Let me begin by making clear that I am an environmentalist. It was my concern for the environment – especially my little piece of the environment that I enjoy in the north woods – that was the genesis of my discovery of the inverse relationship between population density and per capita consumption, which I presented and explained in Five Short Blasts. It’s a clear-eyed look at just where unending population growth will take us. Few have devoted as much of their time to trying to save the planet.
Let me also make clear that I’m neither a GOP conservative nor a Democrat. As I stated in Five Short Blasts, the platforms of both parties – both of which embrace and promote population growth – produce nothing more than weaving left and right along a path to ruin. So this post isn’t politically motivated.
“Climate change,” the now-politically correct term for global warming, is real. The link to human activity is undeniable. I’ve watched Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and agree with its premise. Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane are building up in the atmosphere and trapping solar heat. The science is clear. Kudos to the scientists.
But shame on environmentalists. The environmental movement has been a colossal failure. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t now find ourselves in the fix that we’re in. We wouldn’t be in the midst of a mass extinction. The dire consequences of global warming are now inevitable. Environmentalists admit as much. And who is to blame for all of this? There’s plenty of blame to go around but it could be argued that no one is more to blame than the leaders of the environmental movement themselves. There may be a special place in hell for these people for what they’ve done.
Why do I say such a thing? A little history is in order. Going back decades, to the ’80s, if my memory serves me correctly, the environmental movement was in trouble. The Vietnam war was over and young, impatient activists seized upon the environment as a new cause. Their approach was radical and intolerant. Industry, the civilian half of the “military industrial complex” that was the object of so much scorn by young radicals during the Vietnam era, was demonized as the enemy of humanity by the environmental movement. The environmental movement was anti-industry, anti-development anti-everything to the point where they were perceived as being anti-humanity.
At the same time, as a result of new trade policies ushered in by GATT (the Global Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, enacted in 1947), the de-industrialization of America was underway. Factories were closing. People were losing their jobs. And the country was being flooded with imports from Japan. Eager to find a scapegoat, industry successfully blamed the environmental movement for making it impossible to continue manufacturing in America. People began to despise these young, impatient, intolerant and uncompromising environmentalist radicals.
Industry had its own image problems. Both sides saw an opportunity and began to collaborate. The environmental movement softened its approach to development and, in return for the environmentalists’ endorsement of new development projects, industry began to embrace some of their more reasonable demands and causes. The environmental movement made a deal with the devil and the concept of “sustainable development” was born.
Soon after, the company I worked for served up an example. They announced plans to build a new plant on a pristine “green field” site – a piece of undeveloped property they owned. At the same time, they also announced that another such piece of property was being set aside as a sort of wildlife refuge, never to be developed. This, they proudly proclaimed, was a prime example of “sustainable development.” “How the hell is that sustainable?” I wondered. Half of the property in question was now gone. It didn’t take a genius to figure out where that will ultimately lead if such “development” is “sustained.”
The term is an oxymoron and there is no such thing as “sustainable development.” It makes me bristle every time I hear it. By it’s very definition, “development” means putting natural resources to work to enhance the lives of human-kind. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you recognize that, in a finite world, the process has to stop at some point. It can’t be sustained forever. A finite resource can only sustain a certain number of people at a high standard of living. Even a child should be able to understand this. Yet, that is exactly what corporate leaders and their environmentalist lackeys would have you believe – that we can continue growing our population and continue to consume more and more, and thus grow their profits – “sustainably.” Forever.
Of course, the leaders of the environmental movement responsible for this mess won’t find themselves alone. If there’s a hotter place in hell, it’s occupied by economists – those people who, in the wake of their Malthusian black eye, proclaimed that there is no limit to man’s ability to overcome all obstacles to growth, and vowed never again to even consider that population growth could present challenges. It is yet another claim unable to stand up to even the most rudimentary scrutiny, but is the foundation upon which the concept of “sustainable development” is built. Incredibly, the environmental movement has bought into this.
With all of this said, I decided to do my own objective evaluation of the Paris Climate Agreement to decide for myself the wisdom of Trump’s move. I started with Wikipedia’s take on the agreement, but then decided to go right to the United Nations’ web site that documents the whole thing. I wanted to read the agreement for myself. But, try as I might, I’ll be darned if I can find it. There’s lots of explanation from the UN about the agreement, but I couldn’t find the agreement itself. That kind of thing always makes me a little suspicious.
Anyway, here’s some key aspects of the agreement:
- Certain few developed countries – most notably the U.S. – are targeted to generate all of the reduction in greenhouse gases. Many undeveloped nations are actually allowed to increase their emissions in order to allow them to develop. China, the world’s worst polluter, committed to only 25% of the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, in per capita terms, that the U.S. committed to achieving.
- Aid, beginning at a minimum of $100 billion per year above and beyond aid that nations are already receiving, must be provided by developed nations to help undeveloped nations develop faster and to help them deal with the effects of climate change.
- Each nation sets its own goals, consistent with the overall goal to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius or less, but then must report annually on their progress toward meeting their goals.
Already, I was beginning to have my doubts. Forcing dramatic emissions cuts on the U.S. while allowing other nations to increase their emissions seems to preclude the U.S. from ever re-balancing trade and rebuilding the manufacturing sector of the economy, even if it meant producing products in plants that operated under strict environmental regulations as opposed to the filthy factories spewing smog in China. This feels like some sort of “eco-trade barrier.”
Secondly, the requirement that wealthy nations boost their aid to developing nations by a minimum of another $100 billion per year to help them develop seems like a money grab. We all know where the vast majority of funding would come from – the U.S. – just as the U.S. funds a disproportionate share of the U.N., the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, NATO, and virtually every other multi-national organization.
Finally, as I scanned through the many web pages that the UN serves up, I found the real goal of the agreement. In the UN’s own words, here it is:
- The ultimate objective of the Convention is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations “at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human induced) interference with the climate system.” It states that “such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened, and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.”
And there it is! “… enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.” This agreement isn’t about saving the planet or the environment. It’s about keeping environmental degradation just tolerable enough that we can continue to pack the planet with more corporate customers.
If climate change is the result of human activity, then isn’t it logical that any effort to combat it should begin with a focus on limiting the number of humans or their activity? What is gained if we all cut our greenhouse gas emissions per capita by 50% but then double the population? Absolutely nothing!
The U.S. has already made strides in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But it isn’t even close to being enough. To achieve the cuts that President Obama committed to in the Kyoto protocol – cuts of 80% or more – the plan relies heavily on “carbon capture.” That is, CO2 would be extracted from exhaust stacks and stored in tanks or underground. Essentially, it’s a process of creating a CO2 “landfill” which, if we all cross our fingers and toes and hope real hard, maybe it’ll never leak and create such a catastrophic jump in atmospheric CO2 levels that the planet is almost instantly cooked!
Any approach to the climate change problem that doesn’t begin with a plan to stabilize and gradually reduce the human population to a level where we can all enjoy a high standard of living without threatening the planet is a hoax. Climate change is real, but this Paris agreement is just that – a hoax. It has little to nothing to do with fighting climate change. Instead, it’s globalization and “sustainable development” on steroids. There is an old saying that goes something like this: “If you can’t bewilder them with brilliance, then baffle them with bullshit.” That’s exactly what “sustainable development” does.
Critics have mocked President Trump, saying that he is incapable of grasping the complexities of the Paris agreement. It could be argued that perhaps it was President Obama who didn’t understand that the agreement he proclaimed to be such an accomplishment actually does nothing for the climate and simply suckered the U.S. into yet another self-destructive deal. And it’s time for all people who are concerned about climate change and the environment to wake up to the fact that the environmental movement has been hijacked by those who profit from plundering the planet and that they, too, are being suckered by the concept of “sustainable development.”
I’m not terribly concerned. I believe that if the world doesn’t wake up to the inverse relationship between population density and per capita consumption, then the unemployment, poverty and rising death rate that it fosters are going to do more to put a lid on greenhouse gas emissions than the Paris agreement could have ever hoped to achieve.
In the meantime, other world leaders have rushed to the defense of the Paris agreement. No surprise. They can kiss goodbye the $100 billion (per year!) they were counting on. Plus, championing the Paris agreement is all upside for politicians with no downside. Everyone loves them for their concern for the planet and they can never be held accountable, since it’s impossible to gauge success under the agreement. It’s like a campaign promise that never has to be kept because no one can tell whether or not you’ve delivered.
Americans have been fleeced far too much in the name of globalization. Clearly, Trump wasn’t baffled by this BS. I applaud him for having the guts to walk away from this deal and for being willing to take the political heat for doing so.