habitats and decimating wildlife habitats in the process. Of the world’s 50 countries with the least access to electricity, 41 are in Africa.

Nigerian neurosurgeon Dr. Sylvanus Ayeni’s 2017 book Rescue Thyself exposes how the corrupt African governments have failed to serve their people. He is saddened that, despite over a trillion dollars in aid to Africa from the United States alone, so much has been blown on palaces, private jets, and outright theft.

But who empowered these greedy leaders, who sought to do what donors wanted? Will the West finally acknowledge their paternalistic racism that empowered this corruption? Or will it just continue the eugenic practices that dehumanized Africans as “unfit” to advance, under the guise of fighting climate change?


Media Misinformation Harms Conservation Efforts

The use of misinformation to shape opinions and actions is a practice as old as politics. Plato argued that falsehoods had a rightful place in politics insofar as they were necessary for the good of the state. In his canonical work The Prince the Italian diplomat Niccolo Machiavelli counseled leaders that one should “never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.” Russian President Vladimir Putin once expressed his disdain for politics by remarking it required one to “be insincere and promise something which you cannot promise. So you either have to be a fool who does not understand what you are promising, or deliberately be lying.”

Conservation politics are not immune to misinformation, and few conservation issues have been surrounded by the degree of misinformation that trophy hunting is. While legislation to prohibit the importation of hunting trophies from Africa is debated in Congress and Parliament, social media and newspapers in the United States and United Kingdom contain a daily swarm of stories making claims about trophy hunting that have no basis in science or the lived experience of African people.

Should these false narratives prevail in shaping public policy, efforts to prevent the extinction of species will be set back. Equally important is that every public policy debate dominated by misinformation harms our democracies. Promoting and embracing false narratives surrenders fidelity to reason and facts observed through science to sentiment and mythology. This will not equip us to overcome the challenges of the twenty-first century.

A team of co-authors, led by Adam Hart of the University of Gloucestershire, and including myself, recently confronted this state of affairs in a peer-reviewed letter published in the journal Conservation Biology. In our letter, we highlight the ways in which ideas that are presented as “facts” about trophy hunting’s impact on wildlife run counter to the actual scientific understanding of those impacts. We indict and prosecute specific examples of misinformation about trophy hunting spread through the popular press. Finally, we encourage other academics and subject matter experts to increase their engagement in conservation policy debates so that the “increasingly toxic influence” of misinformation does not take hold.

Winston Churchill once observed that “a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” This is even more true today, when a meme of questionable provenance can be sent to millions of people over social media platforms, “independent journalists” publish unsourced and unsubstantiated stories, “deep fake” videos can cause people to question their own eyes, and newsroom editors recycle it all to keep readers and get clicks. So long as policy debates around conservation continue to be influenced by these kinds of misinformation tactics, conservation experts must never tire of stepping forward to set the record straight and give the truth a fighting chance.


Opening up post-COVID-19 free trade to save the planet

American refined silicon; German electronic power inverters; Japanese photovoltaic cell manufacturing; British financial services. What do these elements all have in common? They each contribute in one way or another to the creation and distribution of a solar panel. They also represent the international supply chain that has not only brought down the cost of solar energy in recent years, but also renewable energy more broadly.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has not only shaken renewable energy supply chains across the globe, it has also created a public distrust of relying too much on foreign countries for our energy and other needs. But, we must not ignore the benefits that such global supply chains have brought to the rapid and cost-decreasing deployment of clean forms of energy around the world.

We often hear about the global nature of climate change — a threat all countries must face together. This global aspect is undeniably true.The potential impacts of a changing climate represent a challenge the entire international community needs to address. As parts of Bangladesh face coming under water, so too does Florida. The million-dollar question is: How can countries in the West incentivize climate action not only domestically, but also abroad? Indeed, there is no use in the United States or Europe reaching net zero by 2050, if countries such as India and China do not do the same.

As my recently published book “Green Market Revolution” argues, one particularly promising approach to unleashing a global transition to cleaner energy is through the simple, yet under-appreciated, concept of free trade. We must build on the successes of clean energy global supply chains and further accelerate their impact. For centuries, and especially in the latter half of the 20th century, global free trade has contributed to lifting billions out of poverty, accelerating innovations across the globe and sharing valuable knowledge across cultures.

The international fight against climate change would benefit in a similar manner. Not only have free trade agreements previously contributed to environmental advancement, such as under George W. Bush’s Trade Act of 2002, but established agreements with countries such as Colombia, South Korea and Peru helped to reduce airborne chemicals, deforestation, illegal logging and more. It is only by sharing ideas and innovations across borders that the best and most efficient clean technologies will emerge. The beauty of the international trading system is that different countries with different skill-sets and areas of expertise can all contribute in their own way, cost-effectively, to producing parts of these technologies. American silicon, German inverters, Japanese cells and British financial services.

Even despite the bleakness of the COVID-19 devastation, there are significant opportunities for America to become a global leader in clean free trade. The first of these is an already-existing framework called the Agreement on Climate Change, Trade and Sustainability (ACCTS). Announced in 2019 by the governments of New Zealand, Fiji, Norway, Costa Rica and Iceland, ACCTS puts forward three key policies: the removal of all tariffs on environmental goods and services, the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies and the development of voluntary mechanisms for eco-labeling. In doing so, these five countries hope to unleash a veritable market of environmentally beneficial goods and services, by tearing down barriers to their global free trade. Instead of placing tariffs on the very goods that will help reduce our emissions, the Trump administration should become a leading player in it. The ACCTS framework would provide both a financially beneficial outlet for American manufacturing and technology innovations, but also a source of cheaper and higher-quality international environmental products, such as parts for solar panels and wind turbines. Both the economy and global environment would benefit.

Secondly, with the United Nations COP26 conference set to be held in the United Kingdom in November 2021, America would do well to use the opportunity to foster closer ties with post-Brexit Britain, along these lines. Indeed, with Britain and the U.S. together representing over a quarter of world GDP, signing a free trade agreement that includes crucial environmental provisions would be hugely significant for the development of clean energy worldwide. Indeed, it would be a sign of genuine climate leadership on behalf of two of the most influential countries in our international system, and would encourage other countries to follow suit. Moreover, in an increasingly multipolar world order, a foreign policy that emphasizes environmental protection and cooperation would provide a refreshing change of scene, strengthening the hand of those countries with honest intentions, over more unscrupulous international players.

Ultimately, as the world increasingly looks toward cleaner forms of energy in the fight against climate change, we need not resort to heavy-handed international interventions or expensive domestic policies. Post-COVID-19 clean free trade policy can accelerate both clean energy innovation internationally, as well as lay the foundations of a sustainable American economic recovery.


Gas Plants To Stay Open As California Bows To Energy Reality

Last week, I described the dilemma facing the California State Water Resources Control Board.

It could demand adherence to the schedule for closing coastal gas plants that use seawater by the end of this year.

If they did so, they would compound California’s energy crisis; if not, the board would have to face the fact that renewable energy was insufficient for the State’s needs and acknowledge that it needed these fossil fuel plants to continue operating or the state would face further blackouts.

Today it acknowledged reality, as the Los Angles Times reports. The board allowed the plants to remain in operation for a few more years until —  they hope — chimerical renewable energy can pick up the load:

State officials threw a lifeline to four fossil-fueled power plants along the Southern California coast, deciding the facilities are still needed to provide reliable electricity even as they contribute to the climate crisis.

Tuesday’s vote by the State Water Resources Control Board to let the gas plants keep operating past the end of this year followed brief rolling blackouts over two evenings last month, as a heatwave caused air conditioning demand to soar, and California found itself short on electricity supplies.

Energy regulators are still investigating the causes of the power shortage. But they said allowing the coastal gas plants to stay open a few more years would help prevent more outages as California continues its transition to cleaner energy sources — an ironic solution given that climate change almost certainly exacerbated the recent heatwave.

Maybe it won’t ever get hot again in California. Maybe there never will be smoke and smog blocking sunlight. Maybe storage capacity will be vastly increased.

Maybe the gas plants will find an efficient, affordable way to discharge seawater without substantially affecting marine life. Maybe not.

Of course, the notion that the warm seawater discharge from the plants seriously harms marine life may also be open to some debate.

I remember environmentalists claiming the caribou would die off if the Alaskan pipeline was built, but it turns out the caribou love it:

Thirty years later we can see the effects of the pipeline on the caribous. Walter Hickel, a former U.S. Secretary of the Interior and governor of Alaska, said the caribou has not only survived, but flourished. In 1977, as the Prudhoe region started delivering oil to America’s southern 48 states, the Central Arctic caribou numbered 6,000: it has since grown to 27, 128.

It’s hyperbolical predictions like this that make me chary of the environmentalists’ claims, which always exaggerate the risks of real energy production while they ignore the risks related to “renewables,” such as the risk to birds from large solar arrays in the desert and from windmills and the danger now of disposal solar panels and windmills that are now out of commission or soon will be.

Let me know when they march on the auto companies to highlight the environmental risks in the creation and disposal of electric car batteries.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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