Muhammad Cohen’s article No Friends of the Earth highlights the backward priorities that so often plague the environmental movement:
Within days of the Bali breakthrough, activists from environmental group Greenpeace were speeding toward Antarctica, ground zero for global warming, with an embedded BBC reporter aboard. The polar ice caps are melting at accelerating rates, and some islands, nestled thousands of kilometers north in the tropical Pacific Ocean are already at risk due to rising sea levels. The environmental activists it seemed could reinforce and extend the message of the Bali conference, with testimony from this critical climate battleground.
Except that the Greenpeace activists aboard MV Esperanza weren’t there to talk about global warming. They were there to stop Japan – a critical player in climate change on several fronts – from conducting its annual whale hunt. Greenpeace planned to tail the Japanese whaling boats, hoping to harass and shame them into stop killing whales. Global warming was not on their agenda.
Environmentalism is the home of romantic socialism, and the romantic socialists–who, in an earlier era, would have fought Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War–have made their dwelling there. Rather than properly prioritise problems and pursue them with solutions that make scientific and economic sense, environmentalists would rather stage emotionally compelling events that make for good fund raising amongst the overmoneyed guilty but in the end don’t really contribute towards bettering the planet’s situation.
It has been this way from the start. Global warming isn’t a new idea, and conserving energy for environmental purposes certainly isn’t. But in the 1970’s when emissions on cars started, one of the first things done was to reduce the compression ratios on cars to cut down on NOx emissions. But, as anyone familiar with thermodynamics knows, that reduces the efficiency of the engine, which adversely affects the petrol consumption and…generates more CO2! Greenhouse gases! And that doesn’t compare to the panic they created over nuclear power, which eliminates such emissions (along with the NOx and many other things) altogether.
A little later they also tried to stop the French from nuclear testing, to which same French responded by sinking their ship, the Rainbow Warrior. Greenpeace would have done their cause more good by sinking it themselves in the Straits of Hormuz–forcing the issue of conservation–than to waste time with the French in the South Pacific.
Secularists love to lampoon religious people for being "unscientific." But environmentalists are far more aggresively so, as I noted in my piece Messing in Our Own Box. There are sensible solutions to our dilemmas, but as long as the environmentalists are in the driver’s seat, I despair of ever seeing one.