Friday, May 20, 2005

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

It is breathtaking how the EU, the Divinely appointed guardian of the environment and permanent resident of the moral high ground, is willing to condemn scores of Africans to death and sickness, by discouraging the controlled and limited use of DDTs, with threats of trade sanctions. The Wall Street Journal has the goods (requires subscription; via Gay and Right - which includes excerpt). Where are all the critics of the nefast pharmaceutical companies?
At the same time many people here in Brussels (and across Europe) think that President Bush opposes the Kyoto Protocol (even though it was actually the Senate that voted against the treaty, 95-0) because of his putative links with evil corporations. Apart from the absurdity of these unfounded accusations, nobody ever questions the Protocol itself. Nobody mentions the risible effect it is predicted to have on "global warming" if all its signatories maintain their commitments (which they patently are not doing). Nobody mentions the crippling economic cost of the treaty. Nobody mentions the mounting evidence that "global warming" is not necessarily tied to human activities. Nobody mentions how limited our understanding of the climate really is.
These attitudes are so entrenched here that I myself rarely have the courage (and energy) to try to convince people that Kyoto is an expensive and useless mistake. And I am not saying that there is no pollution or that nothing should be done about it. The environment must be protected and treasured - but in order to do that effectively people are going to have to switch on their brains and take out the earplugs. The solution is, of course, using market forces, as The Economist argued recently (requires subscription, see here for an excerpt, and take a look around the Commons blog in general - great stuff!). I can see no other realistic, fair and effective alternative.
And if you really want to know what is actually going on with respect to the environment take a look at this mind-blowing and very interesting (and dare I say amusing?) resource: Junk Science, which is run by Steven Milloy (additional bio here).

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