Environmentalists, and especially climate change activists, would have us believe that they are great humanitarians — “social justice warriors” fighting for the oppressed. But many of the policies they promote would seriously harm people, especially the poor and disadvantaged. Often, leaders in the movement reveal attitudes that are decidedly anti-human.
For example, a common theme of the massive September 12-14 Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco was “decarbonization,” or quickly ending our use of fossil fuels to supposedly save the climate. Speaking at the summit, former Vice-President Al Gore said:
We have to make the decarbonization of the global economy the central organizing principle of human civilization in order to stave off the climate crisis.
It is revealing to compare Gore’s stance that decarbonization trumps all other concerns of human civilization with the results of the United Nations’ “My World global survey.” After polling over 9.7 million people from 194 countries, the poll found that “action taken on climate change” rates last out of the 16 suggested priorities for the organization. Access to reliable energy, better health care, government honesty, a good education, etc., are clearly of greater concern to people across the world.
This is not surprising. In contrast to important, well-understood issues people face every day, man-made climate change is based merely on a theoretical hypothesis programmed into computer models. And the averaged output of those models does not come even remotely close to reality.
When showing the below graph at a panel organized last month by the Heartland Institute and the European Institute for Climate and Energy, Dr. Craig Idso, founder of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, said:
[R]adiosondes’ [balloon] measurements shown in blue reveal that the actual warming rate is three times smaller than that predicted by the models [red bars show warming that should have occurred from 1979-2017, as predicted from 102 different climate models].
As the models have failed, what would really happen if supporters of, say, the Climate Damages Tax (CDT) promoted at last month’s UN climate conference succeeded in their goal of making fossil fuel use so expensive that there would be a global phase-out by 2050?
It would result in catastrophic human suffering.
Dr. Roger H. Bezdek of Management Information Services, Inc. explained the importance of fossil fuels at the America First Energy Conference in Houston in November 2017:
They are the foundation of our current economy. They created (and sustained) the modern world. They permit the current high quality of life we all enjoy. … Artificially reducing fossil fuels would destroy world economies.
Concerning the impact of decarbonization, Dr. Terry L. Gannon of The Independent Institute spoke at the Heartland Institute panel which was held to counter September’s GCAS:
What about my friends in Africa? What about all the people that are below the poverty level? Will they ever have a chance if fossil fuels are indeed killed within the next few decades? [This] is going to devastate parts of the world.
Of course, the poor and disadvantaged would be most affected by the inevitable huge rise in energy costs that would accompany the end of fossil fuels.
By promoting the idea that CO2 emissions must be reduced, climate mitigation activists are supporting the expanded use of biofuels. This is resulting in vast quantities of the world’s grain being diverted to fuel instead of food, causing food prices to rise — also causing the most pain among the world’s poor. In 2007, the first UN Special Rapporteur of the right to food, Dr. Jean Zeigler, called for a five-year moratorium on biofuel production in an official UN communique. Zeigler was candid:
It is a crime against humanity to convert agricultural productive soil into soil which produces foodstuff that will be burned into biofuel.
The demand for biofuels also creates serious problems for indigenous land owners in developing countries. In a February 2015 open letter to the European Parliament endorsed by 197 civil society organizations from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, it was asserted:
The destruction of forests and fertile agricultural land to make way for oil palm plantations is jeopardizing the food sovereignty and cultural integrity of entire communities who depend on the land as their source of food and livelihoods.
In yet another attempt to reduce CO2 emissions, hundreds of thousands of industrial wind turbines (IWT) are being constructed worldwide. Besides the resulting increase in electricity rates and a significant loss in property value for homes near IWTs, health concerns abound. But, of course, the wealthy do not live near IWTs. It is the poor and disadvantaged who are left to suffer.
Finally, because of the belief that humans control climate, only about 5% of the over $1B spent every day across the world on climate finance goes to helping vulnerable people cope with climate change today. The rest is spent trying to stop phenomena that might someday happen. This is immoral — valuing the lives of people yet to be born more than those in need today.
So, are environmentalists anti-human? Let’s examine what some of the leaders in the field have actually said.
Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder and president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), stated:
Mankind is a cancer; we’re the biggest blight on the face of the earth. If you haven’t given voluntary human extinction much thought before, the idea of a world with no people in it may seem strange. But, if you give it a chance, I think you might agree that the extinction of Homo Sapiens would mean survival for millions if not billions, of Earth-dwelling species. Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental.
This perspective is perhaps best summed up by slogan of The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT):
May we live long and die out.
Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth’s biosphere to return to good health … the hopeful alternative to the extinction of millions of species of plants and animals is the voluntary extinction of one species: Homo sapiens … us.
This anti-humanity theme underlies extreme environmentalist thinking. Research biologist David Graber said:
Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. I know social scientists who remind me that people are part of nature, but it isn’t true. Somewhere along the line — at about a billion years ago — we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth.
The slogan, “Save the Planet, Kill Yourself” emerged from this thinking and summarizes the sentiment.
The assumption that humans are responsible for most change and all that is “wrong” on Earth is central to the environmental extremist worldview. The Club of Rome (COR) set the foundation for this false ideology when they wrote in The First Global Revolution:
The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.
COR succeeded in convincing even sensible people that the biggest problem is overpopulation. They then offered the “solutions.” Missing in their solutions was greater development, which is ironic because population ultimately declines in countries that develop, a process identified in stage 5 of the Demographic Transition Model.
Regardless, the COR position leads to some uncomfortable questions: Who decides how many people is optimum? Which group gets to stay? Which groups are eliminated? Who monitors the policy? Who enforces such a policy? What lifestyles are the chosen allowed?
Underlying much of modern environmentalism is the nonsensical belief that what humans do is not part of the natural order. In the 1990 Greenpeace Report on global warming edited by Dr. Jeremy Leggett, it says: “Carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere naturally and unnaturally.” The statement is meaningless unless you are saying that the unnatural portion is from humans. The paradox is that they believe in Charles Darwin’s views that humans are part of nature, and yet their position as stated is in contradiction with them. If we are animals as Darwin claims, then everything we do — development, industry, economy, music, science, war, etc. — is normal and natural. Indeed, it is illogical to say, or even imply, that humans are natural but what we do is unnatural.
Nonetheless, this is the absolute contradiction created by the use of environmentalism and climate for a political agenda. We must call them on it every time.
Besides strongly contesting the more extreme elements of the environmental movement, we must reassess environmental threats and reject those that sacrifice human flourishing for no real benefits. Then we can get on with evolving, part of which will include explaining how humans are so radically different and superior to all other species, with every right to exist. No other species can even address such issues.