Environmentalism

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The basic principle driving the environmentalist movement is the belief that "nature" has inherent moral value, and therefore the influence of man, and especially that of industrial civilization, is evil. Politically, this means the advocacy of various limits on industrial civilization, since all productive human activity has some kind of byproduct. While few (but alarmingly many) advocates of environmentalism recognize it as such, the ultimate goal of the environmentalist movement is the total destruction of industrial civilization, and the vast majority of the human race whose existence is made possible by it.

The Environmentalist Movement

The man-hating philosophy at the root of the environmentalist movement is often hidden by the superficial nobility of the campaigns in the public consciousness, and the good intentions of the majority of the environmental or ecology movement. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and so it is crucial to examine just where the leadership of the environmental movement is leading us. Here are some quotes from leading environmentalists and ecologists. While they may seem like extremists, they represent the intellectual leadership of the environmentalist movements, and they moderate their views for the mainstream media only because they don't consider the rest of the population ready for their views.

Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs.
—John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal
Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental.
—Dave Forman, Founder of Earth First!
Everything we have developed over the last 100 years should be destroyed.
—Pentti Linkola
The only real good technology is no technology at all. Technology is taxation without representation, imposed by our elitist species (man) upon the rest of the natural world.
—John Shuttleworth
I suspect that eradicating smallpox was wrong. It played an important part in balancing ecosystems.
—John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal
Cannibalism is a “radical but realistic solution to the problem of overpopulation.
—Lyall Watson, The Financial Times, 15 July 1999
To feed a starving child is to exacerbate the world population problem.
—Lamont Cole
The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States: We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization, we have in the U.S. We have to stop these Third World countries right where they are. And it is important to the rest of the world to make sure that they don’t suffer economically by virtue of our stopping them.
—Michael Oppenheimer, Environmental Defense Fund

The basic principle of the environmentalist movement is that nature is inherent moral value - by which they mean nature untouched by human influence. There is a widespread public perception that environmentalists want to improve nature for the human benefit, but the leading environmentalists vocally denounce that idea. Furthermore, as will be shown later, even if that was their explicit goal, the policies advocated by environmentalists destroy the conditions necessary for healthy human life.

According to David Graber, a research biologist for the National Park Service:

This [man's "remaking the earth by degrees"] makes what is happening no less tragic for those of us who value wildness for its own sake, not for what value it confers upon mankind. I, for one, cannot wish upon either my children or the rest of Earth's biota a tame planet, be it monstrous or — however unlikely — benign. ... We are not interested in the utility of a particular species or free-flowing river, or ecosystem, to mankind. They have intrinsic value, more value — to me — than another human body, or a billion of them.

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, maybe half that — we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth.

It is cosmically unlikely that the developed world will choose to end its orgy of fossil-energy consumption, and the Third World its suicidal consumption of landscape. Until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.

What environmentalists oppose is not the destruction of the planet's ability to support human life, but that man’s exploitation of nature to improve its ability to sustain human life will destroy unaltered “wilderness.” In the words of popular environmentalist Bill McKibben, "The problem is that nature, the independent force that has surrounded us since our earliest days, cannot coexist with our numbers and our habits. We may well be able to create a world that can support our numbers and our habits, but it will be an artificial world. . . ."

The extent of what environmentalists label as "artificial" varies with their audience, but ultimately extends to all human manipulation of the environment. The environmentalists who don't wish to wipe out humanity outright say they want to return humanity to a "more primitive state" that is "closer to nature." Ultimately, however, they are equally dedicated to human extermination.

A conception of a technology-free life for human beings is a fantasy. Understanding why requires a little analysis of human nature.

Human beings are unique in being a living being without an automatic guide to actions and values. We alone must choose which values we want to achieve, and the means we take to achieve them. Like animals, our survival is conditional — we must take a particular course of action in order to remain alive, but the means to achieve the values necessary for our survival are not automatically given to us by instinct. We have some basic urges – to eat, or to reproduce, but no means to achieve them without conscious action. In place of instinct, nature has equipped man with the facility of reason – the use of his senses and his rational faculty to gain knowledge of reality and then act on it. If an animal’s instinct fails to provide the values it needs in a given environment, it will die – but a man has the capacity to adapt to almost any environment he finds, as the proliferation of humanity on every corner of the earth demonstrates. The basic question every man faces as a living being is therefore “to live or not to live,” and since reason is his only means of survival, his basic choice is “to think or not to think.” Every value we enjoy in our civilized, comfortable, existence is the product of the application of man’s mind to reality. The food we eat, the cars we drive, the entertainment we enjoy are all products of some man’s mind. The difference between our comfortable lives and the short, dangerous, and miserable existence that our ancestors eked out in trees, caves, huts, and caverns not so long ago was created – and is continually made possible by application of the reason to the problem of man’s survival.

Human beings have evolved over millions of years to survive by applying their minds to nature. There is nothing "unnatural" about this. It is human nature to think and use technology to enrich our lives. We are as much a part of the "natural world" as any other creature. Only instead of claws, fangs, or the heightened senses of animals, we have our minds and our hands. Shackling them would only lead to our extinction. Even a limited return to a primitive state would have a proportionate effect. For example, the genetic and biochemical tools which made the Green Revolution possible feed billions of people today. Farming machinery feeds billions more. Undoing the industrial revolution would eliminate the vast majority of productivity improvements in agricultural production and distribution. Nuclear war is tame by comparison to the death by starvation of 90-98% of humanity. Applying so-called “organic” practices (with higher costs and lower productivity) on a global scale would have similarly catastrophic effects. To the extent that we cripple technology, we cripple our ability to exist as human beings.

The Premise of Intrinsic Value

The collective needs of non-human species must take precedence over the needs and desires of humans.
—Dr. Reed F. Noss, The Wildlands Project
Given the total, absolute, and final disappearance of Homo Sapiens, not only would the Earth's community of life continue to exist, but in all probability, its well-being would be enhanced. Our presence, in short, is not needed. And if we were to take the standpoint of that Life Community and give voice to its true interests, the ending of the human epoch on Earth would most likely be greeted with a hearty "Good riddance!" (Philosopher Paul Taylor, Respect for Nature: A Theory of Environmental Ethics, p. 115)
If you ask me, it’d be a little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it. We ought to be looking for energy sources that are adequate for our needs, but that won’t give us the excesses of concentrated energy with which we could do mischief to the earth or to each other.
—Amory Lovins in The Mother Earth–Playboy Interview, Nov/Dec 1977, p.22
The concept 'value' is not a primary; it presupposes an answer to the question: of value to whom and for what?
(Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness, p. 16)

"The intrinsic theory, divorces the concept of 'good' from beneficiaries, and the concept of 'value' from valuer and purpose—claiming that the good is good in, by, and of itself" (Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, p. 21).

The underpinning – and central fallacy – of the environmentalist ideology is the premise of intrinsic value. Refuting it requires addressing a complex philosophical issue at the heart of ethics. The basic question of ethics is – of value to whom? As explained above, the question of morality only applies to human beings. For all other living thing, choosing what to live for is neither possible nor necessary. The question of value is only open to man.

The intrinsic theory of value on the other hand, removes the concept of "good" and "evil" from the recipient of values by claiming that good is good in itself.

Environmentalists would only prohibit man from applying his nature to achieve his own ends, not animals.

"Values exist in a hierarchy, some being pursued only because they are means to other, higher ends. This implies the existence of an ultimate end that grounds the hierarchy. "Without an ultimate goal or end, there can be no lesser goals or means. . . . It is only an ultimate goal, an end in itself, that makes the existence of values possible" (The Virtue of Selfishness, p. 17). Things qualify as good or evil, valuable or detrimental, only insofar as they serve or frustrate the ultimate value; and the ultimate value is one's life. "Man must choose his actions, values and goals by the standard of that which is proper to man—in order to achieve, maintain, fulfill and enjoy that ultimate value, that end in itself, which is his own life" (The Virtue of Selfishness, p. 27)."

http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=objectivism_environmentalism

A Disregard for the Truth

Many speakers have commented on the similarities of environmentalism to a religion, and it is not necessary to repeat them here. It is important to understand why the environmentalist movement is universally opposed to reason and science, and why no amount of evidence will reverse its devotee’s convictions. Here are some explanations of its advocates:

Timothy Wirth, former U.S. Senator from Colorado:

What we’ve got to do in energy conservation is try to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, to have approached global warming as if it is real means energy conservation, so we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.

The political movement behind environmentalism is basically an attempt to smuggle in Marxist ideology after the failure of collectivism worldwide. Rather than blaming capitalism for causing human misery, environmentalists blame it for environmental misery.

Free Enterprise really means rich people get richer. They have the freedom to exploit and psychologically rape their fellow human beings in the process…. Capitalism is destroying the earth.
—Helen Caldicott, Union of Concerned Scientists

Global Warming and other Doomsday Threats

(A) The Media and Politicians are eager to embrace the latest eco-scare:

The global cooling scare was based on a real brief decline in global temperatures. The panic surrounding it is a demonstration of the eagerness of intellectuals, the media, and "scientists" to use doomsday predictions for their benefit.

The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines. Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. Population control is the only answer.

—Paul Ehrlich, in The Population Bomb (1968)

In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish.
—Paul Ehrlich, Earth Day (1970)
The continued rapid cooling of the earth since WWII is in accord with the increase in global air pollution associated with industrialization, mechanization, urbanization and exploding population.
—Reid Bryson, “Global Ecology; Readings towards a rational strategy for Man”, (1971)
Before 1985, mankind will enter a genuine age of scarcity…in which the accessible supplies of many key minerals will be facing depletion.
—Paul Ehrlich in (1976)
This [cooling] trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.
—Peter Gwynne, Newsweek 1976
There are ominous signs that the earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production—with serious political implications for just about every nation on earth. The drop in food production could begin quite soon… The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologist are hard-pressed to keep up with it.

—Newsweek, April 28, (1975)

This cooling has already killed hundreds of thousands of people. If it continues and no strong action is taken, it will cause world famine, world chaos and world war, and this could all come about before the year 2000.
—Lowell Ponte in “The Cooling”, 1976
If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder by the year 2000. … This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age.
—Kenneth E.F. Watt on air pollution and global cooling, Earth Day (1970)

Al Gore’s new movie on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” opens with scenes from Hurricane Katrina slamming into New Orleans. The former vice president says unequivocally that because of global warming, it is all but certain that future hurricanes will be more violent and destructive than those in the past.

With the official start of hurricane season days away, meteorologists are unanimous that the 2006 tropical storm season, which runs from June 1 through November, is likely to be a doozy.
-- Washington Times, 2006 (2006 was "the most tranquil season in a decade").

Mistaken predictions of doom and gloom are not evidence that current forecasts are false. However they are evidence that politicians and the media are sensation driven, and that scientists are not immune to political influence - in fact, environmental science is a highly politicized field, with funding being decided based on the political impact of various doomsday scenarios. (Incidentally, many leftists argue that Bush administration silences global warming advocates - but if they understand that politics and bias is deeply entrenched in state-funded science, how can they claim that their own flavor of socialized "science" is objective?)

Historically, doomsday scenarios have been much more profitable to politicians, the media, as well as academics, and so research funds tend to go to the most irresponsible of the doomsayers.

The public votes for politicians who support or oppose environmental regulation without understanding the complex science behind the threats being predicted. Ultimately, they tend to trust the intellectuals who popularize scientific ideas. Unfortunately, these intellectuals tend to be socialists at heart, and support the regulatory state regardless of whether the threats they sell are real.

The average independent thinking person who wants to make an objective decision about these policies cannot possibly understand most of the science behind these predictions. The only defense is an understanding of the basic principles of human action, of market behavior, and of the scientific process.

(B) The media dwells on negative phenomena, but ignores positive changes and events:

"Enthusiasm for the global-warming scare also ensures that heat waves make headlines, while contrary symptoms, such as this winter’s billion-dollar loss of Californian crops to unusual frost, are relegated to the business pages. The early arrival of migrant birds in spring provides colorful evidence for a recent warming of the northern lands. But did anyone tell you that in east Antarctica the Adélie penguins and Cape petrels are turning up at their spring nesting sites around nine days later than they did 50 years ago? While sea-ice has diminished in the Arctic since 1978, it has grown by 8% in the Southern Ocean.

So one awkward question you can ask, when you’re forking out those extra taxes for climate change, is “Why is east Antarctica getting colder?” It makes no sense at all if carbon dioxide is driving global warming. While you’re at it, you might inquire whether Gordon Brown will give you a refund if it’s confirmed that global warming has stopped. The best measurements of global air temperatures come from American weather satellites, and they show wobbles but no overall change since 1999.

That leveling off is just what is expected by the chief rival hypothesis, which says that the sun drives climate changes more emphatically than greenhouse gases do. After becoming much more active during the 20th century, the sun now stands at a high but roughly level state of activity. Solar physicists warn of possible global cooling, should the sun revert to the lazier mood it was in during the Little Ice Age 300 years ago.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1363818.ece

(C) Global warming carries many benefits which are being ignored:

(TODO) Sherwood Idso, former research physicist, USDA Water Conservation Laboratory, and adjunct professor, Arizona State University: "[W]arming has been shown to positively impact human health, while atmospheric CO2 enrichment has been shown to enhance the health-promoting properties of the food we eat, as well as stimulate the production of more of it. ... [W]e have nothing to fear from increasing concentrations of atmospheric CO2 and global warming.", Enhanced or Impaired? Human Health in a CO2-Enriched Warmer World, co2science.org, Nov, 2003, p. 30 ([36]).


http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=13860

http://www.cato.org/dailys/11-07-04.html

http://www.nationalcenter.org/KyotoQuestionsAnswers.html

Warming and Desertification

Desertification is actually associated with colder periods, not warmer ones.

Why? Because much of the water is locked up in ice. The Sahara used to be grassland when it was warmer. Crops can be grown in arid or warm conditions with irrigation.

Cold conditions can only be dealt with by building massive greenhouses. Assuming you can get water for the crops.

A wider range of crops can be grown in warmer conditions in more places, such as Siberia or Greenland.

Human beings can adapt easier to warmer than cooler temperatures.

Ten times fewer people die from warm related than cold related weather.

Periods

200BC to 600AD--Roman Warming Period

600AD to 900AD--Dark Ages Cold Period

900AD to 1300AD--Medieval Warming Period ( 1-3 deg C)

a. England exported wine

b. Crops in the midlands of Scotland

c. Viking colonies on Greenland

d. The Agricultural Revolution with a tripling of the population in Europe

1300AD to 1850--Little Ice Age

a. The black plague began

b. Famine ensued

(D) The Junk Science Behind Anthropogenic Global Warming:

It's a common misconception to believe that weather is constant. The reality is that the earth goes to natural cycles of warming and cooling, which are still poorly understood. We've only begun to make large-scale measurements in the last 100 years. No single indicator can provide proof of a global change.

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2000/ast20oct_1.htm For example, the Greenland ice sheet was detected to be thinning in measurements taken between 1993 and 1999. Many newspapers claimed that the discovered was "proof" of global warming. In fact, that is one of a number of hypotheses.

The thinning of the Greenland ice sheet may be due to:

  • Human caused greenhouse effect
  • Natural variations in snow snowfall
  • Changes in ocean currents
  • The flux of warm water into the North Atlantic caused by the 1990-1996 positive phase of the slow-moving North Atlantic Oscillation
  • A response to the long-term warming of the planet since the transition from the last glacial period about 10,000 years ago.
  • Continued warming since the end of the Little Ice Age following the Medieval Warm Period

All of the influences may have had an influence. It's very difficult to pin down the cause on any one phenomenon.

http://www.oism.org/pproject/s33p36.htm

Human use of coal, oil, and natural gas has not measurably warmed the atmosphere, and the extrapolation of current trends shows that it will not significantly do so in the foreseeable future. It does, however, release CO2, which accelerates the growth rates of plants and also permits plants to grow in drier regions. Animal life, which depends upon plants, also flourishes.

As coal, oil, and natural gas are used to feed and lift from poverty vast numbers of people across the globe, more CO2 will be released into the atmosphere. This will help to maintain and improve the health, longevity, prosperity, and productivity of all people.

Human activities are believed to be responsible for the rise in CO2 level of the atmosphere. Mankind is moving the carbon in coal, oil, and natural gas from below ground to the atmosphere and surface, where it is available for conversion into living things. We are living in an increasingly lush environment of plants and animals as a result of the CO2 increase. Our children will enjoy an Earth with far more plant and animal life as that with which we now are blessed. This is a wonderful and unexpected gift from the Industrial Revolution.

Periods of Warming and Cooling are not new

1. During the 20th century, the earth warmed by 1 degree F, but it went through two cooling periods during that time as well. This is despite the fact that CO2 levels were rising at the same time.

Half of the observed warming occurred before 1940, with lower populations and industrialization.

2. From 1940 to 1970 the earth cooled 0.2 to 0.3 Deg F despite increasing CO2 levels and the temperature has been flat from 1998 to 2006.

3. Possible reasons for warming/ cooling are many, two examples:

a. Water vapor in the atmosphere

b. Solar radiation has been rising over the past thirty years

c. Mars is also going through a warming period that is reducing its southern polar ice cap--no humans there.

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/mars_ice-a ge_031208.html

http://www.heartland.org/Article.c fm?artId=17977


Why is that?

4. The famous "hockey stick" graph omitted the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warming period from its temperature change data and has been discredited by peer review once they actually disclosed their data.

5. The levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are below 400ppm, the lowest point since the Carboniferous period that ended around 300 million years ago when it was 4000-6000 ppm with no people around.

6. A study published by the School of Geographic Sciences in China dated July of 2006 is predicting a cooling period for the earth for the next 20 years.

IPCC Summary Report for Policymakers

1. Reduction by the UN Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC) for their estimate of a rise in sea level over the next century from 36 inches down to 17. "On sea levels, the report projects rises of 7-23 inches by the end of the century." (This is way below the 20 feet shown in "Inconvenient Truth".)

2. Reduction in its estimate on the impact of global greenhouse gas emissions by more than one-third due to reflection of solar radiation back into space. "If greenhouse gas emissions continue the warming will also continue, with temperatures increasing by 1.4°C to 5.8°C between 1990 and 2100"

3. The global average surface temperature has risen 0.6 ± 0.2°C since the late 19th century, and 0.17°C per decade in the last 30 years.

4. "No systematic changes in the frequency of tornadoes, thunder days, or hail events are evident in the limited areas analyzed" and that "Changes globally in tropical and extra-tropical storm intensity and frequency are dominated by inter-decadal and multi-decadal variations, with no significant trends evident over the 20th century." An increase in recorded tornadoes is due to an increased ability to detect them. Satellites and Doppler radar are new after all.


Glaciers

1. Some glaciers are retreating (Alps. Rocky Mountains)--others are growing (East Antarctica, New Zealand)

2. Greenland between 1993 and 2003 "grew an average extra thickness of 2 inches a year" and in the past 30 years the mass of the Antarctic ice sheet has grown as well according to Lord Christopher Monckton, a well known British environmental activist.

3. IPP confirms its 2001 conclusion that global warming does not effect hurricane activity--and misses the point that the number of hurricane days was been decreasing since 1970 from 600 to 400 according to Georgia Tech atmospheric scientist Peter Webster.

Mt Kilimanjaro

1. The snow has been retreating for over 100 years, most likely based on a decrease in precipitation in the area, not global warming according to a 2004 study in the International Journal of Climatology

The Antarctica Temperature Management Team that reports cooling temperatures http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20020015034521d ata_trunc_sys.shtml

As late as the 14th and 15th centuries there were dairy farms on the coast of Greenland! Warm enough at that time for dairy farms but lo' there was a mini ice age and it killed them off. Greenland isn't as warm now as it was just a few hundred years ago! https://conservationfinance.wordpress.com/2006/0 9/01/climate-change-on-greenland/

Satellite (read: stratospheric) temperature readings do NOT show ANY appreciable difference in the atmospheric temperatures http://www.ghcc.msfc.nasa.gov/MSU/msusci.html


(E) Even if global warming was a real problem, government regulation would make the problem worse:

http://www.springerlink.com/content/g28u12g2617j5021/fulltext.pdf

Aside from the debate over the possibility of human-caused global warming, there is the question of how environmental problems in general are best dealt with. When thinking about climate change, we can pose the following questions:

  • (A) Is the global climate getting warmer because of human activity?
  • (B) Should something be done about it?

Environmentalists and policymakers like to combine these questions, so that if you answer yes to A, B must follow. But B does not follow. Even if global warming is real, government regulation is not the answer. Even draconian measures like the Kyoto protocol would only have a minute impact on climate. Central planning is not capable of planning the individual response of billions of individuals to changing events. Only the freedom to

Kyoto Protocol not effective

1. Even if fully implemented, Kyoto would not stop global warming; it would only put a dent in it of 0.2 degrees in 100 years. Symbolism will do nothing.

2. The cost of this program would be 1150 dollars per household in the US every year according to the recently released Stern Review.


If the United States can meet the targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions with little or no costs, why haven't corporations done so on their own?

This question is irrelevant, since abiding by the Kyoto Protocol would be devastating to our economy. However, supposing it was economically responsible to adopt it, we still must never base environmental actions on anything but sound science. We have ample experience of doing more harm than good with environmental regulations based on unsure science. For example, the Clean Air Act mandated oxygenates in gasoline and we ended up with no improvement in air quality but now have the oxygenate MTBE polluting wells in 31 states.9,10,11 We should not take actions that may not be necessary but will certainly increase the level of poverty in this. As economist Walter Williams of George Mason University has observed, "As you look around the world, it is poverty, as opposed to dirty air, that has implications for health."

The current phase of global wealth expansion is due both to the increasing productivity of industry made possible by the global division of labor, and the increasing efficiency of resource utilization due to improvements in technology. Any attempt to control or scale back technology only shifts production into less-efficient outcomes. For example, by liming and taxing the carbon output of developed nations, the Kyoto protocol shifts industrial production to exempt developing nations, which not only requires more resources to produce an equivalent volume of goods and services, but creates far more harmful byproducts.

http://www.nationalcenter.org/KyotoQuestionsAnswers.html

A self-fulfilling prophecy

What happens when, sometime around 2020, no evidence of anthropogenic global warming (as a historically unique trend) is found? The following scenarios are three plausible outcomes to the “global warming” crisis.

A) The Fraud Discredited

Politicians and the scientific community admit their error. Environmentalist regulations and environmental agencies are cut back or eliminated. The hundreds of think-tanks, non-profits, and lobbying agencies that survive on the profits from the environmentalist hysteria voluntarily disband.

B) A disaster narrowly averted Continual improvements in solar power or another renewable technology make it more cost efficient than fossil-fuel based power. The market gradually changes until solar power is dominant. Politicians proclaim victory, and praise the regulatory state and state-coerced green energy. They stress the need for continual vigilance as they look around for a new crisis to bankroll their campaigns.

C) A self-fulfilling prophecy Faced with a lack of evidence for global warming, environmentalists focus instead on random climate variation and natural disasters under the banner of “climate change,” which can conveniently be blamed for heat waves, cold fronts, hurricanes, and even tsunamis. The draconian regulatory state gradually erodes the wealth producing capacity of industry, thus destroying the only tool man has to deal with nature’s fury. The EPA/ /DOJ wrecks the economy, FDA causes plagues, and the FCC makes sure the party line gets coverage. The Kyoto shifts energy production and industry from relatively clean, developed nations to environmentally irresponsible developing ones. Innovations in energy production/consumption become prohibitively expensive to get past the regulatory state. By 2020, nature is unpredictable as ever, but our ability to deal with it is crippled by the state. Politicians seize upon the global havoc they unleashed as proof of the need for further regulation.

Animal Rights and Eco-Terrorism

See Animal rights.

Predictions that will we will run out of resources, are contradictory, consistently false, and defy economic sense

(TODO)

http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=4737

In 1919, the U.S. Geological Survey predicted that world oil production would peak in nine years. During the 1970s, the Club of Rome report, "The Limits to Growth," said that, assuming no rise in consumption, all known oil reserves would be entirely consumed in just 31 years.

In 1960, a best-selling book titled "The Waste Makers" by Vance Packard showed that the known reserves of petroleum in the United States were only enough to last another 13 years at the current rate of usage. Yet, 13 years later, the United States had larger known reserves of petroleum than in 1960.

There are an additional 2 trillion barrels of "recoverable" reserves. Mr. Maugeri says these oil reserves will probably meet the "proven" standard in a few years as technological improvement and increased sub-soil knowledge come online. Estimates of recoverable oil don't include the huge deposits of "unconventional" oil such as Canadian tar sands and U.S. shale oil, plus there are vast areas of our planet yet to be fully explored.


There are several factors that explain today's high prices. There has been a huge surge in demand for oil as a result of rapid economic growth in China and India, as well as in the United States. Another factor is the under-exploration. Mr. Maugeri says Saudi Arabia has 260 billion barrels of proven reserves, accounting for 25 percent of the world's total, but only one-third of the oil known to lie below its surface. Russia's reserves are three times its proven reserves of 50 billion barrels. While high prices are beginning to stimulate investments in oil exploration, they've lagged for several decades out of fear of oil gluts and low prices. It's going to be 2010 before today's investments yield fruit.

A substantial increase in oil production alone cannot ease today's high prices because of weak refining capacity. Not a single refinery has been built in the United States for 30 years. Improvements to existing refineries failed to keep up with growing demand and tougher environmental regulations. We're the world's only industrialized country with a net deficit in refining capacity that comes to 20 percent of domestic demand. That makes us highly vulnerable to disasters like last year's hurricanes. Exacerbating weak refining capacity are regulations whereby gasoline produced for one state may not be sold in another. There are 18 mandated different types of gasoline sold in the United States.

The long-term outlook for oil is good. There's an increase in oil-drilling technology and exploration. Oil as a source of energy has been in decline. In 1980, oil was 45 percent of energy consumption; today, it's 34 percent, yielding ground to natural gas, coal and nuclear energy. Recently, the House of Representatives passed "The Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act of 2006," which now awaits a Senate vote. Offshore oil exploration has been banned since 1982, despite Department of the Interior estimates that suggest the presence of 19 billion barrels of oil and 84 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The House of Representatives also passed the "Refinery Permit Process Schedule Act of 2006." Should these measures become law, our energy capacity will be enhanced significantly.

America stands alone in the world as the only nation that has placed a substantial amount of its domestic oil and natural gas potential off-limits. That reflects the awesome control that radical environmentalists have over Congress. With high fuel prices, Americans might be ready to put an end to that control.

Market-Based Solutions to Pollution

(This is from http://www.rationalmind.net/essays/our-techno-utopian-future-fallacies-and-predictions/ )

The distinguishing factor of human beings over other living things has been our ability to change our environment to improve our situation. Most of the increase in life expectancy from 18–33 years during all of prehistory to 70 today has not been due to better treatment of illness, but due to the manipulation of nature to create healthier environments: agriculture, cities, sewers, running water, heating and cooling. Human industry comes with unavoidable byproducts like pollution, but the costs have been minute relative to the benefits. Only when the focus of industry has been subverted to destructive purposes — such as war or meaningless production quotas, as in the Soviet Union — has the destructive side of industry outweighed the benefits.

Today, our ability to manipulate the environment is more powerful than ever, as is our awareness of the byproducts of industry. There is no evidence that these skills are declining — as evidenced by the continuing growth of life expectancy in both developing and developed nations. Is there any reason to believe that we should suddenly prove incompetent to deal with nature?

Even if some environmental dangers are real, we would be much better equipped to deal with them by embracing unhindered technological progress rather than surrendering to the indisputable peril of nature to those who give up their primary means of controlling it. In the words of Ayn Rand, “City smog and filthy rivers are not good for men (though they are not the kind of danger that the ecological panic-mongers proclaim them to be). This is a scientific, technological problem—not a political one—and it can be solved only by technology. Even if smog were a risk to human life, we must remember that life in nature, without technology, is whole-sale death.”


Socialism causes pollution http://www.fee.org/publications/the-freeman/article.asp?aid=1909

...it is not free enterprise per se that causes environmental harm; if so, the socialist world would be environmentally pristine.

The heart of the problem lies with the failure of our legal institutions, not the free enterprise system. Specifically, American laws were weakened more than a century ago by Progressive Era courts that believed economic progress was in the public interest and should therefore supersede individual rights.

The English common law tradition of the protection of private property rights -- including the right to be free from pollution -- was slowly overturned. In other words, many environmental problems are not caused by "market failure" but by government's failure to enforce property rights. It is a travesty of justice when downstream residents, for example, cannot hold an upstream polluter responsible for damaging their properties. The common law tradition must be revived if we are to enjoy a healthy market economy and a cleaner environment. Potential polluters must know in advance that they will be held responsible for their actions.

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=198

"The standard view of environmental problems is that they are inherent in a free society. If people are left free to pursue their own self interest—to produce, and consume whatever they want, how and when they want it—the result will be polluted air and waterways, littered streets, and depleted natural resources. Pollution and environmental degradation are often cited as evidence that Adam Smith was wrong. People pursuing their own self interest may not advance the well-being of society.

This view, unfortunately found in many economics texts, misunderstands the nature of both a free society and a free market economy.

Environmental problems occur because property rights, a requirement of free markets, are not being identified or enforced. Problems of air, river, and ocean pollution are all due to a lack of private property rights and/or protection. Since clarifying and enforcing property rights is the basic function of government in a free society, environmental problems are an example of government failure, not market failure.

In a free society, environmental problems should be viewed in terms of how they impinge on human liberty. Questions should focus on how and why one person’s use of resources might interfere with the planning and the decision making abilities of others. Since, legitimately, people can only make plans and decisions with respect to resources that they have “rights” to, environmentalism that has human well-being as the focus of its analysis, must center on property rights.

From this perspective, all environmental problems arise when different people attempt to use the same resource for conflicting purposes. This can only occur if property rights to the resource are not clear or are not being enforced. Two simple examples can highlight the possibilities. Imagine a community that has a cement factory that emits cement dust into the air. This dust causes people in the community to have to wash their cars and house windows more frequently and creates respiratory problems for those who have to breathe it. This is clearly a property rights enforcement problem. Note that the problem is not that the dust is emitted into the air but that it lands on people’s property—their cars, houses, and lungs—and interferes with their use of it. In this case ownership rights are clearly defined, but are not being enforced."

The Threat to Developing Nations

How the Green Revolution saved billions, and how ant-GMO movements prolong starvation.

http://www.rationalmind.net/essays/our-techno-utopian-future-fallacies-and-predictions/ http://www.intellectualconservative.com/article3340.html

If we are really concerned about nanotech or killer viruses, then we should allow private individuals to develop commercial applications alongside the proper safeguards, rather than leave it to the initiative of military programs. Whereas markets are motivated to create practical, safe, and long-term applications on an industry-wide basis, militaries are motivated to create exclusive technology that maximizes destructive potential without concern for long-term safety or practical applications. Imagine if fears of genetic engineering had led us to ban bio-tech companies like Genentech in the 1970’s. We would not only have lost the lifesaving medicines they have created, but would lack the means to respond new natural and man-made threats like AIDS and engineered smallpox variants."

Conclusion: predictions for 10-20 years

  • Natural market forces will lead to new, highly efficient power sources.
  • Intellectuals will manufacture a brand new ecological crisis
  • Countries that defy environmental fears will become superpowers and centers of industry: China, Far East
  • We will have the technology to manipulate climate on a regional, then global scale

If global warming is real:

  • The earth will get greener and more comfortable.
  • With the help of technology, population will easily adapt to a few more inches of sea levels
  • Weather will be just as unpredictable as ever
  • Huge portions of the earth that were once inhabitable will become home to millions or billions

Quotes

City smog and filthy rivers are not good for men (though they are not the kind of danger that the ecological panic-mongers proclaim them to be). This is a scientific, technological problem—not a political one—and it can be solved only by technology. Even if smog were a risk to human life, we must remember that life in nature, without technology, is whole-sale death.
-- Ayn Rand
An Asian peasant who labors through all of his waking hours, with tools created in Biblical times—a South American aborigine who is devoured by piranha in a jungle stream—an African who is bitten by the tsetse fly—an Arab whose teeth are green with decay in his mouth—these do live with their 'natural environment,' but are scarcely able to appreciate its beauty. Try to tell a Chinese mother, whose child is dying of cholera: 'Should one do everything one can? Of course not.' Try to tell a Russian housewife, who trudges miles on foot in sub-zero weather in order to spend hours standing in line at a state store dispensing food rations, that America is defiled by shopping centers, expressways and family cars.
— Ayn Rand
...observe that in all the propaganda of the ecologists—amidst all their appeals to nature and pleas for 'harmony with nature'—there is no discussion of man's needs and the requirements of his survival. Man is treated as if he were an unnatural phenomenon. Man cannot survive in the kind of state of nature that the ecologists envision—i.e., on the level of sea urchins or polar bears...
— Ayn Rand

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