Friday, August 12, 2005

Crazy environmentalism

Every time I read about the environment I am appalled by how dramatically Europeans seem to have their priorities mixed up. Not that I go around asking, but I would be very surprised to find anybody among my acquaintances who is not in favor of the saintly Kyoto Protocol. On the contrary, even mildly criticising it often gets me some heated (and totally uninformed) reactions. The whole idea of Kyoto is an insult to human intelligence. Even if you want to subscribe to the current orthodoxy that global warming is the most dramatic threat that the world faces today, which I do not, the corrective effects of Kyoto are simply laughable and the costs staggering. In reality, however, Kyoto is not only stupid, but actually a criminal waste of resources that should be employed to solve actually existing problems. Here is a magisterial article making the case.
Nearly a third of the world's population does not have safe drinking water. Families get water from distant wells, rivers and lakes that often teem with bacteria and pollutants. As Danish environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg points out, for the cost of implementing the Kyoto climate change treaty for just one year (a cost estimated at $150 billion), we could permanently provide sanitation and clean, safe drinking water to everyone on the planet.
Do read the whole thing. It simply boggles the mind that we are spending all this money in a misguided effort to limit carbon dioxide, which is fundamental to the functioning of the planet and does not have any direct harmful effect on human beings, while ignoring real pollutants and (to say the least) much more pressing environmental problems, mostly in developing countries.
Additionally, while I don't doubt that there are environmental problems in the West too, why is it that so few people are aware of the fact that the environment in developed economies has been dramatically improving (and steadily continues to do so)?
Presumably, the reason is that the media bombards us with stories about impending doom by frying. Just yesterday I saw Drudge link this story on a WWF report saying that European cities are heating up. I am just being facetious, but considering that the other day I had to wear a sweater, coat and wool scarf to take an evening stroll with friends in Brussels (at the beginning of August, mind), I'd say bring it on!

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